Xbox One Beats PS4 On Black Friday: The Casuals Come Out
I've been saying it for months. This was bound to happen.
My contention has always been as follows- If you're a casual gamer in the US, you are far more likely to own an Xbox than a PlayStation. Xbox is the brand you see most often; it's constantly in your face and as you don't really follow game news, you basically just buy the most popular system, which is invariably the Xbox.
This is not a blanket statement. This does not mean that only hardcore gamers buy PlayStation and only casual gamers buy Xbox. Of course that isn't true. It merely says that if you're the type of person who casually gets into video games here and there, you've probably never heard of Uncharted, Killzone, LittleBigPlanet, etc. You have, however, heard of Halo and Gears of War. Now, the two consuming groups - avid/die-hard vs. casual - act very differently. One group pre-orders and anxiously anticipates; another waits to see if one will be available on the shelf, and maybe they'll buy it. They're not drooling over it, anyway.
Now, everyone wanted to believe that the PlayStation 4 would dominate the Xbox One. Early polls and surveys gave Sony's system a gigantic advantage, of even 10:1 in some instances. Obviously, the PS4 had no chance of outselling the Xbox One by such a ratio and why? Because who are the majority of participants in such polls? Right, hardcore. The casuals don't care. They're not participating in those polls. But, as analytics firm InfoScout indicates, the casuals are definitely out there in droves, and they've responded on Black Friday:
Xbox One was the best-selling console at Wal-Mart and Target on Black Friday, and it really wasn't even close. 31% of all console sales went to the Xbox One, while the PS4 only nabbed 15%. That's more than double in favor of Microsoft's console. Granted, there was more availability; the PS4 wasn't quite as available at retailers, and I acknowledge that. But in truth, it's almost irrelevant because just because the Xbox One is available doesn't mean it has to sell; in fact, it did sell and it sold very well.
And that's because the casual gamers were out with the shoppers on Black Friday and responded to the extra systems. They didn't pre-order because they didn't really care enough and they inevitably went home with the Xbox One. I seriously doubt they even gave the PS4 a second look, despite the $100 price difference. Casuals own this market now, as further evidence of that can be taken from the top software sales on Black Friday:
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- Disney Infinity
- Skylanders: SWAP Force
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Madden NFL 25
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Batman: Arkham Origins
- NBA 2K14
- Lego: Marvel Super Heroes
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
You couldn't make a more mainstream list. It's not ironic that when the mainstream titles start to sell, the Xbox brand experiences a surge in sales. I will repeat myself again: In many instances, the Xbox One is a mainstream/casual product in the US, while the PS4 is mainly for hardcore players. That's precisely why I said PS4 needed to have a significant lead in the pre-order department if Sony even wanted to be competitive with Microsoft this holiday season. Yep, because the hardcore pre-order, the casuals don't, and when the two systems are sitting on store shelves, the casual consumer is, more often than not, walking out with the Xbox One.
Again, let me remind everyone that I'm speaking solely about the US market. I know the situation is completely different in other territories.
12/2/2013 9:52:42 PM Ben Dutka