Somewhat of an unstoppable force as of late - except against hackers - Sony recently took to the stage at Gamescom 2014 to reveal that the PS4 has sold over 10 million units. Despite Microsoft piling on the pressure as they look to establish their new console, the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 has successfully held its own in terms of sales, leading the current-gen home consoles in sales.
Indeed, 10 million is on par with analyst predictions that the PS4 would sell 12 million units by the time the year was up (and we still have the busy holiday period to go). It’s also a boon for Sony that the PS4 has leapt out of the gate far quicker than its predecessor, the PS3. But just why is the PS4 doing so well this time around? Sony says they have no idea but a new survey from Nielsen suggests that the answer lies in last-gen gamers who have switched allegiances.
Nielsen proved that statement by rolling out a new survey. Meant to see where allegiances really lie, they cut through the console wars and the (sometimes rather toxic) brand loyalty to find out what’s what.
According to the data they provided to Re/code, a staggering 31% of the PS4 owners surveyed didn't own a PS3 but they had owned an Xbox 360 or a Nintendo Wii. Nielsen’s audience was 1,200 PS4 owners from America between the ages of 7 and 54 who are “active gamers” so although that label is fairly vague, given that the PS4 is a significant investment for the occasional gamer, we can only imagine that these PS4 players are getting in some serious game time.
What is concerning about the survey, though, is the way in which Nielsen asked the question. The wording of their question specifically asks participants what they ‘currently’ own, meaning that if you sold your PS3 off not worried about the PS4’s lack of backward compatibility (thanks to the PS Now service that might not be a a big problem down the road) then you’d be able to say that you didn't own a PS3.
Despite questionable wording, it is unlikely that all 31% of PS4 owners who didn’t own a PS3 answered as though they’d sold their PS3s. It’s also interesting to note that a substantial 17% of PS4 owners didn’t own a last-gen console at all.
That’ll be something to chew on for Microsoft especially, as although the Xbox One’s high price point has been rectified by dropping Kinect (something that wasn’t reflected in Nielsen’s data – surveys were taken between February and April), the fact that they’ve failed to retain a good chunk of their Xbox 360 userbase during the launch window of the PS4 and Xbox One is a worry.
Furthermore, it’s been noted that even with exclusives like inFamous: Second Son and Ryse: Son of Rome on PS4 and Xbox One (respectively), the allure of the multi-platform title has remained high. So when gamers are forced to pick a side and are being told that the PS4 is cheaper (and is reportedly more powerful) than the Xbox One, they’re going to pick the Sony machine over anything else at this point.