Well, it’s the moment that we’ve all been waiting for: the PlayStation 4’s long-running sales winning streak in the United States has finally come to an end. Sony’s next-gen system had been on top every month of the year so far, but extremely low priced bundles from Microsoft have pushed the Xbox One ahead in November for the first time since December 2013. The word on the street, however, is that it was a photo finish, with the Japanese giant almost pulling a surprise victory out of the bag. [Update: Or perhaps not!]
Without the official numbers from either of the hardware manufacturers, though, it’s impossible to say for sure, so we’ll stick with the facts. Cumulative sales of both the PS4 and Xbox One are up 80 per cent compared to the combined sales of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the same points in their lifespans, meaning that any nonsense about games consoles going out of fashion can finally be put to bed. Furthermore, the overall industry spend is currently up by two per cent year-over-year.
However, in November, total sales for hardware, software, and accessories were down 11 per cent, tallying $2.41 billion. Hardware sales saw the biggest fall, down 23 per cent from $1.31 billion in 2013 to just $1.10 billion. This is likely due to heavy hardware price cuts, but it’s also worth remembering that both the PS4 and Xbox One enjoyed record breaking launches last year. Software sales were also down marginally to $1.06 billion, but accessory sales actually rose by two per cent, hitting $331.2 million.
Unsurprisingly, the top selling game for the month was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which incredibly performed best on the Xbox 360. Grand Theft Auto V finished in second, following its recent PS4 re-release. Elsewhere, Madden NFL 15, Far Cry 4, NBA 2K15, and Assassin’s Creed Unity all rounded out the top ten. There’s no word on LittleBigPlanet 3’s performance just yet, which was Sony’s big release for the month.
In fact, at the time of typing, the platform holder’s yet to provide a statement, but we suspect that it always knew that it was going to be tough to usurp an outrageously cheap Xbox One at full price. It’ll be interesting to see how close the two devices were, as speculation suggests that it was tighter than the price differences may lead you to believe, but without access to the data, we can’t be sure. Either way, it’s nice to have a bit of variety in the sales charts – we were getting tired of the PS4’s constant success.
Update: Geek Wire's reporting that Microsoft sold 1.2 million Xbox One consoles in the United States in November, suggesting that this wasn't as close as early speculation had indicated. Your move, Sony.
Top Ten Physical Retail Releases: November 2014
1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (360, XBO, PS4, PS3, PC)
2. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3)
3. Super Smash Bros. (NWU, 3DS)
4. Madden NFL 15 (360, XBO, PS4, PS3)
5. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (3DS)
6. Far Cry 4 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC)
7. Pokemon Omega Ruby (3DS)
8. NBA 2K15 (PS4, 360, XBO, PS3, PC)
9. Assassin's Creed: Unity (PS4, XBO, PC)
10. Halo: The Master Chief Collection (XBO)