Xbox Series X

Early confirmation of next-gen consoles has impacted current-gen hardware sales

A new report by market analysts NPD Group shows US hardware spending was down 35 per cent last month year-over-year, intimating sales of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the US are declining faster than expected when compared with those of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 near the end of their lifecycle in January 2013.

The report, picked up by VGC, also showed that total spending across gaming as a whole – including hardware, software, accessories and game cards – has also dipped, dropping 26 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.

“An interesting takeaway from the US NPD report is that PS4 and XB1 hardware sales in Jan 2020 are considerably lower than PS3 and 360 were in Jan 2013,” tweeted Niko Partners analyst, Daniel Ahmad. “Next-gen consoles are around the corner but both are declining sharper than expected. Switch continues to remain steady.”

Reflecting further on what may be disproportionately affecting current-gen sales, Ahmad posited that “a combination of multiple factors” were affecting sales, including a number of high-profile software delays such as Cyberpunk 2077, Dying Light 2, and a number of major Ubisoft titles, and the welcomed “early announcements for PS5/XSX with [backward compatability]”. He also suggested that as the PS4 and the XB1 have “held at current price points for a number of years”, that too may have negatively impacted sales.

Nintendo has sold 52.48m Nintendo Switch units worldwide since it was released in March 2017. As the Japanese megacorp moves into the final quarter of the financial year, it’s revealed Switch sales in the nine months ending 31st December 2019 now stand at 17.7m, an increase of 22.5 per cent year-over-year. The boost is chiefly attributed to a “strong holiday period” and the newer, undockable Switch Lite version.

In comparison, Sony has sold over 106 million PlayStation 4 consoles worldwide, with PlayStation Network’s (PSN) December 2019 monthly active users reached 103 million, and cumulative sales of PlayStation 4 software titles from retailers and the PlayStation Store combined have reached 1.15 billion as of December 31, 2019. The next iteration of its console system, the PlayStation 5, will release just in time for Christmas 2020.

Microsoft has confirmed the first iteration of Xbox’s next generation, the Series X, will launch with backwards compatibility from day one. Xbox chief Phil Spencer confirmed in an interview that some Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles will be available on the next-gen system from launch.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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