The gaming world has been buzzing as of late with the news that Sony’s PlayStation 4 has sold nearly double the units of the Xbox One for the month of January. This is a huge difference from last month, where Xbox One managed to defeat its competitor in sales—a victory frequently attributed to low PS4 stock. VGChartz.com now reports that in addition to this landslide victory for Sony, as of February 8, 2014, 5.2 million PS4 units have been sold globally.
Not too long after the PS4 launched last year, Sony announced its goal of selling 5 million PS4 consoles by the end of March 2014. If VGChartz’s information holds true, this means that Sony has crushed that goal over a month before its own deadline—and before the device ever set foot in Japan.
There seems to be, however, a discrepancy. Early in January, along with news of Xbox’s sales victory for December, came the information that 4.2 million PS4s had been sold alongside 3 million Xbox Ones. Current estimates put January sales for the PS4 at about 280,000 units. This would mean that by the time NPD Group checked, somewhere around 4.48 million PS4 units should have been sold in total.
Where, then, does VGChartz see the extra 720,000 PS4s to make 5.2 million? The chart in question reports that the information is in “millions of units sold,” but could it really be counting units shipped instead (i.e. sold to retailers)? On the other hand, could VGChartz see something that the rest of the world does not yet?
After all, 280,000 seems more than a little low considering that just the month before, Microsoft sold a whopping 908,000 Xbox Ones. Sony did not release its December sales information. For the winning tally to be sitting at a mere 280,000 (and for Microsoft to be at a comparatively shameful 145,000) just a month later seems rather severe. VGChartz reports that PS4 sold over 140,000 units globally in just the week of February 8.
VGChartz’s reliability has been called into question before. Back in 2008, VGChartz’s Brett Walton responded to some Internet comments about the subject, where during his defense for VGChartz’s reliability he admitted that there are “literally hundreds of examples where [VGChartz’s] data for a game won’t line up perfectly with another source, [and] even some examples where we can be a [sic] double or half the sales reported elsewhere (although this is a rare occurrance [sic]).”
For context’s sake, our readers should understand that this was part of a larger statement. Walton was stating that VGChartz, like any statistics company (he cited Chart Track and NPD Group as examples), is sometimes wrong, and when that happens it will fix its mistakes.
This seems reasonable, but gamers can only wait until another source publishes global cumulative sales information to compare with to know for sure whether or not VGChartz is onto something. If it is, it means that Sony is on a huge roll, achieving its goal more than a month ahead of deadline and selling about a million consoles in January. It means that Sony is continuing to thoroughly spank Xbox One in sales, with about a million sales in growth (4.2 million to 5.2 million) in January as opposed to 400,000 (3 million to 3.4 million). It means that developers will be lining up to have their content on the console.
It means the Xbox One could be in a bit of trouble if it doesn’t seriously address some concerns.
Do you think VGChartz could be correct? What can Xbox do to catch up? Talk about it in the comments below.