The console war between Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 has looked like a done deal for quite some time, with the PlayStation 4 regularly outselling the Xbox One for about a year, but now Microsoft is reporting that the Xbox One outpaced the PlayStation 4 in the month of July, so is the battle back on?
“We’re honored that Xbox One was the best-selling console in the U.S. in July, and that total gaming hours on Xbox consoles globally were up 18 percent over last year, reaching 1.55 billion hours,” Mike Nichols, head of Xbox marketing, said in a statement provided to GamesBeat.
— 7zeros (@7zeros1) August 13, 2016
Microsoft’s no doubt elated sales press release came on the heels of tracking company NPD’s revelation that the Xbox One had outsold the PlayStation 4 last month. As Time recently noted, Microsoft hasn’t managed to beat the PlayStation 4 since October 2015, when Halo 5: Guardians launched. Prior to that, April of 2015 was the last time the PlayStation 4 came in anything other than first.
Sony has been the solid leader in this generation of the console race, so what happened to the PlayStation 4 in July? The answer appears to be a combination of factors. July is usually a slow month for gaming hardware and software sales, so both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One likely saw an overall slump in units moved. Also, Microsoft has been pretty aggressively slashing prices for the Xbox One, with a new unit selling for around $250. The PlayStation 4, however, tends to start about $50 higher, as Sony hasn’t looked to cut prices to spur unit sales.
This week on PlayStation Store: Bound, Grow Up, new Hitman DLC, more: https://t.co/Gs3S9NqaxO
— PlayStation Blog EU (@PSBlogEU) August 16, 2016
Overall, Microsoft could see a few months of better competition for its console versus the PlayStation 4, given that the new Xbox One S launch is coming up and the company has a number of exclusives in the pipeline. Still, the PlayStation 4 has No Man’s Sky, a PS4 and PC exclusive, to help it move units, so Microsoft may not be making too much of a dent in the PS4’s lead unless there is a sustained sales turnaround.
Meanwhile, Sony isn’t sitting still on its 40 million-unit PlayStation 4 install base. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Sony is hard at work on the PS4’s upcoming 4.00 update. Codenamed “Shingen,” the update will roll out soon for PlayStation 4 owners included in the public beta program. A post on the PlayStation Blog showed off the new system UI, Quick Menu updates, sharing options, and more.
— TechnoBuffalo (@TechnoBuffalo) August 16, 2016
The UI refresh for PlayStation 4.00 will include changes both big and small. PS4 4.00 Shingen will bring new system backgrounds and a revised What’s New tab for users, but there will also be smaller changes like updated popup notifications and redesigns of system icons.
The Quick Menu PlayStation update adds a number of new items, allowing users to check out information without going back to the PS4 home screen. Users will be able to check out their friends’ online status and access Party, Group, and Community settings as well from the PS4’s new, customizable Quick Menu.
The PlayStation’s Share Menu will also be seeing some changes in the PS4 4.00 update. The new PS4 Share Menu will cover only a portion of the screen, and it will save the last social network a user posted to, making it easier to repeatedly share screenshots and videos. PS4 4.00 users will also be able to upload 140-second clips to Twitter, as opposed to the 10-second limit previous versions allowed.
The new update will also have improvements for folders and library organization, as well as Trophy display improvements. PlayStation 4 owners who are included in the public beta should be getting emails with instructions on how to download PS4 4.00 in the near future.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]