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PS5 and Xbox Series X launch sales weren't as great as they seemed – here's why

PS5 and Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Future)

PS5 and Xbox Series X failed to beat the launch sales of their last-gen counterparts, according to data from Ampere Analysis

Its report determined that 4.2 million PS5 consoles were sold since November 12, and just over 2.8 million Xbox Series X|S consoles were sold since Microsoft’s next-gen systems launched on November 10. 

That means the PS5 actually matched the launch sales of the PS4, while combined sales of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S were slightly behind the Xbox One, which sold 2.9 million units during the same timeframe. 

While it might seem like a good result for Sony, it’s not quite as clear cut as it seems. The PS4 managed to reach 4.2 million sales without any help from the Japanese market when it launched in November 2013, as it didn’t arrive in Japan until Q1 2014. The PS5, meanwhile, launched globally this time around.

The sales of both consoles were impacted by Sony and Microsoft’s inability to meet demand, and even though it’s been nearly three months since launch, supply continues to be extremely scarce. 

Ampere Analysis predicts that were it not for the pandemic, PS5 could have achieved over five million units sold, and that the company is on track to sell between 7.5 million and 8 million PS5 consoles by the end of March. 

The firm notes that Microsoft will be disappointed with its total sales figure for the Xbox Series X and Series S, as its new consoles launched in three times the number of markets as the Xbox One back in 2013. Still, Ampere believes that product availability has also undermined the Xbox Series X’s sales potential.

Sell out

The report from Ampere Analysis also touches on the success of the Nintendo Switch, which managed to outperform the Wii’s best annual sales record. The Switch sold 26.3 million units in 2020, besting Wii’s 24.5 million total. 

Both Sony and Microsoft have boasted that its next-gen consoles have beaten previous launch records, and while this data seems to prove otherwise, the companies often focus on sales to retailers or shipments, not direct sales to consumers.

As supply slowly catches up to demand, then, it'll be interesting to see how many more millions Sony and Microsoft will sell in the coming years.