In the great Xbox One vs PS4 debate there are a lot of things fans can focus on. There's the talk of resolution, with the PS4 rumored to display games at a slightly higher rate than Xbox One. There's the games lineup, with Xbox One getting more launch titles and the drool-worthy exclusive, Titanfall. There's price, which gives a win to Sony for selling their next gen console for $100 less than Microsoft. There's features, hardware and online functionality too, all good topics for a spirited debate. But for the suits at Microsoft and Sony and their investors worldwide there's really only one aspect of the Xbox One vs Ps4 debate that matters: sales. And right now industry insiders are giving the win to Microsoft.
A new report from Forbes today interviewed noted industry analyst Colin Sebastian of Baird Capital. Sebastian's job is to look at the game industry and forecast which products will be a wise investment and which should be avoided. I don't know how he does it but my guess is math. And since I'm a guy who writes video game news in his pajamas you've probably guessed math ain't my thing. So I trust outlets like Forbes and guys like Sebastian when they talk industry numbers and, currently, Sebastian is giving the Xbox One vs Ps4 sales win to Microsoft.
"While many forecasts still give an edge to Sony/PS4 in North America sales, we continue to expect similar or even slightly higher sales of Xbox One by the end of the launch window," Sebastian told investors, according to Games industry International.
Sebastian expects the Xbox One vs PS4 sales race to be close and, for both companies, quite lucrative. He projected each console to ship 1.5 million to 2 million units in North America, and 2.5 million to 3 million worldwide. The Xbox One sales edge will have more to do with Microsoft's manufacturing capabilities than actual demand, but Sebastian points to eBay as an indicator that the Xbox One is the more desired system right now. Xbox One systems are averaging a 60 percent premium over the $500 retail price tag, while PS4s are fetching 50 percent mark-ups over that system's $400 asking price. Although Forbes' own Dave Their believes that launch sales won't do much to settle the Xbox One vs PS4 debate.
"I don't expect the launch window to really tell us anything about the long-term viability of either of these consoles, much less which one will end up more popular," he writes. "These pre-orders and initial sales are being dominated by the core gamers who were going to buy one no matter what, and the real test will be whether or not the Xbox One or PS4 will become established enough to sell to people who won't buy new hardware by default."