Microsoft has finally broken its silence on a sales figure secret its kept close to its chest for more than half a decade.
In a regulatory filing in Brazil related to its Activision Blizzard acquisition — a proceeding that's already revealed some explosive details related to the console gaming market — Microsoft finally admitted how badly the Xbox One lost to Sony's PlayStation 4.
“Sony has surpassed Microsoft in terms of console sales and installed base, having sold more than twice as many Xbox in the last generation,” admits Microsoft, as translated from Portuguese (via The Verge). Gaming news site Game Luster was first to report the filing. With its March 2022 final tally at 117.2 million units (Sony no longer reports PS4 sales), the PS4 ranks as one of the best-selling consoles of all time, while the Xbox One has sold fewer than 58.5 million units.
Microsoft hasn't reported sales figures of its Xbox hardware since 2016, at which point it was clear the sales gap between Sony's new console and the Xbox One, both released in 2013, had grown dire. Instead, Microsoft chose to focus on the number of Xbox Live accounts and spent the next few years focusing its efforts on building a more powerful Xbox, its Game Pass subscription platform and, eventually, the new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles.
Of course, Microsoft is in a much better position now than it was in the aftermath of the messy Xbox One launch and its years spent playing catchup to the PS4. Under Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, who took charge of the Xbox division starting in 2014, Microsoft has grown Game Pass to more than 25 million monthly subscribers, acquired dozens of new studios and invested heavily in forward-thinking initiatives such as cloud gaming and cross-platform play. New Xbox hardware is also performing much better and even outpacing sales of Sony's PlayStation 5 due to ongoing production shortages.
But for years now, players and analysts have wondered, how far behind did Xbox fall during the seventh console generation that spanned 2013 to 2020? Some analysts using independent data had estimated Xbox One sales to be around 50 million units, and now we know just how accurate those estimates were.