I've always said that in the gaming industry, nothing matters until we see the sales numbers. This held especially true this past week, as Black Friday had customers shopping in stores across the country, from dusk to dawn, purchasing their favorite gadgets and other items. On their lists were video game consoles and, regardless of the initial Internet onslaught of negativity, you might be surprised at the console that came out on top.
Courtesy of Infoscout, we have sales totals for the current and next-gen consoles for Black Friday. The Xbox 360 and the Xbox One made up 61% of the entire post-Thanksgiving sales day market, with the Microsoft's latest console squeaking out a one percent edge over their former 360. The PS3 and PS4 both tied at 15% a piece and the Wii U made up six percent, leaving Nintendo's Wii to own the remaining, single percent of sales.
Of the customers polled, 80% of them said that they'd purchased a console as a gift, and 10% of those gift-givers said the console would be opened before Christmas. 85% of game system buyers said they'd also purchase two or more video games along with the system, with Call of Duty: Ghosts sadly being the top choice, by almost double of the #2 spot, Disney Infinity. Rounding out the top five choices for video games on Black Friday were Skylanders: Swap Force, GTA V and Madden 25.
Probably the most pressing question though is why did the Xbox One come out on top? There are several reasons that initially drive this number home. First, Sony chose to release their console a week earlier than Microsoft, with pre-orders and week one sales already being delivered to customers before Black Friday, to the tune of one million total PS4s. Secondly, Sony did mention that the company was having a tough time keeping up with demand, causing a shortage of next-gen PlayStations for customers on Black Friday. To be fair, Microsoft did announce one million consoles sold before Black Friday, too, and although Microsoft's gaming system was available in more markets, that still equates to a substantial amount of units moved.
There's a little more to the story, too. When asked about different consoles, here's what the majority of customers had to say about each one.
"Too much hype when Sony doesn't produce enough"
"Expensive. Games are expensive."
"It's too high tech. None if the older PS games will work with it and everything is way too expensive; I think it's more for the adults."
"My oldest child wanted a PlayStation, I have no opinion."
"It's the only system that has the game my kids want. I'm not happy about it."
"Waiting to see the first 'Must have game'"
"I think its a great system. With the Kinect, the family can get up and move around"
"Fun for kids and families. Love the old school games that you can download"
"Older technology, so less expensive"
To me, it's interesting to see the masses respond to the marketing campaigns, hype and overall message from both Sony and Microsoft. Even though the PS4 is $100 cheaper, Sony might have missed portraying the PS4 as something everyone could use, since they geared a lot of messaging towards the hardcore gamer who has strayed from Sony over the past eight years. Instead, Microsoft has realized for years now that customers want more than just gaming systems underneath their TV and by incorporating entertainment and media into the Xbox One marketing, the amount of sales speak for how well-received the message was. In the end, the "hardcore gaming" market is a very small percentage of the total number of people who game in today's age, and a lot of people have proven they're willing to spend money on a console that fits all of their needs in one device.
However, we still don't have the official total console sales numbers from NPD and we'll probably have to wait until after Christmas for them. Then and only then can we see the true magnitude of success of failure for either of the companies' respective launches. Did you pick up any next-gen gaming system for Black Friday? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section.