It’s been clear for years that the PlayStation 4 is outpacing the Xbox One in sales. What wasn’t clear, however, was by how much. Due to an inadvertent admission by EA CEO Andrew Wilson on an earnings call, we now know that the Xbox One has sold less than half the number of consoles as the PS4 despite the two consoles releasing within a week of one another in 2013. Microsoft moved roughly 30 million Xbox Ones by the end of 2017, while Sony crossed the 73 million mark at the same time (via Variety).
In the midst of discussing EA’s projections for its current fiscal year, Wilson offered console sales figures. “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,” he said.
A little math is required to figure out the breakdown, but the 103 million combined sales leads to a clear answer. Sony released sales figures at the end of 2017, revealing that the PS4 had eclipsed the 73 million mark. That leaves the Xbox One with roughly 30 million in sales to its name.
Microsoft stopped releasing Xbox One sales figures about four years ago, probably because of its positioning in comparison to the PS4. This means that the Xbox One, on average, has sold less than eight million units per year since launch, while the PS4 has sold more than 18 million per year.
While it’s abundantly clear that the Xbox One will never catch up to the PS4, it may well find itself behind yet another competitor before long: Nintendo Switch. The Switch sold ten million units in its first nine months on the market, and surpassed its predecessor, the Wii U, before turning one year old with close to 15 million sales.
Wilson projected the Switch to hit the 30 million mark by the end of year, which would put it in striking distance of the Xbox One going into 2019. If the current trajectories hold, the Switch will be poised to pass the Xbox One next year, despite the Xbox One having more than three years of lead time.