In context: The console wars are in full swing, but it is still too early to tell which next-generation system will emerge on top. However, that is not stopping analysts from making their predictions.
One of the first prognosticators out of the gate is the SEO firm The Hoth. Analysts at the firm poured over data from Google Trends throughout the year and have concluded that the Xbox Series X will outsell the PlayStation 5 by Christmas.
"It's been seven years since the last console war and statistics indicate that Sony was by far the big winner, selling twice as many PS4s as Microsoft did Xbox Ones," The Hoth CMO Clayton Johnson told TechSpot via email. "If this [current] trend data is anything to go by, it looks like the pattern will be reversed, at least for the first Christmas."
Search engine graphs show a surge in interest in the Xbox Series X in December of last year, giving it an early lead in the public arena. This spike was immediately following Microsoft's announcement of the XBSX in a Youtube video that received 14.6 million views.
Microsoft held on to this lead until the summer months when interest shifted to Sony's PlayStation 5 in June. This spike correlated to when Sony took a deep dive into the PS5's hardware. Consumer interest in the previous generation's king of the consoles continued through July.
In September, both Sony and Microsoft revealed their release dates and pricing for the new consoles. Xbox went first and saw six times more searches than Playstation at the beginning of September. Once Sony divulged the PlayStation's pricing and launch date, interest shifted with consumers searching for "where to buy" the PS5 10 times more than the XBSX by the end of September.
These peaks are direct correlations to announcements from both companies and tell us little about customer commitment. However, The Hoth says that now that almost everything worth knowing is known, search trends reveal more interest in the Xbox Series X. It predicts that by Christmas, Microsoft's system will outsell Sony's by a margin of 2:1.
However, take such predictions with a healthy grain of salt. For one, not everything has yet been revealed. The report does not take into account that just today, Sony unveiled the PS5's new UX in its State of Play address, which is sure to gain some interest. Microsoft is also likely to have some cards left to play as we head into the launch next month. Additionally, while it may be a good rule of thumb, search trends do not necessarily translate directly to sales. Twice as much interest does not mean twice as many sales.
It is still anybody's game at this point, and both companies are likely to pull out all the stops very soon. So far, it has been a game of tit-for-tat, with each trying to one-up its competitor's last move. I feel the war is far from over and won and that there are still consumers to be swayed in one direction or the other, so grab your popcorn.