At the start of this year, Microsoft made the bombshell announcement that it would be acquiring video game publisher Activision Blizzard. The $68.7B deal would mean that franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Crash Bandicoot would become first-party properties for Microsoft. However, a deal this big means that there is a lot of legal paperwork and a long approval process that must be completed first.
As a result, the deal won’t be finalized until the middle of next year, if everything goes to plan. As part of the ongoing approval process for this deal, Microsoft has been defending its proposed acquisition to Brazilian authorities. This has involved a back-and-forth communication between Brazilian authorities and both Microsoft and Sony, which has revealed numerous new behind-the-scenes details about the two platform holders. The latest detail to come from these court documents is an official statement from Microsoft about the sales numbers of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.
According to Microsoft, “Sony has surpassed Microsoft in terms of console sales and install base.” The company goes on to say that the PS4 had sold “more than twice as many units” as its own Xbox One. Microsoft stopped officially reporting console sales numbers for its hardware a few years ago, which has meant that we have only been able to use industry estimates to guess how many units the Xbox One has sold. On the other hand, Sony recently stopped providing sales numbers for the PS4, which means that the last reported lifetime sales figure for the console is 117.2 million units sold. That makes it one of the highest-selling home consoles ever made, and we can use that figure to estimate that the Xbox One must have sold somewhere between 55 to 60 million units in total.
We have known that there was a large gap in sales between these two consoles for a long time, but this is the first time that Microsoft has spoken about it in a few years in any official capacity. Many of the reasons for the large gulf between the consoles are likely due to the poor initial reveal of the Xbox One back in 2013. The console was marketed as a system with a focus on movies and TV shows, and it contained various features that the hardcore gaming audience was not interested in.
Things are looking brighter for Microsoft this generation. Microsoft reported that 2021 was one of its best-ever years for video game sales, with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S selling a lifetime combined total of around 12 million units. That makes the current generation of Xbox consoles the fast-selling Xbox consoles in Microsoft’s history. However, it’s worth noting that the PlayStation 5 was still ahead by 6 million units at the time of this report.