While the next video game console generation is still a few months away, some analysts are already making their predictions about which company will find its way on top. Piers Harding-Rolls is the research director for games for Ampere Analysis, and he believes that the PlayStation 5 will significantly outsell the Xbox Series X. Harding-Rolls expects both consoles to perform well in 2020, with PlayStation 5 selling 4.6 million units and Xbox Series X selling 3.3 million. By the end of 2024, Harding-Rolls expects Sony's lead to expand to 66 million, while Microsoft's console will stand at 37 million units.
That figure would account for 103 million cumulative units sold, which would continue a trend of drop-off since the Xbox/PlayStation 2 generation, where 179 million units were sold during a similar timeframe. Harding-Rolls' figure accounts for the fact that cumulative console sales for PlayStation and Xbox consoles have been declining since. There are many factors that can account for those drop-offs: the rise of mobile gaming, sales of Nintendo Switch, and increased interest in PC.
"While the market is still substantial and likely to be consistently large at least during the next console life cycle, what has been proven over the last decade is that even with significant resources ploughed into growing adoption on a global basis, including more serious entry into a series of additional territories, substantial hardware unit sales growth for Sony and Microsoft combined has not materialised," said Harding-Rolls in his report.
To coincide with the #PS5 event later we published a free report on the next-gen console market, the competitive positioning differences between Sony and Microsoft, and how both companies are targeting market growthJune 11, 2020
Naturally, readers should take these numbers with a grain of salt, but it's certainly interesting to see what analysts are predicting for the future of gaming. No matter how the next generation of consoles performs, it's true that Microsoft will have a difficult time overtaking Sony. The PlayStation brand remains quite strong globally, and Microsoft has notoriously struggled in territories such as Japan.
Of course, it's impossible to say what might happen in the coming years. Console sales might be down, but interest in gaming continues to increase. Microsoft has made a concerted effort to connect gamers across various platforms, and the backwards compatibility of Xbox Series X will be quite a bit more substantial than that of the PlayStation 5. As such, it could be easier for the company to convert previous owners.
Regardless of what happens, it will be interesting to see for video game fans. Analysts have long predicted that as video games reach the so-called "graphic ceiling," it will make it more difficult for console manufacturers to continue selling new systems. Whether or not this generation will prove that to be the case remains to be seen.
What do you think of Harding-Rolls' analysis? Do you see Sony overtaking Microsoft once again? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!