For years, Microsoft has refused to share sales numbers for its Xbox consoles, leaving us in the dark on just how well or poorly they have sold compared to PlayStation and Nintendo’s machines. But now, new court docs reveal that the PS4 reportedly sold more than twice as well as the Xbox One, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft launched the Xbox One in 2013 with a focus on TV, Kinect, and multimedia entertainment. This ended up sinking the console’s early years as Sony’s contemporary console at the time, the PlayStation 4, focused entirely on games leading to lopsided sales in favor of Sony. Eventually Xbox One backed away from all the TV stuff and Microsoft stopped reporting sales numbers for the console a few years after its messy release.
This information about the Xbox One was first spotted by Game Luster in documents submitted by Microsoft to Brazil’s national competition regulator. The Verge was able to translate the docs, which reveal that Sony sold more than twice as many PS4 consoles compared to Microsoft’s last-gen Xbox.
“Sony has surpassed Microsoft in terms of console sales and installed base, having sold more than twice as many Xbox [consoles] in the last generation,” confirmed Microsoft in the court docs uploaded earlier this month.
While most people and analysts out there figured the Xbox One had not sold as well as the PS4, hearing it from Microsoft is still interesting as the company stopped reporting Xbox sale numbers back in 2016. It’s also wild to hear just how large of a gap there appears to be between the Xbox One and PS4, with Sony’s last-gen home console selling more than twice as many compared to the Xbox.
The court docs are part of an ongoing legal journey for Microsoft as it continues to face scrutiny from various regulatory groups and governments around the world over its controversial and massive Activision Blizzard buyout.
Doing some napkin math, Sony last reported that the lifetime sales of the PS4 were at just over 117 million. So the Xbox One sold less than 58 million. The actual number of Xbox One consoles sold is probably closer to 55 million, based on past research from analysts. Here are some comparable numbers. The Xbox 360’s total global sales ended at 84 million in 2014. The WiiU shipped about 13 million consoles by December 2019. So the Xbox One falls comfortably between those two past machines.
While Microsoft would of course love to sell more Xbox consoles—because all companies want to sell more of their shit—the tech giant has in recent years signaled that it cares more about building up its services like Game Pass instead of shipping consoles. As Game Pass has become accessible on more devices and platforms via streaming, Microsoft has figured out a popular and successful way to get Xbox games and services into your living room without needing to get an Xbox in there, too.