PS5 Leads the Way with Record November

Posted on December 14, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Games, PlayStation, Xbox, PC gaming with 17 Comments

The U.S. video game industry experienced a record November in large part because of the high profile launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

“Consumers spent a November record $1.4 billion on new video game hardware, an increase of 58 percent when compared to a year ago,” NPD reported today. “Growth was driven by the launches of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles. Year-to-date hardware spending reached $4 billion, 34 percent higher than a year ago.”

While both consoles are effectively sold out, PlayStation 5 still led the pack in November and apparently by a wide margin, splitting the top spot with the Nintendo Switch. NPD says that the PS5 was November’s best-selling hardware platform “in consumer spending” while the Switch was the top seller by units. “Nintendo Switch has been the best-selling hardware platform in units sold for a record 24 consecutive months,” the firm added.

NPD doesn’t have too much more to say about Xbox. But it has plenty to say about the PS5.

“PlayStation 5 achieved the highest launch month unit and dollar sales for a video game hardware platform in U.S. history,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella said. “The records were previously held by the PlayStation 4, which debuted in November 2013.”

PS5 also led the way with peripheral sales in November, NPD says, with “Sony’s DualSense Wireless Controller White achieving the highest launch month unit and dollar sales for a gamepad in U.S. history.” Overall, the industry sold $314 million worth of video game peripherals in the U.S. in November, a gain of 8 percent year-over-year.

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Comments (17)

17 responses to “PS5 Leads the Way with Record November”

  1. darkgrayknight

    How many units were sold? I feel like I'm missing too much information to just believe the report, and there should be numbers for Xbox and Nintendo. How many units does Nintendo Switch sell each month?

    • mattbg

      In reply to darkgrayknight:

      Agree - this reads like NPD knows nothing about XBox metrics and are just talking about the two they have some data on.

      • chronocidal

        In reply to mattbg:

        On the flipside of this though, what's the reason they don't have Xbox data to compare to? It might be impressive, and not even bad by comparison, but the cynical side of me thinks that if Microsoft had numbers they wanted to report, we would have heard all about them.

  2. garumphul

    I have a One X through All Access and I'm close to the update window for a Series X.

    But why? There is literally nothing out there that takes full advantage of either Series boxes.

    All the hardware genius in the world doesn't matter for shit if you can't deliver a single game on launch day.

    I am absolutely sure that in time (3 years? more?) games on Series consoles will have definitively better performance than anything on PS5, but who cares?

  3. faustxd9

    I feel what is often overlooked is the fact that there are no Xbox series X/S available for purchase and scalpers are still getting top dollar. So why are so few people reporting that we just can't compare the two? If the channel was completely flooded on both sides then you can make evaluations of who sold more, otherwise it is all about who made more. That is a totally different argument.

    In any case, I don't expect the Xbox to outsell the PS5 unless the games or gamepass really resonates with new buyers. I think the Xs definitely gives them a foothold there but Sony has Japan pretty well locked down by now. We will have to see how it goes long term.

  4. johnmstark

    When there is competition -- gamers win with better games and better consoles... Lets hope that all current vendors continue to bring us great stuff.

  5. nbplopes

    PS5 is fresh and well cooked while XBOX Series X its just well cooked. Even if little better cooked in the high end is still not as fresh. The Series X low end ... well it’s not really even comparable.

    On another note, actual gamers already have a PC well equipped ... so choosing a Series X its fundamentally more of the same. On the other hand PS5 gives them more new content from inception and a fresh experience with both UI and controller.

    You really need to be an XBOX One console fan to jump on board of this one if you need to choose between one or the other. This, or if the mentality is still to bring your PC entertainment system to the living room ... something that is finally disappearing

    So all in all these results do not surprise me. Should I say, XBOX Series X is poised to loose this console battle from inception. I personally don’t see how it can win ... if Sony does not start shooting their feet like a maniac.


  6. noelt1955

    Maybe Microsoft realizes that the hardware isn't the main game. I remember being very proud of my first Transistor Radio, Sony Walkman/Discman, and tiny hard drive iPod back in the day, but those days passed. We always blame Microsoft for missing the opportunity. Perhaps on-line, cross platform/device gaming IS the opportunity?

  7. scovious

    Looks like holding off on using fully baked RDNA2 technology and deciding to not include the full tech stack in the PS5 allowed Sony to manufacture more consoles than Microsoft did in the 2020 Summer/Fall period. Congratulations Sony, lets see how that plays out for you in the long term!

    • toukale

      In reply to scovious:

      Microsoft will never sell more console than Sony worldwide. The Xbox will sell well in the US and that's about it. Sony will not only sell well in North America they will sell well worldwide and exceedingly well in Japan. That has been the case with every generation and this one will be no different.

  8. sammyg

    While I have no doubt believing the PS5 will probably out sell the Xbox, simply by the fact that the PS4 is sitting a user base with roughly 2.5x of that of the Xbox, I do think these numbers right now mean nothing.

    Both companies could have sold way more if they had them. Who knows who made more of them? Scalpers, more than ever, have impacted this launch which throws all kinds of wrenches in the works of calculating the real totals of hardware made and sold to actual consumers.

    I predict Sony will probably still win this round but I believe Microsoft will make a significant comeback.

  9. beckoningeagle

    How many of those units sold are still in the hands of hoarders?

  10. sykeward

    I wonder how well Xbox would have fared if there were actually any to buy besides from scalpers on Ebay. I was on the PS4 side this past generation and am looking to jump over to Series X + All Access and catch up on the games I missed last time around, but I can't even get on a queue to purchase one when they're available.

  11. dftf

    I had been thinking about doing a forum-post on this, but this article seems an appropriate place to comment instead.

    What do people think about the current console strategies/options?

    SONY has two PS5 consoles, one with an optical-drive, and one without. This makes it a simpler choice, I think: if you don't have a previous-library of games, or are happy to continue using your PS4 to play them, the discless is cheaper up-front. Though I do wonder why they bothered to make two variants and not just make one, and then sell an external, USB optical-drive as an official accessory (or do what they did on the PS2 and have a bay where one could be installed internally).

    MICROSOFT have the Series X, aimed at higher-end gaming, and the Series S, for lower-end gaming, with a bigger price-difference than the PS5 models. Yet the cheaper "S" model lacks an optical-drive (so poorer people cannot play their old games, and would have to buy them again; yet people who could afford to buy them again, with an "X", do get an optical drive -- odd way-around, I think) and the "S" model also has less on-board storage, and if they were to buy the expansion-card the total-cost is then the same as buying an "X" anyway. So I think the "S" should at-least have-come with the same on-board storage as the "X", and an external optical drive should be an option.

    NINTENDO have the Switch, and when you shove it into the Dock games run at higher-resolutions and framerates. I'm unsure how the future will go for Nintendo. I always foresaw at some-point they'd simply merge the handheld and TV-console lines into one device, which the Switch sort-of did (though I always pictured just a handheld: no Dock). But given how powerful some iOS/Android phones and tablets are, and that Nintendo never tend to be one to chase specs, I wonder if their lower-powered devices will eventually suffer as comparisons continue to be made, or if their IP remaining mostly-exclusive to their devices (things like "Super Mario Run" aside) will be enough to keep users locked-in? Or will they eventually go the way of SEGA and either just create games for other consoles, or move to a server/cloud streaming-service (similar to xCloud or Nvidia Shield) where you can play on any supported device, but it streams the games, rather than them making native ports?

    • sammyg

      In reply to dftf:

      "and an external optical drive should be an option."

      The last game I bought on a Disk was BF4 on my launch day PS4. In fact I think it was a bundle I had to buy. I have zero need for the disk drive and I will never use the one on my XSX, like I never did on my X1X.

      It is 2020, I stream or download everything (movies, TV shows, games, software etc) and have been for at least 5 years, heck probably 10 years for computer software, same for phones, tablets etc.

      Microsoft or Sony maybe should support some form of bring your own disk drive via USB but for them to make and sell an external optical drive is a complete waste of time and money.

      • Saarek

        In reply to sammyg:

        I tend to buy my games on disc because I can complete and sell it on. I also tend to wait 3 months for the inevitable drop in price.

        Example, I paid £30 for Red Dead 2 and 6 weeks later I sold it on eBay for £25. Why would I pay £50 on Xbox live, just doesn't make fiscal sense.

        When buying a digital game does make sense is when it's in the sale and is usually 2 years or more old. Witcher 3 GOTY for £10 was a steal, got the game plus all the DLC. I'd not played any of the DLC as it was obviously not out when the game first launched and I can see myself playing it again in the future seeing as I spent around 30 hours on the first play through and then around 50 hours on the second play through!

  12. sammyg

    In reply to Dan:

    Waaaaaaaaaaay to early to determine that.

    A year from now when the developers are writing games for the Xbox Series S/X and PC that use Direct X 12+ that can call RDNA 2 hardware features that the PS5 does not have it could make a difference. Developers are just putting their toe in the water with ALL focus on selling games to the last gen right now.

    The XSX already has more powerful, just barely but if utilizing the hardware more, via RDNA 2, help even more that gap grows.