Sony surges ahead in console race

By David Prete

As the hustle and bustle of holiday sales dies down and retail stores return to their traditional hours, a solitary frontrunner has emerged in the entertainment console race of 2014.

Sony’s Andrew House broke the news Tuesday morning at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show when he revealed that the PlayStation 4 had sold more than 4.2 million units globally as of Dec. 28, 2013, officially eclipsing its closest competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox One, by more than 1 million units.

Although the PS4 was released a week before the Xbox One, the substantial margin between both brands has caught many experts and investors by surprise.

“There’s a lot you have to consider with these results, though,” said Andrew Patten, owner of local game shop Game Vault and a Weber State University philosophy major. “You have price, availability, some bad press, and Sony just came out the gates a little faster. I have some friends with PS4s and others with Xbox Ones, and I expect the race to be neck-and-neck all year.”

Patten was also quick to note that the statistics, while accurate, did not address the true global market. While the PlayStation 4 is available in 48 territories around the world, the Xbox One has only been released in 13, with neither brand currently available in the ever-important Japanese market.

“Availability is definitely an issue right now,” Patten said. “And there’s still a lot of people who are happy with their current consoles who don’t see the need for the latest technology. Once stores are restocked and exclusive games start arriving for both consoles, I’m sure a lot of people will make the transition one way or the other and we could see a new leader in just a few months.”

However, with a limited amount of games and apps available, many potential consumers remain undecided as updates and announcements continue to emerge regarding the future of both brands.

“While I’m not loyal to either company in particular, the decision to buy an Xbox One did take some deliberation,” said Andria Mares, a respiratory therapy major at WSU. “The Xbox One, even though it was more expensive, ultimately had the features I wanted and was the console that I felt pushed entertainment and gaming into the next generation.”

With both brands combining for more than 7 million units sold in a little more than a month, it’s still far too early to declare either a winner. However, being 1.2 million units behind will require Microsoft to be somewhat innovative in providing the games people want, while adding the features consumers deem necessary to make the Xbox One a more viable purchase.

“Right now you could say it’s like having an empty house,” said Alex Pritchett, a WSU philosophy major and Xbox One owner. “Sure, it’s a nice house, but wait until the furniture arrives and it becomes a really nice house. I can understand why some people are holding out, but I was ready to move in the minute the console was released.”