The NPD Group reveals the console sales results for September 2016, with Xbox One outselling PlayStation 4 for the third month in a row, despite the launch of PS4 Slim.
Perhaps riding the wave of an E3 buzz, Xbox One finally overcame the PS4 in sales in July 2016. Then the Xbox One S launched in August, propelling the console to a second sales victory over PS4. Well, Microsoft has just pulled off a hat trick, with Xbox One winning the console sales race for a third month in a row, in a month that saw stiff competition from the PlayStation brand.
Even though Sony was boasting PS4-exclusive content for the popular new Destiny expansion Rise of Iron, consumers still chose Xbox One over Sony's eighth-gen console. Microsoft was aggressive with bundles and special sales in the month of September, and that combined with critically acclaimed exclusives like Forza Horizon 3 is likely what helped Xbox One beat PS4 despite its exclusive Destiny content.
Not only did PS4 have exclusive game content on its side, but Sony also introduced new hardware in the form of PS4 Slim. Some may have expected PS4's sales to see a boost from the introduction of the PS4 Slim - similarly to how Xbox One S served as a shot in the arm for Xbox One sales - but that doesn't seem to be the case. With PS4 Pro set to launch in November and PlayStation VR just now hitting store shelves, it's possible PlayStation fans were saving their cash for the other new Sony hardware on the horizon instead of picking up a Slim.
Whatever the reason for Xbox One outselling PS4 three months in a row, Microsoft will want to do its best to ride this momentum through the holidays. Gears of War 4 just launched to strong reviews, and the popularity of that franchise, along with some Gears of War-themed Xbox bundles, could help the company extend its success to a fourth month. Of course, PlayStation VR has also recently launched, and is estimated to sell 1.4 million units by the end of the year, which may put a damper on Gears of War 4's potential to move Xbox One units.
Come November, Xbox One will also have to compete with PlayStation 4 Pro, which is more powerful than current PS4 models. It's the first test to see if consumers are willing to buy incremental console upgrades instead of the huge generational leaps of yesteryear, and its performance could be an indication of how Microsoft's own Project Scorpio will fare once it lands on store shelves next holiday season.
It will be interesting to see how console sales end up once both of Microsoft and Sony's new consoles are on the market, but for now, Xbox One is finally starting to gain some ground on PS4. PS4 is still projected to outsell Xbox One by millions of units when it's all said and done, but for console gamers, it should be nice to see the market thriving as it currently seems to be, regardless of who comes out on top.