Why Is The PS4 Outselling The Xbox One?

Microsoft’s recent decision to renew the trademark for Scalebound has had the internet in a little bit of a flurry. No matter where you look when it comes to gaming media, there seems to be some coverage on the development.

Regardless of whether the title is really being put in development, popular gaming media outlets did raise some conversation surrounding why exactly the PlayStation 4 is outselling the Xbox One on news article and YouTube video comment sections.

Throughout such comment sections, the importance of the availability of exclusives with the regards to the success of a console was debated. Some believe that the availability of exclusives may have a rather limited impact on the success of a console, whereas others believe that exclusives have the ability to make or break a console.

I feel that in order to answer the question of why the PS4 is outselling the XboxOne, you really do need to look at the reasons people often state for not wanting to buy an Xbox One.

Although there are several reasons as to why one may choose to invest in a particular console over another, I have narrowed down these suggestion to four broad themes that most often indicate when attempting to answer this question.

1. The Xbox One’s Poor Announcement Conference

When the Xbox One was announced in May 2013, it was stated that the console would be ‘always online’. Basically, the console would need to have been connected to the internet, even if only for a short while, every 24 hours in order for players to be able to play their video games or use their other applications.


Xbox One. (Credit: Microsoft)

The ‘always online’ feature was basically synonymous with a DRM feature, in which the license for the content that one may want to use needs to be verified in order for one to actually make use of it.

Gamers were very angry about this feature to say the least as not only did it assume that every gamer had a stable and consistent internet connection, but more importantly, the overall aim of the feature seemed to be an attempt to kill the second-hand video game market.

With this proposed feature, even if a gamer had bought a physical copy of a title, the system would register the license of a particular title to a specific gamer tag, meaning that you couldn’t really sell the game after you bought it or even lend to a friend who didn’t have access to your account details.

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Better make sure you have a good internet connection, right?

While there were other factors with regards to the conference that really annoyed gamers (such as forced Kinect integration and the strong focus on multimedia functions as opposed to gaming), the always online requirement was definitely the most infuriating and created enough uproar that Microsoft made an announcement stating that a Day One patch would remove all such features not even a month later.

The argument here with regards to how this may have affected sales of the console is that even though Microsoft removed the offensive features, the negative clout surrounding them still remained and may have affected many gamers’ decision on whether to buy the console or not.

Many have suggested that those gamers who are not really all that into gaming media may have heard of the announcement of a new console, but not that of the removal of some features and that may have affected sales and that there were also some gamers that may have chosen to refuse to buy the console on principal of trying to include such features.

2. The Xbox One’s Initial High Price and Release Schedule


Xbox One and PS4 launch prices. (Credit: Pleng4all)

When the Xbox One was first released, it cost $100/£70 more than the PS4 and was only released in 19 countries as opposed to the 32 countries that the PS4 launched in.

A lot of people have begun to forget about this factor as both consoles have received significant price drops and are now available in most areas, but the price point, as well as its early availability could really be a make or break factor with regards to whether one decides to invest in it.

The PS4 and Xbox One perform the same functions and if you’re a gamer on a budget or one that doesn’t really care all that much about brand allegiance or the other small features the two consoles may have over the other, then most likely you’re going to buy the cheaper product because it performs the same functions.

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The different areas in which the PS4 and Xbox One were released. (Credit: Games Asylum)

Which brings us to the next point…

3. The Base PS4 Maintains A Higher Graphical Output Than The Xbox One For Most Video Games

This was a very popular topic of contention when the Xbox One and PS4 were first released. Perhaps, I just stopped paying attention to the argument about graphical output comparisons between the two consoles in the interim, but it does seem like it is becoming very apparent again in the run-up to the release of Project Scorpio.

Quite simply, the PS4 is able to run most games in 1080p whereas the Xbox One is often only able to reach 900p. In the instances where neither console is able to reach 1080p, the PS4 still runs at a higher level than the Xbox One.

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PC always wins, but who comes second? (Credit: CandyLand – YouTube)

I feel the need to clarify that this is a fact and not an instance of favouring a particular console. In fact, in the small number of games that I own for both the PS4 and Xbox One, I think I have actually run into more framerate issues with the PS4 than the Xbox One, but again this could only be my experience.

However, there is no denying that there are gamers out there that most likely made their decision to buy a PS4 rather than an Xbox One on the basis of this difference.

A lot of gamers might feel that if one really cares about graphics, one would buy a PC, but it’s important to remember that although purchasing a PC may mean financial savings in the long run, many will agree that purchasing a console is definitely a cheaper and easier gateway into gaming.

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Techinically, the cheapest way to game if you own a smartphone. (Clash of Clans, Credit: Supercell)

If you have no brand allegiance qualms, why wouldn’t you buy the console that is both cheaper and is able to run titles at a higher graphical output?

4. The Focus Of The PS4 Has Always Been Games And It Has So Many Good Exclusives

If you aren’t really a Halo or Gears of War fan, there really aren’t all that many exclusives on the Xbox One that may entice gamers to buy it. While I may believe that Sunset Overdrive is a rather worthwhile title and that Scalebound may have been, I fear that not all gamers may have the same ideas.

At the moment, there is a ridiculous number of really good PS4 exclusives available on the market that gives many the incentive to invest in the console.

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Some of the PS4 exclusives available at the moment. (Credit: Sony)

The question surrounding exclusives has always been: would you buy a console on the basis of one or a small number of exclusive games?

The answer to this question is, quite simply, yes. There are a lot of gamers that would buy a console to play a single game and Microsoft, the owners of the Halo franchise, should know this.

I’m sure that there are quite a few gamers out there that chose to buy a PS4 on the basis of Uncharted, Horizon Zero Dawn and whole load of PS4 exclusives that look too interesting not to miss.

So, Which Factor Impacted Sales The Most?

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Xbox One S. (Credit: Microsoft/Windows Central)

Initially, it seems that the negative reception to the announcement of the Xbox One and the console’s overall price point were the biggest detractors for most consumers.

The Xbox One, however, has been out for four years now so it is safe to assume that most people know that it doesn’t have an always online requirement and it has had a few price reductions, so I wouldn’t really say that either of these two factors really affects sales as much anymore.

The fallout from them, however, in the fact that the PS4 received a ridiculous early lead in terms of sales could have spurred a greater division between the consoles in the form of social gamers gravitating towards the console that their friends own. If there are more PS4s out there, it’s statistically more likely that the console one’s friends own is a PS4, so you’ll be inclined to buy a PS4.

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PlayStation 4. (Credit: Sony)

Personally, I feel that the fact that some games perform better in terms of graphical quality on the PS4 may have been the reason that some chose to buy it over the Xbox One, but was most likely the case in the majority of gamers.

Firstly, if you really cared about high-end graphics, you would have invested in a PC which shows a large difference in terms of graphics as opposed to a console that is slightly better than its main opposition.

Secondly, people also have to remember that with regards to the console war, in the past it hasn’t always been the best and most powerful console that has sold the most units, but the one that has provided people with an overall better experience, with regards to both gaming and media.


PlayStation 2. (Credit: Sony)

For example, the PS2 outsold both the Game Cube and original Xbox, despite the fact that both of those consoles were more powerful. A lot of people attribute the sales of the PS2 due to the fact that it contained a built-in DVD player, but the console also had a large number of exclusive titles that quite simply you needed the console to be able to play. It was the overall experience that helped sell the console, not just it’s DVD playing function.

If anybody believes that the availability of exclusive titles does not in some way influence a gamer who is on the fence’s decision to invest in a particular console, they are lying to themselves. I own both a PS4 and Xbox One, but if I had to decide to buy a new console for the first time today, I would definitely pick a PS4 on the basis of the critical acclaim of Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn and The Last of Us.

What Can Microsoft Do To Turn The Tide?

I’ve already stated this rather recently, but Microsoft has done a serious amount of damage control over the past few years in trying to rectify the image of the Xbox One.

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Not bad for a five year old game. (Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Credit: Activision)

New initiatives, such as the Netflix-style Xbox Live Game Pass and the testing of a digital refund programme, in addition to existing services, such as EA Access, is enough to get anyone to consider investing in the console.

Gamers also really seem to care about backwards compatibility; something which isn’t really available on PS4 (unless you like to stream single-player games.)

I do think that if the Xbox One is to catch up to the PS4 in terms of sales, a shift in focus (from multimedia to gaming) was required and this has definitely happened. The only thing that is required is for Microsoft to announce more worthwhile exclusives for the Xbox One and I believe they’ll definitely have a solid chance of turning the tide.

With the Xbox One X having been recently released, but increased capabilities of the console, it will be interesting to see if it, along with previously mentioned incentives, is enough to push Microsoft ahead in the console sales race.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

So, why do you think that the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One? Please share in the comments down below.

[Sources: VG247; Kotaku; The Guardian]