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How Sony's PlayStation 4 Crushed Microsoft's Xbox One in 2013

2013, as it turned out, was one of the most memorable years in recent memory for the global video game market.

Aside from some record-setting game launches earlier in the year, the competition heated up later this year as two of the leading console makers, software powerhouse Microsoft  (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) and Japanese giant Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) , released the latest editions of their iconic consoles.

Source: Microsoft.

Analysts, enthusiasts, and consumers alike had been debating the merits of each device and which would sell better before either Microsoft's Xbox One of Sony's PlayStation 4 even hit the shelves.

Sony beats Microsoft by a mile
Now, to be fair, Sony enjoyed a sizable advantage when comparing sales figures against Microsoft. Sony launched its PlayStation 4 on November 15, a full week before Microsoft began selling its Xbox One. And when you're looking at such a small sample size, one week can make a very big difference.

Recently, it was announced that Sony sold 4.2 million PS4s in 2013, well ahead of the 3 million Xbox One sales Microsoft also announced. However, even beyond the one week head start, there are several other reasons that at least partially explain why Microsoft lagged Sony so badly.

In the video below, tech and telecom analyst Andrew Tonner looks at a few of the factors that drove this huge disparity last year.

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Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 3:03 PM, dileepkrp wrote:

    It is a very short-sighted observation. Two reasons why:

    1. With $100 price difference, it is "expected" that the lower priced console would sell much more. That's 25% price difference, when everything else is assumed equal.

    2. In the long run, console gaming would die down and entertainment would still remain. Guess who's going to have the last laugh few years down the lane - a game console OR an entertainment + home automation device with GUARANTEED (not optional) voice recognition, motion tracking, video interactivity and tv/movie entertainment BUILT-IN?

    Judging a marathon by it's first 5 minutes is just plain ignorance.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 3:16 PM, JaredM80 wrote:

    "Judging a marathon by it's first 5 minutes is just plain ignorance."

    exactly and in the long run the only thing the xbox one will have over the ps4 is the tv integration option. and I predict an increase in laziness.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 5:55 PM, Goombah420 wrote:

    I like the fact they're competitive at the moment. Us gamers is who wins when that happens. I think the reason Microsoft is lagging behind at the moment. Is because of the unwanted features on the machine that make the 100 dollar price difference. And the deal with it attitude they had before the console even launched. When there's other alternatives available. It's not a wise idea to tell your customers to deal with it. It's way to early to say who will win out in the end. Neither console really has any games out worth playing yet. I own both and play both often. The entertainment portion of it is all about preference. And most gamers like myself could care less. About the only media streaming I use for either is netflix. The hdmi in on Xbox one is cool if your into that kind of thing. But by and large most gamers could care less . Being they probably have a slew of other devices for that kind of thing. Microsoft still has plenty of time to catch up. But I don't see them just walking away with victory like last gen. It's gonna be close and competitive until the end. Which is win win for gamers.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 7:23 PM, lacerz wrote:

    The fact that the Xbox One focused on its core markets, yet still got outsold by 1.2 million units is pretty sad for Microsoft. With Sony's supply chain ramping up, and Japan yet to launch, the PS4 is going to dominate this generation.

    I'm also impressed by the more powerful technology the PS4 contains over its competitors. Playstation Now is Sony showing some true innovation, and the cloud based TV service will push Sony far ahead of Microsoft.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 1:56 AM, aquialgo wrote:

    Lets not forget that Play 4 opened in 2 markets and Xbox opened within 11... Sorry Microsoft, this was a truly a "beat down"... And the price points are a Psychological issue; like, "who pays $500 for a gaming system? - Sony got it right from the word "Go"...Moreover This will be the gaming generation of owning 2 consoles, that is if you don't want to miss out on exclusive titles.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 3:44 AM, MaxXRocktansky wrote:

    " In the long run, console gaming would die down and entertainment would still remain. Guess who's going to have the last laugh few years down the lane - a game console OR an entertainment + home automation device with GUARANTEED (not optional) voice recognition, motion tracking, video interactivity and tv/movie entertainment BUILT-IN?"

    1. Microsoft builded an american only System, since here in Europe we have 50Hz as a Standard and the TV (and Bluray) Option is shuttered like hell. They also can´t patch this so easily due to the SNAP IN function which would make it neccessary to show 50 AND 60 Hz at the same time on one Screen.... So TV and Bluray from the ONE is here in Europe .... horrible!

    2. SONY already announced a TV System as well which I can use everywhere. All other functions are head to head, with the huge difference, that the PS4 has a lot more power builded in - so you might be wrong

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 8:35 AM, Gonzy wrote:

    If people are happy with their console choices, despite which one is selling better, let them stay happy.

    I, myself am still at a crossroads here with both PS4 and Xbox One even though PS4 seems to be the better choice due to better sales according to this article...

    I'd love to have some type of assistance as to what console to go for.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 8:58 AM, knc2013 wrote:

    One thing this article fails to mention is the fact that sony's console had launched in 44 countries by the end of 2013, whereas Microsoft was in 13 countries.

    The truth of the matter is saying Sony dominated in 2013 is a shortsighted, if not incomplete truth. Each console was out for less than 2 months and neither console had particularly strong launch lineups. The truth is both consoles flew off shelves and were difficult to find. Exclusive titles seem to be a major driving factor on what console one purchases and neither console has had a major exclusive title launch - Killzone and Forza Motorsport 5, while both pretty, neither can be considered "console sellers".

    I think revisiting this discussion in March will be more revealing, when much anticipated Microsoft exclusive "Titanfall" launches, as well as the launch of Sony's exclusive "Infamous: Second Son".

    But at the end of the day, it comes to a gamer's choice on what exclusives they like more and tends to drive the decision on what console to purchase.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 10:21 AM, jweikel87 wrote:

    I know, right!? PS4's total revenue for 2013 of 1.68 billion TOTALLY crushed Xbone's revenue of 1.5 billion! And when you average it over the time period they sold it in, PS4 continued to crush it with 32.2 million per day to Xbone's lame 33.3 million! Wait, that doesn't sound right. Oh ya, I've already seen this reported on 3 or 4 other sites. Way to be behind in the race!

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 4:32 PM, ewro wrote:

    Makes sense. Unless you can't give up your gamerscore there really is no reason to go Xbox.

    In all reality it should be priced less than the PS4 since it is lower technology. Voice commands, netflix, etc.. can all be done on PS4 as well. The difference is Sony focuses on great hardware and software content, not marketing.

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Andrew Tonner

Andrew Tonner is a tech specialist for The Motley Fool. He is a graduate of The University of Arizona with a degree in Finance.

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