We’ve known ever since the start of the generation that Microsoft’s Xbox One was trailing behind the PlayStation 4 and only quite rarely keeping pace or pulling ahead on monthly sales, but we now know just how far they’re lagging behind. Industry-wide figures and expectations that EA CEO Andrew Wilson gave during a financial call paint a dismal picture, with the Xbox One having sold less that 30 million consoles by the end of 2017.
This comes from a little simple maths – Variety did the leg work with a calculator on this one – with Wilson stating the cumulative install base from Microsoft and Sony to be 103 million at the end of December, but while Microsoft have kept mum about their sales figures, Sony haven’t. The PS4 had sold 73.6 million units by the end of last year, meaning that the Xbox One stood at 29.4 million to reach the 103 million total. That’s nearly two and a half times as many PS4s.
This was in relation to EA’s expectations of the coming financial year:
Turning to our expectations for fiscal 2019, we expect sales of current-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony to continue to be strong, with the installed base growing to 130 million consoles by the end of calendar 2018 from 103 million at the end of calendar 2017.
It’s also worth looking at the Nintendo Switch, which has been flying off the shelves for the past year. Switch sales stand at 17.79 million, as of the latest financial report, and there’s high expectations for the rest of the year as well. EA anticipate the Switch reaching the 30 million mark by the end of 2018, and that will see them rapidly catching up to the Xbox One, which might be expected to be around 37-8 million by that point. Microsoft state that year-on-year sales are up by 15% for the start of 2018, partly thanks to the Xbox One X.
However you look at it, it’s not a particularly pretty picture for Microsoft. 30 million consoles is not an insignificant number of users, but pales in comparison to the PlayStation 4, and that competition means it’s lagging behind the Xbox 360 at the same time of its life – it took 3.5 years to reach 30 million, while it will have been over 4 years for Xbox One.
The company already seem to be looking to the future, however. They’re working to expand their portfolio after recognising that the lack of exclusive games have hurt them over the last few years and trying out new subscription-based business models with Xbox Game Pass.