The videogame-console war is a battle between three giants: Sony (SONY), Nintendo (NTDOF) and Microsoft (MSFT).
Sony and its PlayStation are generally regarded as the leaders, followed by Nintendo and its Switch. Microsoft and Xbox are in third place.
Even if this ranking holds among many experts, the three companies will certainly not be making it easy for them: the tech giants don't publish sales statistics for their consoles regularly, leaving experts to guessing.
The more the gaming industry expands, the more attention the interest in the market share of the various players gets. This has become even more relevant during the wave of mergers and acquisitions.
Microsoft drew significant attention last January by offering $68.7 billion to Activision Blizzard (ATVI), a videogame publisher. Activision owns popular franchises such as "Call of Duty," "Candy Crush," and "Warcraft."
Microsoft sold far less consoles than Sony.
Microsoft has just made a disclosure that will please experts but appears to be a red flag for the Redmond, Wash., software and cloud behemoth. CADE is the Brazilian antitrust regulator.
Microsoft claims that its Xbox One, the first generation of its console, sold more than half the amount of Sony's PlayStation 4 (PS4) over its lifetime in a document submitted to CADE.
Sony has announced that it has sold 117.2 million PS4s, which means that if Microsoft's prediction holds, the Xbox One will sell 58.6 million units or less. Nintendo's Switch has sold 111.1 million units so far.
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Microsoft's revelation aims to persuade Brazilian authorities that competition in the industry is adequate to allow the transaction to go ahead. That's contrary to Sony's assertion, which seems to oppose the Microsoft-Activision transaction.
Microsoft is catching up.
Since 2015, Microsoft has refused to disclose Xbox sales figures, stating that it prefers to focus on other indicators to assess its performance.
"Xbox hardware revenue decreased by 11% and 8% in constant currency," said Chief Financial Officer Amy Wood during the company's most recent quarterly earnings conference on July 26, without revealing the number of consoles sold.
"During the same interview, we have sold more Xbox consoles life-to-date than any previous generation of Xbox," said Chief Executive Satya Nadela.
Microsoft has learned from previous Xbox One-related problems as it developed its new Xbox Series S/X console, which seems to be catching up to the PlayStation 5, Sony's next-generation console.
According to research firm Ampere Analysis, Sony sold 17 million PS5 family consoles in 2021, while Microsoft sold 10.5 million Xbox Series units, a difference of 6.5 million units.
But the business cautioned: "At this early stage, the global sales momentum is with Sony, but it will be disappointed that its potential has been harmed by product availability."
Microsoft has suffered significant shortages of its high-end Series X gadget, putting it undermining its competitive advantages in a significant way. Microsoft has also used Series X components to upgrade its cloud gaming servers, placing additional pressure on consumer availability of its flagship console.
Microsoft's disclosure was the first to be reported by GameLuster.