With the release of the PlayStation 4 in United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil on November 29, we have another region to see the general direction of this generation of consoles. So let's dive into the numbers shall we?
The PlayStation 4 is officially the fastest-selling console in UK history, according to Chart-Track's sales figures. No official numbers were given, but the previous title holder was the PlayStation Portable, which sold 185,000 units during its 2005 launch. A source told GamesIndustry International that the PS4 sold 250,000 units in 48 hours, significantly ahead of 150,000 Xbox One units sold in the same time period. Microsoft's system has sold 170,000 units so far in the UK.
In the United States and Canada, the PlayStation 4 sold 1 million units in just 24 hours. Microsoft repeated that feat on its November 22 launch, but that was spread across 13 countries including the United States.
Those numbers theoretically put the PlayStation 4 ahead of the Xbox One globally, but more data from InfoScout sees the Xbox One leading in Black Friday sales at two US retailers. According to InfoScout, the Xbox One was the number one console at Walmart and Target on Black Friday, accounting for 31 percent of sales, while the Playstation 4 accounted for 15 percent of sales. If the numbers bear out, the Xbox One could gain some ground globally on the PlayStation 4.
Neither system has yet to launch in Japan: The Xbox One is coming to the region some time in 2014, while the PS4 is planned for a February 22, 2014 launch. The PS4 and Xbox One's battle in the region will probably go the same way as the PS3/Xbox 360 war: which is to say, 'not in Microsoft's favor'. This inevitability is probably why Microsoft has yet to decide on a concrete release date for the region.
And what about the other eighth generation console, Nintendo's Wii U? Well, in the UK, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are ahead of the current lifetime sales numbers of the Wii U. As of the end of the fiscal quarter on September 30, the Wii U had only sold 3.91 million units globally: 1.15 million in Japan, 1.75 million in North and South America, and 1.01 million units in other regions. NeoGAF keeps track of the Japanese sales numbers from Media Create, and they have the Wii U at 1.17 million units sold as of November 24, meaning 200,000 Wii U's were sold from September 30 to November 24. These aren't great numbers from Nintendo's console; the system is in danger of being surpassed by the supply-constrained PS4 and Xbox One globally.
At the very least, the PlayStation 4 looks to be the strong front-runner for this generation. Unlike the previous front-runner, the Nintendo Wii, its pretty clear the PS4 won't have problems with third-party support, which has been an issue for Nintendo's last few hardware offerings. Speaking of the software, the top 20 UK titles for the week of the PlayStation 4's debut are as follows:
- 01 Call of Duty: Ghosts
- 02 FIFA 14
- 03 Battlefield 4
- 04 Killzone: Shadowfall
- 05 Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- 06 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
- 07 Grand Theft Auto V
- 08 Need for Speed Rivals
- 09 Just Dance 2014
- 10 Batman Arkham Origins
- 11 Skylanders Swap Force
- 12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition
- 13 Knack
- 14 Super Mario 3D World
- 15 Forza Motorsport 5
- 16 Disney Infinity
- 17 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
- 18 Dead Rising 3
- 19 Tomb Raider
- 20 Football Manager 2014
The important thing to note is only non-multiplatform title in the top 10 is Guerilla Games' Killzone: Shadow Fall. And when it comes to those multiplats, sales numbers tend to favor the PlayStation 4. Call of Duty: Ghosts was the week's leader and sold 37 percent of its total on Xbox 360, 28 percent on PS4, 21 percent on PS3, and 12 percent on Xbox One. 42 percent of the units for FIFA 14 sold on PlayStation 4, compared to 22 percent on Xbox 360, 19 percent on Xbox One, and 14 percent on PS3. For the next contender, Battlefield 4, half of its sales were on the PlayStation 4, followed by the Xbox 360 version at 21 percent, the PlayStation 3 at 13 percent, and the Xbox One at 12 percent.
Knack sits at number 13, which is enough to beat out the debut of Super Mario 3D World in the UK. Nintendo's latest Mario only sold 99,588 units in Japan as well, putting it firmly behind the launch week sales numbers of other Mario titles. We'll have NPD numbers for November soon to see if Super Mario 3D World has made a significant dent in North America, but the outlook isn't looking good in other regions. Nintendo still has Donkey Kong Country: Jungle Freeze and Mario Kart 8 in early 2014, but the performance of a flagship Mario title on the system is disappointing and it isn't turning into a big uptick for Wii U sales.
The worries that the Wii U's sales pointed to a general malaise in the home console market seem to be unfounded so far. The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One's sales point to a public looking for new consoles, meaning Nintendo's issues are unique to Nintendo. There's no telling if sales for the PS4 and Xbox One will continue at a steady pace, but they're off to a good start. If we were to make an estimate at this point, the PS4 would be the market leader, followed by the Xbox One and then the Wii U.
Of course, there's the dark horse, Valve's Steam Machines. Steam hit its all-time peak of 7.19 million users yesterday on December 1 and the service overall hit more than 65 million accounts at the end of October. If Valve can turn a significant number of those users into Steam OS users and Steam Machine owners, it could turn everything upside down.