The Xbox One outsold the PlayStation 4 in July, says Microsoft, a newsworthy feat because it hasn’t happened in eight months. Microsoft’s flagship console last surpassed Sony’s in October 2015, propelled by sales of Halo 5: Guardians. Before that, you have to go back to April 2015 to find an Xbox One win.
The kicker is that these July figures are vanilla Xbox Ones, not the newer slimline Xbox One S Microsoft began selling on August 2 (read TIME’s review here). Sales tracker NPD, which is who Microsoft is citing here, only counts fulfilled orders, so preorders for the newer model don’t factor in July’s sales.
It remains unclear where that leaves Microsoft’s install base against Sony’s. Sony and Microsoft have each played shell games with unit sales for years, taking turns trumpeting specific figures based on their relative positions at the top. Sony routinely updates its figures, thus we know that as of May 2016, it’s sold roughly 40 million PlayStation 4s. Microsoft, by contrast, put Xbox One sales at 10 million units in November 2014. Electronic Arts appeared to put that figure as nearer 20 million at the close of 2015, but that’s based on speculative subtraction.
A console’s install base matters. You need only glance at Nintendo’s beleaguered Wii U to see what happens when a concept doesn’t take and third parties aren’t there to prop things up by pandering to a demographic base. That said, sales of the Xbox One have often been reported as in excess of the Xbox 360’s, respective of each system’s place in its lifecycle from launch. So some of this may be down to how you define success.
On August 23, Microsoft’s less expensive Xbox One S models roll out—500GB and 1TB models for $299 and $349 respectively (the current 2TB model runs $399). And yet this is also No Man’s Sky month, one of 2016’s most anticipated games, exclusive to PlayStation 4 and PC (read TIME’s review here) and therefore a likely system-mover. Stay tuned, in other words.
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