Microsoft Corp said it sold more than 1 million Xbox One video game consoles in less than a day after the new machine went on sale in 13 countries.
The tally surpassed first-day sales for the predecessor Xbox 360 and set a record for Microsoft, the Redmond, Washington-based company said on Friday in a statement. The Xbox One went on sale in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and US after the company cut eight countries from the initial sales list, citing production issues.
Sony Corp said on Nov. 17 that it sold more than 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles in North America in the first day of release, topping initial sales for the PlayStation 3 in 2006. The PlayStation 4 goes on sale on Friday in 30 countries in Europe and Latin America, followed by Japan on Feb. 22.
The two companies are competing for the attention of gamers and trying to revive a console market that shrank 32 percent to US$13.3 billion from 2008 to 2012, according to market researcher NPD Group. Both are offering machines with upgraded graphics and more entertainment tie-ins. The Xbox One sells for US$499, while the PlayStation 4 is offered for US$399.
Microsoft, which has been pitching the Xbox One’s motion-sensing Kinect camera as a controller for all forms of living room entertainment, has focused its message on applications and exclusive content, including the games Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3, and an upcoming live-action TV show from Steven Spielberg.
Microsoft rose 0.5 percent to US$37.57 on Friday in New York and has gained 41 percent this year. Sony’s American depositary receipts fell 1.9 percent to US$18.30.
GameStop Corp, the largest specialty retailer of video games, said this week that 2.3 million customers are on its waiting list for new players from Sony and Microsoft.
After replenishing initial inventories, Sony and Microsoft each are expected to sell about 3 million consoles worldwide by the end of the year, according to projections by Michael Olson, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. in Minneapolis.
US sales of both physical and digitally delivered games grew 17 percent in the three months ended in September, the industry’s biggest gain since the second quarter of 2011, NPD reported on Thursday.
“We expect that the launches of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony PS4 will continue to fuel consumer excitement and spending for games heading into the holiday season,” NPD said in a statement.
Xbox fans lined up at consumer electronics shops to be among the first to get their hands on Microsoft’s beefed-up console that extends beyond gaming to online films, music, social networking and more.
“It’s a big upgrade, a big change,” said 23-year-old Jonathan Guerrero, who staked out a spot at the front of the line at a Best Buy electronics shop in Northern California 13 hours before the consoles went on sale a minute into Friday. “You are jumping from okay to super great.”
Hassan Ali, 34, said he queued to get an Xbox One because he has an ideal television for the rich graphics it pumps out. He described his set as a 3D, high-definition, smart television with a 65-inch screen.
“It’s kind of amazing that you can look at the game and it looks like real life,” said Ali, who spoke of loving video games since his first Sega device in 1985.