Here's How Xbox One Will Pull Ahead of PlayStation 4

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) and Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) have been engaged in a constant battle for video game supremacy ever since the former released the original Xbox console in 2001 as a competitor to the latter's PlayStation 2 video game system.

With the launch of the next generation of video game systems last holiday season, not much has changed except for the dramatically increased technical specifications and enhanced multiplayer/social-sharing capabilities of available consoles. Over a decade later, both companies are still battling each other for the top spot in consumers' living rooms.

However, Microsoft's latest announcement regarding new market availability means the Xbox One system is about to seriously step up the competition against Sony's PlayStation 4. When combined with Xbox One's recent sales momentum, Microsoft looks set to pull ahead of Sony for console dominance.

PlayStation 4. Source: Company Website 

The announcement
On March 18, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would be available in 26 new countries in September, including PlayStation 4's signature Japan market as well as many Nordic and South American countries. 

This is in keeping with Microsoft's earlier promise that it would make the console available in Japan in 2014. Yasuyuki Higucji, president of Microsoft Japan, explained in an interview last year, "For the launch of Xbox One, Japan is a Tier 2 country and not a Tier 1 country, so it'll come with the second wave, that will be delayed a little bit [compared to North America]." 

The announcement also confirms the delay of Xbox One's release in many European countries like Switzerland, which is reportedly due to technical problems with the Xbox Live Marketplace, the virtual store/social hub for Xbox consoles. 

Just in time
While the delay of reaching new marketplaces is no doubt a bit disappointing for Microsoft and a short-term positive for Sony's gaming unit, the fact remains that Xbox One is poised to enter many new markets in 2014 and capture market share.

The move for Microsoft is happening at a good time. According to VGChartz.com, Xbox One console has sold 3.62 million units versus PlayStation 4's 6.01 million units, approximately. However, PlayStation 4 has been available in more markets than Xbox One practically since both systems were launched. For comparison, Nintendo's Wii U console has sold 5.91 million units worldwide, approximately. 

Xbox One. Source: Company website. 

Gathering momentum
Despite lagging in total sales to Sony and the PlayStation 4, Microsoft is building serious momentum with sales of its Xbox One. Microsoft's system witnessed a 60% increase in sales for the month of February. 

In a recent announcement, Microsoft announced, "February NPD Group figures released today showed that Xbox One continues selling at a record-breaking pace with 258,000 units sold in the U.S. in the month of February, surpassing Xbox 360 sales by over 61 percent at the same point in time." 

The Xbox One console is now officially the most successful launch in Xbox brand history. Perhaps even more important is that March could end being an even better month for Xbox One sales considering the eagerly awaited Titanfall multiplayer game from Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA  ) released on March 11 exclusively for Microsoft consoles.

In an effort to capitalize on the blockbuster's exclusivity, Microsoft began bundling copies of Titanfall with Xbox One consoles and selling them for only $499, which means the game is essentially free to consumers. While surely a loss of profit for Microsoft, the marketing strategy is sure to be a smart move if it translates into more gamers buying an Xbox One console and continuing to use the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Initial reports indicate that the strategy is working, as Xbox One sales increased a staggering 96% in the U.K. last week. Out of those consoles sold, 70% were bundled with Titanfall

Source: International Business Times

Bottom line
Though the console is still in fewer markets, the pace at which Microsoft is selling Xbox Ones has been gathering steam in recent months. The company's exclusive deal with Electronic Arts' Titanfall means sales most likely continued to increase in March. When Microsoft taps new markets later in the year, the Xbox One could already have the lead on Sony's PlayStation 4.

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Read/Post Comments (31) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 3:55 PM, chilero wrote:

    Lies, nothing but lies I say. Everything I've read so far on the Fool talks about how the Xbox One is doomed or has already failed miserably. MSFT as a company has already died and nothing can save it. It writhes around in agony on its death bed.

    Of course that ignores the record revenues, record sales of Xbox, highest stock price since to dot com boom, growth of Windows Phone, Office 365 being the best selling MSFT product of all time, incredible growth in the cloud, doubling of Surface revenue etc...

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 4:15 PM, RavenFaust wrote:

    Xbox one is already doomed especially when the xbox exactly doesn't have a good japanese following to begin with, everything over there is sony or nintendo. In my honest opinion they should stop trying to dig out and just sell out the Xbox name to a company that can actually dig it out

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 4:36 PM, elle33 wrote:

    Seems that most people think Sony's VR set

    will deliver a knockout to Microsoft in the current console wars,

    at least that's what it looksl ike here:

    http://opi.cc/b50ZIy42jAa9Q18n

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 4:59 PM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    From what I know the XBOX brand only sells in the US and UK with the Playstation being the preferred console every else.

    It's big, it's bulky and it's expensive and on top of that the main selling point of the XBOXone which is that it is an entertainment hub, won't have the functionality it does here in the US. I have a hard time believing that the elements the XBOXone was pushing at E3 will sell to markets that it can't deliver and the attitude it slung at people of emerging countries.

    XBOXone would have to sell cheaper than the PS4 because for a device that does almost everything at a subpar level being $100 expensive is not smart.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 5:01 PM, Bunnyking77 wrote:

    I forgot to mention that the XBOXone is actually illegal in some countries because it is considered a spying device.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 5:02 PM, mutantlexi wrote:

    Dear Phillip,

    Just doing a quick look. Currently the PS4 has sold 6.01mill units globally, the XB1 is sitting at 3.67mill.

    As of last week's numbers the PS4 sold 123,702 units, the XB1 sold 67,344 units.

    Even with the decline in weekly PS4 sales, the XB1 is either also declining, or flat.

    So explain again how the XB1 is going to overtake the console with a 2.5mil unit head start?

    (Tho, in all fairness, the PS3 caught up with and surpassed the 360, even with the 360's full year head start)

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 7:49 PM, chrismireya wrote:

    @ mutantlexi:

    Citation please.

    Your numbers do not reflect what has been posted elsewhere online.

    First of all, Sony did sell 6 Million consoles by February. However, Microsoft had sold 3.9 Million (almost 4 Million) during the same time period -- but in 38 fewer countries.

    Secondly, neither Sony nor Microsoft has released "last week's numbers." You simply lied. Yes, you lied. Why? I suppose that you did so out of loyalty for your favorite video game console producing company. However, it is still a lie.

    Finally, many analysts believe that Sony had a much more motivated segment of existing PS3 users ready to move to PS4 at the early stages of this new console generation. In other words, most of the people who purchased the PS4 were simply upgrading from the PS3. The same is true with Microsoft. It is akin to a Verizon customer upgrading from the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the Samsung Galaxy S5. They are still Verizon customers. There is little indication of any mass migration of customers from one console to the competition.

    Thus, it is too early to determine the true direction that the market will swing in terms of sales or "defections" from one console to the other.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 9:11 PM, JoeLemon wrote:

    The Xbox is in fewer countries, because they don't buy the xbox. The PS4 is sold out everywhere, but those same stores have tons of xbox one. Sony has a supply problem that is limiting sales. Xbox has a demand problem.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 9:15 PM, chrismireya wrote:

    @ JoeLemon:

    The lack of merchandise doesn't necessarily mean that demand is greater. It simply means that they didn't build enough supply.

    The Nintendo Wii-U was difficult to find for the first couple of months too. However, it was due to a lack of production rather than astronomical demand.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 10:52 PM, JJ82 wrote:

    WTF is this all about? MS released the One in their previous BIGGEST markets. The 360 outsold the PS3 in less than 20 countries and to think that somehow the One, the system that has had major blowback and is now the weaker of the two systems unlike the 360 to the PS3, is somehow going to surpass the PS4...

    Just another horribly written article on this site.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 10:58 PM, JJ82 wrote:

    @chrismireya

    The fact that you are spamming comments not backed up by reality shows you to be a paid MS poster.

    Just give it up already, no amount of propaganda, fact twisting, paid posters, advertisements is going to change the fact that the One is an inferior system, using a horrible OS, a device sucking power that few care about, is attempting to be everything for the living room when not one person that doesn't play games will buy it, is being run by blind men thinking they are going to create the future in a way few are willing to accept, have no care for their customers and are turning people against them in several markets all at the same time.

    Oh, and the fact that the One has already been released in the markets the 360 did the best in, its all downhill from here.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2014, at 11:16 PM, sternfan wrote:

    I hate these Motley Fool idiots.

    Last month every article talked about the XB1 being "doomed".

    The beginning of March saw a big surge in sales for Microsoft, before Titanfall was even released.

    Now they look like stupid jackasses (which they are) and so they change their tune.

    In fact I read a Motley Fool article just yesterday that said the PS4 is now in trouble.

    STUPID!

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 8:37 AM, rrjim1 wrote:

    I will just keep playing Titanfall while my PS4 keeps collecting dust. I can't believe I purchased a PS4, kind of dumb IMO. For sale PS4, Knack, and Killzone!

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 2:15 PM, ewro wrote:

    Xbox is still selling less than PS4, so how is it possible to say "it's catching up."

    less is less.

    There are a lot of fanboys who picked up Xbox because well they are fanboys and lack critical thinking. Really there is no reason to buy an Xbox even at the same price as PS4. Ideally Xbox should be priced around $299

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 2:32 PM, miker529 wrote:

    Xbox1 is superior, that is all

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 3:37 PM, mobrocket wrote:

    @rrjim1

    why didnt you buy BF4 or COD or Lego?

    and how much u selling it for? they are still going for good money on ebay

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 3:39 PM, mobrocket wrote:

    @chilero

    sorry to put some facts on you

    but its not a record stock price for MSFT, once u factor in the many time the stock was split

    its not record sales for MSFT nor is office 365 best selling product ever for MSFT... furthermore windows phone has been a cash eating flop for MSFT

    the xbox division has not made MSFT any more profitable and in many quarters it cost MSFT money

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 3:40 PM, mobrocket wrote:

    @everyone

    Stop saying Titanfall is an XB1 exclusive

    it will be on 360 and PC as well...

    MSFT just paid EA money to keep it off of Sony

    and EA doesnt make games for the WII U anymore

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 3:41 PM, Drew914 wrote:

    This article just says how it can pass PS4, not that it will pass PS4. We should revisit this topic later this year.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 3:46 PM, ArickB77 wrote:

    @ chrismireya

    I am a converted fanboy. I've had the previous to iterations of Xbox till they released the One. From their PR to the lower powered system, to the mandatory unwanted Kinect, and because of all those polices they tried to force on us, that they backed down on, then have the ability to re-apply if they wanted to... there is no way I was falling into that pit!

    I'm happy with my decision to purchase a PS4 this gen... sure I'm going to miss Halo, and sure... all that Gamerscore I had is now wasted, but I find better value in the PS+ than I do Xbox live... and don't need to pay for any online services to play F2P games or chat with friends, or even watch any media apps. With the $100 initial savings I was able to get me a game and have some $$ left over.

    I'm sorry, but Microsoft tried to tell us what we wanted and didn't listen when we said "NO" and for that I've lost respect, and they've lost my business for their consoles. Besides, my friend got one and brought it over... it is total crap!

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 3:53 PM, ArickB77 wrote:

    @ chrismireya

    I laughed so hard when you posted that Xbox One is "roughly" the same dimensions as the PS4. Really? Have you had one side by side? I have a backpack that I used to lug my Xbox 360, the Xbox one will not fit if I zip it up, that thing is a beast, a mammoth, a T-Rex even...

    Next time... don't use a comparison of your thumb to your *cough*, when you talk about the size difference between the Xbox One and the PS4.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 5:39 PM, ThorAxis wrote:

    Both systems are flawed and the one thing Microsoft has going for them is the fact they never fix anything, they just put out a newer version with the hopes it will make you forget about the previous problems. Just consider the Windows Platform as a reference. The bottom line though is that these are not next generation video game systems. Microsoft has made a glorified tablet without truly improving gaming. Oh they improved graphics, well whoopdeedo! This idea of having one unit as a complete entertainment system is bogus and the more you add the more likely something will go wrong. Technology is only as good as the programmer and I am through buying systems until the industry puts out a console that will literally blow my mind. As for now I will stick with my 360 and hope it lasts.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 5:42 PM, ThorAxis wrote:

    I would also like to add that I find it complete BS that you have to completely load your game onto the system in order to play them. Considering the size per game you may get 10 games on a drive. I cry foul and there is no way in hell I would go out and buy an external drive to add more games. Microsoft is a farce and only looking to milk you out of your hard earned money.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 6:54 PM, kfordham wrote:

    Oh god Motley fool. After months of talking about how the xb1 was doomed, now you write this piece? How about more neutral and less sensational articles that actually reflect the state of the console business. SMDH

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 8:32 PM, matty915 wrote:

    Lol why do you guys fight over consoles Sony or Microsoft don't pay you a dam penny for fighting so shhhhhh t-_-t

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 1:08 AM, flimcalx wrote:

    Consoles are dumb. Get a PC. And don't use Windows or iOS. Use Linux because it's free and doesn't violate your privacy. And it's the future of PC gaming.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 1:33 AM, elgoogeht wrote:

    "Here's How Xbox One Will Pull Ahead of PlayStation 4"

    By $elling lies on the internet through third party media that pays Yahoo.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 5:17 AM, GuitarJim wrote:

    Both Walmart and Best Buy cut the price of the XB1/Titanfall bundle to $450 today. Microsoft confirmed they had nothing to do with this, and it was a unilateral move by the retailers. They also confirmed that there was no corresponding wholesale price cut for these retailers. This means that Walmart and Best Buy are EATING the loss of profits in order to move this bundle.

    Why would two giant retailers be taking a hit on this bundle less than two weeks after it went on sale if it was moving as fast as Philip Saglimbeni thinks it is? The answer is that both of these retailers bought the hype from Microsoft and overstocked on inventory of these bundles. They're not moving, and the retailers need to dump them before the game goes stale. Otherwise, they'll still be selling XB1/Titanfall bundles next Christmas.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 9:10 AM, Drummer829 wrote:

    What baffles me is how everyone is saying how much better one is over the other. One was meant for something and another for something else. I bought the xb1 because I like playing games, but what sold me on it was their many social features and their "all in one" box. It is very convenient for my family and Kinect sports is awesome. I also prefer games like Halo, Gears, and now Titanfall to other Sony games. I really mean no offense, but it seems like the PS4 was made for the video game nerd and that's just not me.

    Neither console is doomed and we will see a Xbox Two and PS5 in 8-10 years

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2014, at 11:40 AM, GuitarJim wrote:

    @Drummer829, they are not meant for different things. They are both meant primarily as game consoles. Any additional features are superfluous, and part of the operating system and not the hardware. If the social networking features and entertainment center features of the XB1 were going to be successful in selling the console to non-gamers then the sales data hasn't supported that conclusion yet.

    I agree that neither console is doomed. However, I doubt there will be a follow up to either of these consoles. I think this is pretty much the end of the era of game consoles. Games, especially deeply immersive MMO's, will be moving to cloud servers, and players will only need a subscription and any device with a web browser and a broadband internet connection. A game console will never be able to compete with a building full of servers when it comes to raw computing power.

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2014, at 11:36 AM, bibnickles wrote:

    Wow, this article was sooo far off base in it's guesses it's not even funny. Two months later we have sales data showing that Microsoft has only moved 3.1 million units. Compare that to the 7.3 million sony has moved and the 6.5 million Nintendo has moved. This time the fool really lives up to it's name.

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