For many months of this generation's console race, the question of the winning console was a foregone conclusion; Sony’s PS4 held a commanding lead for a long time. But Microsoft has seen a surge in sales in recent months, leading to its place as the top-selling console for the latter half of 2016.
Microsoft reinforced that strong market position with a statement that released today. In it, corporate vice president for Xbox marketing Mike Nichols made a case for the console’s ongoing success. “December was the biggest month ever for Xbox One sales in the U.S. and Xbox One was the only eighth generation console with year-over-year growth, according to NPD,” Nichols notes. In addition, he cites that Xbox Live engagement hit an all-time high in November and December of 3.9 billion hours, which is up 23 percent compared to 2015.
As of now, the statement has to stand on its own, as NPD has yet to release its full report about December 2016 industry sales (Microsoft's statement does not explicitly say that the Xbox One outsold the PS4 in December). We’re expecting that info next week, and we’ll report on any important details the report contains as soon as we analyze its contents.
Some have suggested that Microsoft’s recent Xbox One sales reflect that many gamers already have a PS4, and that the recent surges reflects many purchasers buying a second console. But no matter how you cut it, strong sales are a good indicator for Microsoft, and indicate that the Xbox business is far from stagnation.