Xbox One vs. PS4 vs. Wii U: How the Console War of 2015 Is Shaping Up
For over a year, we’ve been tracking this generation’s great console war between PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U. The numbers are in for January and February, so let’s dig in and take a look at what systems people are buying.
Console sales in 2014 were strong overall, with both the PS4 and Xbox One outpacing the companies’ previous consoles. That said, the PS4 has gathered more momentum than the other two and has maintained its place at the top of the best-selling list nearly every month of 2014. Xbox One sits comfortably in second place in overall sales at the moment, with the Wii U unable to get out of third place.
Last time we checked in, in December, the Xbox One outsold the PS4 in the U.S., thanks in large part to the $50 price cut Microsoft offered in hopes of strong holiday sales. But worldwide in December, VGChartz estimates that the Wii U sold 1,109,325 units, the Xbox One sold 2,284,298 units, and the PS4 came in first, with 3,204,402 units sold.
Which brings us to January. In the first week of January, Nintendo sold 49,534 Wii U consoles. Things worsened slightly for the Japanese company in the following weeks, when customers bought 41,969 units in Week 2 and 35,960 in Week 3. Week 4 saw a small improvement, with 37,239 units sold, for a grand total of 164,702 Wii U consoles sold in January 2015.
Microsoft fared better each week of January than Nintendo. The first week saw 89,206 Xbox One consoles sold. Weeks 2 and 3 remained steady at 72,898 units and 73,737 units sold, respectively. The fourth week was a little stronger, with 80,114 units sold, for a total of 315,955 Xbox One consoles sold.
Once again, the month belonged to Sony. In the first week of January, Sony sold 199,544 PS4 consoles. Sales weren’t quite as strong the rest of the month, with 161,507 units sold in Week 2; 148,600 in Week 3; and 161,949 in Week 4. The grand total of PlayStation 4 consoles sold in January came to a very respectable 671,600.
Even though it’s not a console, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Nintendo 3DS, which actually sold more units than the Xbox One in January. Sales declined gradually throughout the month, starting with 139,677 units in Week 1; 105,614 units in Week 2; 95,467 units in Week 3; and 89,898 units in Week 4. Despite the decline, Nintendo still managed to sell a surprisingly strong 430,656 Nintendo 3DS units in January.
The reason such strong sales are surprising is because Nintendo had already announced it was bringing the New Nintendo 3DS XL to the U.S. in February, which you’d think would deter buyers of the soon-to-be older hardware in January. It seems to have deterred them to some extent as the month progressed, but not by much.
For those counting at home, the PS4 came in first in January, followed by the Nintendo 3DS, the Xbox One, and finally the Wii U in fourth place.
In February, thanks in large part to the U.S. release of the New Nintendo 3DS XL, the 3DS ruled the roost, toppling PS4 from the No. 1 spot for the first time in a long time.
In the first week of February, Nintendo sold 95,146 3DS units, which is a small step up from the week prior. But the new hardware launched in the second week of February, which saw sales of the console skyrocket to 430,621 in that week alone. Things petered down a little in Weeks 3 and 4, which saw 284,303 and 207,268 3DS units sold, respectively. That means Nintendo sold a whopping 1,017,338 3DS units in February. Not bad for a month that’s not leading up to a major gift-giving holiday.
Sony came in second in February, selling 179,564 PlayStation 4 units in the first week of the month, then gradually selling more over the following two weeks, with 195,499 units and 253,717 units. Sony closed out the month on a strong note, selling 242,587 PlayStation 4 consoles in the fourth week, for a total of 871,367 units sold in February.
The next best-selling console in February was Xbox One once again, whose sales numbers remained steady each week of the month. Microsoft sold 101,702 units the first week; 106,119 units the second; 104,375 units the third; and 108,510 units the fourth week of February. Total Xbox One sales for February rang in at 420,706.
In last place once again was the Wii U, which had a remarkably slow performance in February. The first week of the month, Nintendo sold 42,177 units, followed by the month’s high-water mark of 52,995 in Week 2. Weeks 3 and 4 saw sales slip to 49,010 and 38,540 units, respectively. The Wii U’s grand total for February came to 182,722 units. Not great.
Nintendo appears to have seen the writing on the wall and has already hinted that it’s working on a new piece of hardware code-named NX, about which the company will have more information to share in 2016.
The year is young, but already the PS4 and 3DS are establishing themselves as the gaming hardware units to beat in 2015. How the rest of the year plays out will certainly be interesting, especially considering how thin Sony’s year-end lineup of games is looking.