TL;DR: It appears that Sony has a significant lead in next-gen console sales against Microsoft. So far, the PlayStation 5 moved almost twice as many units as the Xbox Series X|S. Globally, the PS5 is the favorite console in all but 12 countries. However, the US and China favored the XBSX.
The next-generation console war is not over, but 2020 sales figures are in, and Sony's PlayStation 5 has taken a commanding lead over Xbox Series X in terms of market share. Market analysis group GamingSmart notes that as of the end of December, PS5 commands nearly two-thirds of the market with 4.48 million in sales versus 2.4 million next-gen Xbox units moved. Analysts had predicted the reverse back in October based on perceived consumer interest.
PlayStation also dominated sales in nearly all 167 countries analyzed. Xbox only led in 12 regions. That said, Microsoft did edge out Sony in two significant markets, the United States and China. In the US, Xbox barely holds on to a lead over the PS5, 50.18 to 49.80 percent. Its dominance in China is a bit more concrete, where it has 60.45 percent saturation. Microsoft also commands the Mexico demographic, 62.27 percent to 37.73 percent.
Despite Sony's commanding lead, Microsoft has been slowly gaining ground in the console market over the last few years. In 2018, Xbox consoles made up 25.29 percent of the pie. By 2019, it had increased its cut to 37.41. In 2020, the total Xbox market share was 39.29 percent. If Microsoft continues this upward trend, it may catch up to its rival.
There is also the unusual launch conditions that the companies faced for this generation to consider. The coronavirus pandemic threw off production schedules, so supplies for both consoles were probably not as high as either team would have liked. There also seemed to be a significant increase in scalper activity than in past generations. Those two factors managed to drive resales of next-gen consoles into the $1,000 range on sites like eBay.
As we head into 2021, things are likely to calm down a bit. Both Sony and Microsoft have promised larger and more frequent shipments, which should drive scalper prices down as availability through retail outlets increases.
Image credit: GamingSmart