Early this morning, Microsoft top dog Phil Spencer revealed the breaking news. According to him, the launch day of the latest iteration of the Xbox has seen “more new consoles sold, in more countries, than ever before”. Ostensibly this is incredible news for Microsoft, as they scramble to claim launch day victory over rivals Sony, the first scalp in a console war too close to call.
Phil Spencer confirms record breaking sales in morning tweet
Spencer goes on to reassure would-be customers that talks are underway to restock dwindling suppliers with local retailers. This comes amid the well documented scant supply frustrating many looking to make the jump to the next gen. Twitter was quick to jump on the offensive, with many calling Microsoft out for bad planning ahead of record pre-orders;
Scathing replies abound: Angry fans call MS out for poor supply management
Amazon in particular were called out for their less than perfect pre-order handling;
As any good business will tell you, demand outstripping supply is a nice problem to have. But what does this tell us ahead of the inevitable PlayStation 5 launch day sales announcement? Curiously, this is not the first time Xbox have broken launch day records, with the same announcement following the Xbox One’s launch back in November 2013. In a statement released by Xbox at the time, it said,
“Xbox One is now sold out at most retailers. We are working to replenish stock as fast as possible to meet the unprecedented demand from our customers.”
Sounds kind familiar right? You’d think with 6 years to plan it might have learned something. History it seems, is doomed to repeat itself.
Phil Spencer in the Green Corner
What’s curious is that this followed arguably Xbox’s worst pre-launch strategy in history, shifting loyalties Sony’s way wholesale. Lest we forget the infamous promise of “always online gaming” and the disastrously flawed Kinect motion control system. And as far as sales went PlayStation 4 was leaps and bounds ahead, with over 1 million consoles sold on launch day in North America alone. According to data released by Nielsen in August 2014, nine months after the PS4 was released, thirty-one percent of its sales were to existing Wii and Xbox 360 owners, none of whom had by then owned a PS3.
It’s difficult to say who is going to “win” this latest console war. As “teraflops” enters the common vernacular, each achieves near parity with the other in raw processing power. Sony has shown a panache for exclusives in recent years, but with Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax some would speculate this is may tilt the scales its way.
Frankly, it’s too close to call at this point. But I wouldn’t be too surprised to hear the PS5 has launched to equal fanfare. Until then, its first round to the green corner. Revel in the glory, Phil, long may it last.