As Microsoft hasn’t published console sales information for years (and they likely never will again), we can only work with estimates.
Ampere Analysis has published a new analysis that focused on the first three months of 2021. In the January-March period, the analyst firm claims that the PlayStation 5 has a significant advantage when it comes to sales if we compare its results with the Xbox Series.
According to them, the PlayStation 5 (including both the PlayStation 5 Standard Edition and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition) managed to pull 2.83 million units sold in Q1 2021. However, the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S only could muster a combined 1.31 million units, which is less than half of Sony’s performance! (It’s fair if we mention the Nintendo Switch family, too: the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite pulled a combined sales of 5.86 million units, which is a 12% year-on-year increase!)
„Both Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles are suffering from supply constraints and unpredictable availability. These conditions are expected to continue for the rest of 2021 as competition for components remains high, making it challenging for many CE companies to increase production. Under these conditions, both versions of PlayStation 5 combined outsold both versions of Xbox Series consoles by more than 2 to 1. Sony will be pleased that its PlayStation 4 market share is continuing into the new generation but it is very hard to gauge real demand under the current market conditions,” Piers Harding-Rolls, Ampere’s analyst, wrote.
In short, customers might have bought something available instead of what they wanted. It could have been the Nintendo Switch, or even the PlayStation 5, which thus might not have a long-term market share advantage because of this. (Exclusives will play a role.)
But wait, Sony said in its financial earnings report that they shipped 3.3 million PlayStation 5 units in Q1 2021! That’s half a million consoles waiting for a new owner, and even if we discount scalpers, that’s a lot, especially in the console’s early life!