A new Reuters poll
asked US shoppers what their plans for dedicated gaming devices were in the upcoming holiday season, and the results should sound like music over in Tokyo. 26 percent of those surveyed said they were thinking of buying Sony's SNE +1.13%
PS4, where only 15 percent said they were thinking of buying Microsoft's MSFT -1.14%
Xbox One. In the under-40 set, 41 percent were thinking of the PS4 and 27 percent thinking of the Xbox One.
This is a particularly big deal, because Xbox 360 enjoyed a strong advantage in the United States over the past generation. Microsoft is making a push into Europe by bundling it’s new console with FIFA in Europe, but in the meantime, it looks like the home front may be just as contested.
We’re now a few months out from the craziness of these two console reveals, from Sony’s explosive E3 press conference to Microsoft’s impressive display of corporate agility in the following months. While the Xbox One has been under fire since the beginning due to its controversial (former) DRM and used games policies, the real question has always been: how will the tide of internet opinion actually affect sales in the fall? We’re starting to see some evidence of that with surveys like this one.
While the Xbox One struggled out of the gate, Sony wasted no time capitalizing on the opportunity. The buildup to these console releases isn’t just about Microsoft’s PR struggles, but also the way Sony successfully turned that tide of opinion thoroughly in its own favor. Remember that video about sharing games on the PS4? It showed a kind of direct communication that can be rare in a world of corporate PR.
Of course, all that back and forth may just be gravy on what has arguably become the primary difference between the two consoles: the PS4 is $100 cheaper. The Xbox One costs more because of its built in Kinect 2.0 sensor, but I’m not sure that has yet been sold well enough to make up for the difference.
The Reuters article mentions a shrinking videogame industry, citing the fact that 64 percent of respondents were not planning on buying any new gaming hardware this holiday season. I’d argue that 36 percent of a randomly selected group planning on buying any one sort of consumer product is actually a fairly impressive number. The console industry has struggled in recent years without any new systems to sell anyone, but there are still a whole lot of console gamers out there, as the recent release of GTA 5 proved.
The survey also showed a lot of excitement for Activision’s upcoming “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” as well as continued excitement for “GTA 5,” which launched earlier in the month to make $1 billion in sales in just three days, and is sure to continue to perform well throughout the holiday season.