Microsoft doesn’t have any intention of revealing Xbox One sales numbers, as the company has decided to keep those figures under lock and key (Microsoft last gave an update in November 2014, when it had sold a total of 10 million Xbox One consoles). On the other hand, Sony has been trumpeting its PlayStation 4 sales numbers whenever possible. Sony last gave us an update on the PlayStation 4 in early January, indicating that it had sold 35.9 million consoles since it was first launched in late 2013.
Interestingly, Electronic Arts Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen filled in the blanks for us with regards to the Xbox One yesterday during the company’s earnings call:
Our estimate is 55 million units out there which has exceeded virtually everyone's forecast for the year and now almost 50 per cent higher than previous console cycle so, all of that is very-very positive, all the gameplay we're seeing and the engagement and things like Ultimate Team we're seeing is positive.
If we subtract the PlayStation 4’s 35.9 million from the 55 million estimates, that would put lifetime Xbox One sales at around 19.1 million. Given the wide gap between the two consoles, it’s understandable why Microsoft wants to remain mum about Xbox One sales.
Microsoft has pretty much already thrown in the towel and acknowledged that the PlayStation 4 has won this generation when it comes to console sales. When asked back in early October if the Xbox One could ever overtake the PlayStation 4 in sales, Xbox chief Phil Spencer responded, “You know, I don't know. You know, the length of the generation. They [Sony] have a huge lead and they have a good product.”
Spencer went on to add that Microsoft flubbed the lead-up to the launch of the Xbox One, stating, “[We] fundamentally lost... the trust of our most loyal customers. That perception that gets set early on, because consumers have five seconds to internalize your brand and your message and then they move on. They're not going to spend time to read what we say afterwards.”
The Xbox One’s poor sales performance in comparison to the PlayStation 4 isn’t stopping Xbox team from improving the console via software whenever possible. During the fall, Microsoft delivered its biggest update ever for the Xbox One, the New Xbox One Experience, which brought with it a Windows 10-infused UI makeover and and backwards compatibility with select Xbox 360 games (the list has grown to 130 titles in recent weeks).