Can We Officially Say That PlayStation is Back On Top?

Now that we're more than 8 months into the new generation, can we say PlayStation has reclaimed its crown?

No console will outperform the PlayStation 2. It's just not possible.

The market has radically changed since Sony's second machine completely dominated the gaming world for a good six years (and it continued to sell exceedingly well for several years after the PS3 launched). Microsoft has since established itself as a legitimate player.

The PS2 ended up selling over 160 million units. That's more than the Xbox, GameCube and Dreamcast several times over. I mean, that wasn't even a race. Had it been a race, Sony would've won by lapping the competition about ten times.

I have no illusions that the PS4 will do the same thing. No chance in hell, in fact. But is it safe to say the PlayStation brand is back on top now?

The PS4 led the Xbox One out of the gate and has yet to relinquish the lead

Despite the Xbox One's price drop - when Microsoft removed Kinect and made the price $399 - the system still couldn't manage to outsell the PS4 in this country. That's hugely significant because throughout the previous generation, the Xbox 360 totally owned the PS3. There were a few shining points for Sony's console, especially after the Slim was announced along with a price cut. And in terms of worldwide sales, the PS3 and 360 tally is just about even; somewhere around 80-82 million for each.

However, the 360 owned North America. Therefore, it was expected that while the PS4 might lead in the rest of the world, the Xbox One would still hold sway in the US. That hasn't happened yet, though, and that's worth noting. The global lead isn't immensely surprising, but the fact that Microsoft hasn't been able to outsell Sony in North America is surprising. 

It's not like the PS4 has produced a bunch of stellar exclusives, either. Those are yet to come and when they do, it seems the PS4 will extend its current lead.

The Wii fad is over, although the Wii U is staging a comeback

I think it's great that the Wii U is doing better (can't wait for Hyrule Warriors) but let's face it, the numbers are drastically different. The Wii shot out of the box and set records immediately, trouncing the 360 and PS3 just about everywhere. The Wii ended up selling 100 million but it hit that number quickly; in the last few years, you couldn't give away one of those things. Then, you couldn't really give away a Wii U, either. Hence, it has all the earmarks of a fad, which is what I called it from the start.

The PS4 sold more in a few months than the Wii U sold in its entire first year. Now, while the Wii U has recently outsold the PS4 in Japan, that's not true in North America or Europe, and I really don't see the Wii U catching the PS4 anywhere. So, given all these considerations, and the fact that the PS4 hasn't even started to shine yet, is it safe to claim that PlayStation has returned to the top?

The PS3 was never in the lead. I still say it was the best console out there, but when compared to the PS2, it was a gigantic step back. Now, to have reclaimed sole ownership of the #1 position in a console race is really something else. Wouldn't you say?

Featured Columnist

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.

Published Aug. 3rd 2014
  • Spyke_3447
    Can we? well you can, I mean no one is stopping you. But both next gen consoles are complete and utter shit which punished early adopters horribly.

    Ok, ok. I'll throw you a bone here...

    "X-box one was far shittier and filled with bad ideas, horrendous douchebag PR failures and overall was ever so infinitesimally less garbage, than the 'meh' ps4 release and it's legions of boring fucking sequels to pre-existing IP's that never excited anyone anyways"

    I always refer to yahtzee when it comes to this console lark.
  • Chai Chien Liang
    Forcing Kinect on customers was not a good idea at all and most of the Kinect games (except for the dancing games) were bad games
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    I see articles talking about sales numbers constantly. Not once have I seen a source to back up any sales numbers. Yes obviously PS4 is dominating the world, but I am just not convinced that it has any sort of significant lead in the US. I would expect Xbox One is behind PS4 sales in the US by a very very small amount. I want to say PS4 if probably what, 15% more sales world wide? I want to see numbers, because I don't think there is really a big difference in the sales.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    We don't know what the lead is in the US, but the NPD makes it plain that the PS4 wins each and every month. Regardless of the gap, that's extremely significant, especially in a month where the Xbox One price dropped.

    And no, the PS4 is ahead by a lot more than 15% worldwide. You can't give away an Xbox One in Japan, for instance, and PS4 typically outsells Xbox One by 2:1 and 3:1 margins in Europe. PS3 did, too; not much has changed on that front.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    I want to see those numbers officially published somewhere. Where I can trust the source. Not that I don't trust you, it's just I want to see numbers haha.

    Seeing the numbers for the 360 and PS3 has helped, you're right they are literally dead even, 82ish mil each. So for your claim that the PS3 would sell 2:1 and 3:1 means that the Xbox 360 outsold PS3 in the US by a margin of something like 4:1? That's epic haha.

    I have just found this,

    Wondering whether I can trust them as a source or not, but if they are right. Wow, nearly double the sales. There's no way that won't even out over the years though. I don't expect that 4ish million unit gap will get any bigger.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    Oh and! Did you even for a second guess that the Nintendo DS is only a few million away from cracking the PS2 sales? I really didn't think it sold *that* well. haha.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    NPD numbers? They're public; just go and look them up. They're the official sales tracking organization for the gaming industry in the US.

    And I didn't say the PS3 outsold the 360 by a 3:1 margin overall in Europe; I said there were periods where it did. And yes, the worldwide total is basically even, and only because the 360 crushed the PS3 in this region. We're the only country on earth stupid enough to allow MS to hold sway. ;)

    I'm not sure about the numbers in that link. It was reported a long time ago that the PS2 had passed 160 million, for instance, and the Xbox One has definitely sold more than 4.5 million. The PS4 has sold more than 8 million, too. It's probably more like 10 million to 6 million right now and that's darn close to 2:1.

    Compared to how the 360 smacked the PS3 last generation, that is a HUGE turnaround.
  • Marc_8609
    It's no mystery why Sony is back on top. Microsft got arrogant and obnoxious and totally flubbed last year's E3, and then followed that up with some amazingly assinine PR. Including blatantly LYING. All that, and a higher price than the more powerful alternative, the PS4.

    By contrast, Sony avoided any involvement in the DRM fad that developer's were salivating over, rejected the idea of blocking used games almost immediately, and focused THEIR E3 presentation on what gamer's REALLY wanted. Games.

    Imagine that. People buying a gaming console to actually play games and not stream TV??? Who'd have guessed?

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