You have to feel sorry for Microsoft. Sales of its new, next-generation console, the Xbox One, have clearly so far failed to come close to those of Sony’s PlayStation 4. It seems the best it can do in the battle of the console stats is tell us how many hours Xboxers have spent on the thing.
Insisting that Xbox One is “delivering” on its promise “to be the all-in-one games and entertainment system”, Microsoft today claimed One fans have now spent “over 50 million hours” in the past 11 days.
Unable to say how many millions of consoles have arrived in punters’ living rooms, the company instead boasted that more than three billion zombies have been killed in Dead Rising 3, no fewer than than 186 million enemies have been crushed under the heels of legionary caligae in Ryse: Son of Rome and more than 90 million virtual miles have been driven in Forza 5.
The "50 million hours" claim deserves a closer look, though. That’s an average of 4.5 million hours per day. Microsoft apparently sold a million Ones at launch, which gives a per owner daily play time of four-and-a-half hours, not an unreasonable sounding average for the hardcore fans and gamers who buy new consoles as soon as the machines are launched.
In short, Microsoft can’t have sold many more consoles than the original million. If indeed “demand is far exceeding supply in the 13 countries we’ve launched”, it clearly got its sums wrong when working out how many of the machines to manufacture.
Sony, by contrast, claims to have put more than two million PS4s in punters’ hands, though it’s not yet known to what extent that’s a sign of demand for the Sony console and not simply disappointed potential Xbox One buyers opting for the alternative.
Either way, here at least, interest in the PS4 has made it the fastest-selling console in British history. ®