As the PS4 and Xbox One battle it out on the floor of the Gamescom show in Germany this week, the latest figures show a continuing lead for the PS4.
Yesterday at the Sony press conference, the company boasted that it had sold 10 million PS4s since launch – and according to Extreme Tech this compares to an estimated 5 million Xbox One units sold.
Whilst this isn’t quite the 3:1 ratio that had been reported, it is still a huge lead and one that could signal trouble for Microsoft. As Extreme Tech points out – Sony is keen to remind us that whilst it is reporting on ten million PS4s actually sold to consumers, Microsoft’s number is derived from the number of consoles shipped to retailers. So there could be huge stocks of unsold XBOs sitting in warehouses.
Assuming these figures are vaguely accurate, the danger for Microsoft now is in terms of the news narrative and the network effects. In other words – if the games media continues to talk about the PS4’s lead, or if it were to describe the XBO as a failure, then this will put off potential buyers – who will want get hold of the system with the best selection of games available (Microsoft is trying to fix this). Worse still is the network effect, where gamers will pick up the same system as their friends, so they can share games and play online: Would you want to be the only Xbox kid in a PS4 neighbourhood?