It turns out the pre-order battle between the PS4 and Xbox One has been decidedly one-sided in the week following each console manufacturer’s E3 media briefings. Just one week after announcing the Xbox One price and PS4 price, Microsoft and Sony (respectively) have taken dramatically divergent paths in the sales department, with a reporter from Forbes and one analyst saying the PS4 pre-orders on Amazon and at GameStop are outselling Xbox One pre-orders by a two-to-one margin. In other words, it’s not just traditional retail pre-orders that so widely favor one system over the other.
According to Colin Sebastian, a videogame analyst from Baird, Sony’s PS4 is outselling the Xbox One on both Amazon and GameStop, although he didn’t reveal specific sales data. The information isn’t entirely out of context, as a poll on Amazon’s Facebook page showing 95% of the poll respondents claiming that they intend to pre-order and purchase a PS4 before an Xbox One. The poll was worded in such a way that it doesn’t say those same people wouldn’t buy both next-gen consoles, but if given the choice to buy only one, the PS4 is the clear favorite.
With the stand-alone PS4 units sold out at Amazon, the only way to guarantee a PS4 on launch day is to pre-order one of four different PS4 bundles on Amazon. Two of those bundles include high-profile games: a PlayStation 4 Battlefield 4 Launch Day Bundle and a Killzone: Shadow Fall PS4 Launch Day Bundle. The other two bundles are for new franchises: a Watch Dogs PS4 Launch Day Bundle featuring Ubisoft’s upcoming stealth-action hacking game, and a Knack PS4 Launch Day Bundle, which includes a Sony title that’s reminiscent of a next-gen Katamari Damacy.
In an article on Forbes, long-time videogame analyst Michael Pachter said he predicts that Sony will sell 12-15 million PS4s in its first year, compared to 9-10 million Xbox One consoles during the same period. That doesn’t seem like a dramatic difference, but it represents at least a 25% difference between the two consoles — and it supports earlier comments that history isn’t on Microsoft’s side heading into this next generation of home consoles.
Pachter told Forbes: “‘I still expect a subsidy for the Xbox One, and each $100 in lower price probably represents 4 to 5 million units annually. At E3, Sony highlighted its used game and DRM policies, and that will make a difference to the hardcore. With that said, there are a lot if Microsoft fan boys out there, so it may not mean a share shift of more than 1 to 2 million consoles. I don’t think ‘new’ customers will understand or care that much.’”
Perhaps more interesting, and in fact more dire for prospective Xbox One and PS4 owners, is an estimate from analyst PJ McNealy that historically no console has sold more than 1 to 2 million units in North America in a launch window. Why is that a tad dire? Because Pachter believes Sony and Microsoft will only have about 3 million consoles available worldwide for launch. In other words: get your PS4 Amazon pre-orders or Xbox One Amazon pre-orders in now, because they’re both bound to dry up sooner rather than later, even if one sells out faster than the other.