Did Sony's PS4 Really Beat Microsoft's Xbox One?

The war between Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) for console gaming supremacy is just getting started, but the PS4 appears to be getting the better of the Xbox One during the early skirmishes. 

A report out of Terapeak -- an e-commerce marketing analytics specialist -- dives into how the platforms fared during their respective debut weeks by diving into eBay sales data. The findings are pretty startling. According to Terapeak, there were 21,309 PS4 consoles sold on the leading marketplace during its first week of availability, 78% more than the 11,992 Xbox One units that were sold a week later.

Xbox fans can always argue that Xbox One units were possibly in shorter supply or that folks buying Microsoft's console decided to actually play it instead of flipping it in the secondary market, but then we get to another nugget in Terapeak's data. The PS4 sold at an average price of $589.16, or 47% above its $400 retail price. The Xbox One, on the other hand, fetched an average of $658.63, or a more modest 32% premium. In other words, both demand and supply favored the PS4.

Microsoft didn't do itself any favors earlier this year when it priced its system at a $100 premium to Sony. It also made things worse by announcing some pro-developer initiatives that didn't sit well with the gaming community. Microsoft backed away from most of those comments, but the damage was apparently already done.

Then we had the defective Xbox One shipments. Microsoft claims that it wasn't much of a problem, but my firsthand experience suggests otherwise. I was one of the unlucky recipients of a system with a defective optical disc drive. I was told to wait more than eight hours for tech support, and then advised that my replacement console would ship in two business days. It didn't. It ultimately shipped 11 days later, proving that Microsoft wasn't ready for the number of early adopters getting scorched here.

Naturally, one week doesn't dictate the victor. Nintendo  (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY  ) owned the early years of the last generation with its Wii system, but it was the Xbox 360 that was routinely on top in sales domestically for most of the past two years. It's so easy to give this round or at the very least this holiday shopping season to Sony, but we're still early. Most of the launch titles for both platforms have received mixed reviews, and that will improve in the coming year for both consoles. The same thing happened with Nintendo's Wii U launch 13 months ago, and it's in a better position now with a wider catalog of titles and a lower price.

Sony appears to be the early victor, but let's not buy a cake just yet. We'll have a clearer snapshot when NPD Group and other industry trackers release their December sales metrics next month. The November data will naturally be skewed because the PS4 hit the market a week earlier than the Xbox One. However, the real battle will happen come 2014 as new titles are released. Neither console maker is likely to follow Nintendo into a price cut next year, but that would really make things crazy if it happened. 

Sony can snicker now, but the last laugh is still there for the taking.

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  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 9:32 AM, Bogle wrote:

    There are a few things to take into account. Using Nintendo as an example isn't really relative. Countless housewives and non-gamers bought the Wii early on. It was a hot item. So so many of these weren't typical gamers so it certainly came as no surprise when game sales weren't there. While you listed the 360 as the winner last round, you're only referring to the United States. Sony ended up selling more units, but it should be noted that the 360 was out the door 16 months prior! Not only getting a MASSIVE head start, but securing a proper library. What gamer WOULDN'T buy a new machine at that point? What's more, Sony launched with half the ram (certainly not the case now), a much higher price point, and a nightmarish system to program for. Yet it still won out in sales? Now what do you think will happen with none of these factors in place? Especially with the staggering late launch last round. Sony won the last round but just barely. The round prior to that was the greatest win any console has ever known. Now with the Sony's timely launch, cheaper price point, superior gaming (I refer here only to tech...everyone is entitled to their opinion on titles), greater third party support, shiny new fast network, MS is working up a creek without a paddle. I don't understand why MS has inexplicably repeated so many of the mistakes Sony made last round. I don't like MS anyway just for their long history of terrible ethics. People complain about companies "just wanting to make money." Well of course they do. This isn't charity. But MS push that envelope to ridiculous levels and it's upset people for years on end. I think Sony will take it again but by a large margin this time. Right now MS's success is kind of like a sequel to a really good movie that wasn't worth it. Opening day is great and everyone says the sequel must be fantastic, but no one saw the sequel prior obviously...the success of it's opening day is built solely on the appeal of the original film. MS's CEO is being urged to get out of Xbox. I firmly believe this will be the last xbox. The biggest success of the Xbox brand will have been the 360, thanks largely to Sony's huge mistakes last round.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 4:14 PM, doawithlife wrote:

    Actual game sales numbers, compared to units sold?

    If the average Xbox1 owner buys 2.5 games in two weeks and the average pS4 owner buys 1.3 games in two weeks. Xbox1 wins.

    Supply dictated many things in the market for now, I would be interested to see what type of people are buying what. If there is a large difference of games per player of the systems, that would probably be the deciding factor. Game producers go where the money is. They will go to which ever system sells the most games, they could care less how many systems are on the market if all they do is collect dust.

    (I will get a PS4 first myself, benchmarks better then the xbox and it has more layers for a deeper game experience - for the day programmers actually utilize this)

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 4:18 PM, nicnacnic wrote:

    bogle makes some good points. However, one also cannot ignore the mindset of the people in charge of each of these companies console divisions. In the last round, Microsoft demonstrated, repeatedly, a willingness to open up the 360 to new features and peripherals. Sony did the exact opposite, slowly taking away features (backward compatibility, Linux, implementing Cinavia which took away much of the media playback usability, and so on).

    I don't see Sony having a change in corporate tone so we can expect much the same this round, promised features that are never delivered, and existing features removed at some point.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 4:19 PM, xyyrue wrote:

    You failed to mention that Sony also had launch problems with the PS4, see: "blue ring of death."

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 4:23 PM, kfordham wrote:

    Considering that this generation is expected to last over 10 years, what happens this holiday season almost seems to be irrelevant. As time continues, prices on hardware will continue to drop. Over time I think the xbox one will be much more competitive with ps4 in terms of price. Currently, overall sales figures for both far succeed that of wii U and there is no signs of that changing for either console. IMHO, the only thing that really matters at this point is that both companies sell enough hardware to be relevant to game developers. The only thing that could derail a console is if developers feel the need to stop developing for 1 and shift all focus on the other, creating more exclusives simply by default. In terms of a "winner", I don't understand why the winner is trying to be picked not even 6 months into a projected 10-15 year life cycle.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 4:29 PM, dopplegager wrote:

    Now lets make a couple of assumptions. Microsoft made more of their consoles available in American than Sony did. So in the states we can assume that MS is winning out. Now world wide we don't know what the actual sales data is but I think we can assume both consoles are pretty much out of stock.

    Now I sold a PS4 on eBay for 600 and a Xbox One for 765 both above the averages listed. As someone who sells these kinds of things I think it would be much more likely that people could afford to resell more PS4's than Xbox Ones just due to it's price alone. So I wouldn't be surprised if eBay data skewed heavily in Sony's favor. We also know that Sony didn't plan ahead for black friday sales which ended up with the Xbox One being the best selling console on black friday and the 360 close behind it. The sony and Nintendo system were left far behind.

    Microsoft also has had a higher attach rate last gen and will be interesting to see where that goes.

    I own both of the new systems and I will likely continue the trend of playing multi platform games on the microsoft console.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 4:49 PM, GameBot wrote:

    this story proves nothing other than people will use whatever random stuff they can find to support what they want to say.

    I would argue that Ebay gets reduced traction as you move up the price ladder.

    I would argue that Xbox hardcore gamers simply pre ordered

    I would argue we will know nothing until after crimbo and MS releases some numbers..

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 9:47 PM, normgarry wrote:

    MOTLEY FOOL, FORBES and YAHOO NEWS know NOTHING about the gaming world.

    They are busy talking about quarterly sales but what they fail to mention is that PS3 and XBOX have both sold roughly EQUAL at $80 million units. That's because over time, gamers tend to buy BOTH SYSTEMS. they buy the system they want most first and then go back for the other one.

    REGARDLESS what Motley Fool is claiming, the PS4 started selling earlier and there were fewer units available which ARTIFICIALLY INFLATED THE DEMAND.

    I bought XBOX Day One Edition and my girlfriend bought PS4. we play the XBOX more because its more fun, the voice controls make it more interesting in the living room and the controller DOESN'T HAVE THAT STUPID PS MOVE LIGHT MAKING IT HARD TO CONCENTRATE IN THE DARK.

  • Report this Comment On December 09, 2013, at 9:53 PM, normgarry wrote:

    The mere fact that XBOX was able to sell roughly 100% of its initial run and still cost $100 MORE than PS4 should tell you something.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 12:08 AM, JoeLemon wrote:

    When Microsoft was winning, they were releasing numbers. Now they are won't, which shows they aren't.

    They said the last console would last 10 years and it only lasted 7, and that was pushing it. This console will be around 5 years max.

    There was a store by me that still have Xbox One, but the ps4 was selling out in mins. So they didn't sell 100%

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 12:13 AM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    PS4 = 1080 HD native resolution at 60 FPS.

    XBOXone = 720 HD native resolution at 60FPS.

    One is clearly better, and on top of that $100 cheaper. On top of all that, Adam Orth, Don Mattrick, Major Nelson, Alberto Penello and all the stupid things Microsoft has done previous and during the launch of the XBOXone, it is a wonder people are even buying the XBOXOne.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 12:14 AM, AngelOfDeath wrote:

    First I'd like to state I ONLY sign up on this website because of the BS they were writing about Microsoft. They for some reason have a beef with them and it reflects in their story. I must say they couldn't have come up with a better name as I can tell they are fools. It's too early to tell and I see what Microsoft is doing so I know better, I just hope others who read this crap will know too. I'll keep this if only just to throw in my two cents but I really hate this website and I'm in shock that they don't care for the truth as much as they do bashing anything they don't like.Comments from our Foolish Readers? well IF they are coming here to read a story and think they are telling the whole truth I would agree. Why insult your readers?

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 2:49 AM, mkisting wrote:

    Wow how the ridiculous articles get published I insane . measuring ps4 and xb1 based on sales o ebay doesn't show any logic as they don't bear truth to the fact that The sum and totals that these units sold Is the bottom like of what system people prefer. Maybe this writer could go back to school for seven mire years to learn to research thing before you boss demands you submit rubbish !!

    XBOX 1 RULES >>> !!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 3:33 AM, Kourt wrote:


    The PS4 is clearly superior when it comes to specs, however the "PS4 = 1080 HD native resolution at 60 FPS. XBOXone = 720 HD native resolution at 60FPS." stat you mentioned is more on game devs than the hardware both should be able to play 1080p @ 60FPS just console devs are behind on getting that performance.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 3:47 AM, puppybone69 wrote:

    I'm sick of both new consoles already, XBOX this, PS that, who cares but a bunch of ignorant children with more dollars than sense? Real gamers already own a console 10 times more powerful and advanced, it's called a PC, and it plays superior versions of the exact same games for $20 - $40 less than the XBOX or PS versions, which these idiot kids pay $60 apiece for!

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 4:40 AM, kjohnson00005 wrote:

    @Puppybone69: the PC version of games are not superior....I tried PC gaming, and almost always had trouble of it some way or another....never had an issue with a console game..'

    and as for being $20 to $40 cheaper? yea, that might seem like a plus, but when you get done playing it or you get tired of it, you can't take back a DIGITAL download...another plus console gaming has...

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 7:28 AM, AgentOrange330 wrote:

    Why did the author refuse to ackowledge that Microsoft offered a free retail game download for anyone that encountered the optical disc drive problem that he himself ran into? From the start this article smelled of Microsoft hate from a jaded consumer.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 7:57 AM, stevex wrote:

    Sony never threatened us with "no used games" or "internet only play". It's no surprise that the PS4 outsold XBone 1

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 10:04 AM, blueshwoo wrote:

    Was there any actual research done before this was written? And reading the sony fanboys on here might have just given me an aneurysm. I had to make this account while calling an ambulance because the stupid in this article and the comments might have actually killed me.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 10:15 AM, blueshwoo wrote:

    You are going off of ebay sales? Wow... there is a whole lot of stupid on here. Try doing research before writing an article. Same goes for the sony fanboys on here, every time you try and defend your system you end up looking even dumber than before. Just stop....just stop.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 10:20 AM, captAhab02 wrote:

    i really wish Nintendo had advocates like bogle.

    Anyway I dont think Microsoft will sell better than PS4, but sadly i fear Microsoft will nearly sell as much.

    I dont know why, but people seem to just búy Microsoft even though they are bad.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 10:23 AM, jweikel87 wrote:

    Wow, this isn't a completely biased article 6.6 Way to not put anything into context - the $100 more for the xbox also accounts for it having the Kinnect, a feature that Sony doesn't even have an equivalent for currently. Also, the PS4 is also experiencing hardware issues as others have noticed. I'm not a fan either either company but at least try to deliver all the facts, not just the ones you want to show.

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 10:47 AM, ghdude15 wrote:

    After reading this article then reading all of the comments, it has become clear to me that this page has become nothing more than the battleground for the butthurt soldiers of the console wars ready to defend their cause to the ends of the earth when most of them either don't know the whole truth or refuse to accept it. The better game console is based completely on a person's opinion on which one is best for them. For some people it will be xbox, some playstation, some nintendo, or some pc. Each one has their own perks. Xbox One has Halo and voice command features, Playstation 4 has a great lineup of exclusives coming our way along with new input controls on the controller and slightly superior hardware, Nintendo Wii U has the "tablet" controller that opens up a whole new world of possibilities for games and gameplay while offering all of the fantastic games that Nintendo made a name for themselves with, and PC has the widest variety when it comes to game selection and because of things like the steam workshop games are open to be tweaked and changed to a specific person's liking with the addition of being able to run the game at it's best, something consoles could never do. No matter how you look at it, other people are all gonna like different things, but we're all gamers right? Why can't we all just enjoy the games instead of fighting over them?

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 10:48 AM, mrmeadec wrote:

    If xbox one is so bad then why at walmart they had close to 50 xbox and no ps4

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 1:47 PM, frankiec1975 wrote:

    This is a so closed minded article that it makes me laugh. Many people thought about buying the xbox and then turning a profit on ebay, me included. Then when push comes to shove, I enjoyed my xbox one so much that I can't even think of giving it up. I have had many hours of entertainment with it and every day find something cool and new that I hadn't tried before. Also, PS4 had many more returned units and you can tell this by all the remarks left on amazon, bestbuy and other retail chains. Also, many more people left PS4 reviews than xbox reviews, even though within the first 24 hours, they sold the same amount of units. Anyone ever think that maybe xbox owners were enjoying their system so much that they didn't even have time to write a review? Nope, just more complaints about how xbox one is being outsold...

  • Report this Comment On December 10, 2013, at 2:30 PM, captAhab02 wrote:

    Frankiec nice try mr Microsoft employee

  • Report this Comment On December 11, 2013, at 3:42 PM, Joebarrett1994 wrote:

    This article is so inaccurate i cant even bare to not say anything. I bought the xbox one at its price of $499.99. i also bought Forza 5 along with it. my bill was $610.38. so how could the price for the xbox one be $658 if mine was only $610? including a game which was bought for full price also? this article is very closed minded. do not buy into what microsoft/sony fanboys tell you. that is the worst thing you can ever do. i like xbox. but i will never be a fanboy and say that it is better or anything like that. it is a personal preference based simply on what games, contoller style, and brand you like. now im done

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