Despite continuous sales from the Black Friday weekend through the end of the year, Xbox One was still outsold by PlayStation 4 in December in the U.S.
And I’m honestly a bit surprised by that. It was very clear that Microsoft had hoped to continue its late 2016 winning streak through the holidays, given how steeply it discounted its flagship console.
But that did not happen. The NPD Group—which I know from my sources is Microsoft’s trusted source for retail sales data in the United States—says that the PS4 came out on top. Actually, the PS4 came out on top in November, too, so Sony won the holidays.
If there is a silver lining in all this—and you know me, I’m always looking for the good news in that pile of shit—it’s that Xbox One somehow outsold PS4 over the second half of 2016. This means that Microsoft’s consecutive wins in July, August, September, and October had a nice impact. And that even though Xbox One didn’t win November or December, it still did quite well.
Microsoft confirmed as much when it responded to the NPD revelations.
“December was the biggest month ever for Xbox One sales in the U.S., and Xbox One was the only [current-generation] console with year-over-year growth, according to NPD,” the Microsoft statement notes. “In addition, Xbox One was the top-selling console over the second half of 2016, following the announcement of Xbox One S at E3.”
That is a much more positive outcome than the entire two and a half year period that preceded the second half of 2016. If I’m not mistaken Xbox One came out on top in only two of those 32 months. But it won 4 of the last 6.
By the way, Sony announced last week that it has now sold over 53 million PlayStation 4 consoles. I had hoped that if Microsoft had had a strong enough quarter, we’d get some hard numbers, but given these results, I don’t expect that.