One million, Sony. One million, Microsoft. The battle of the latest generation video game consoles has kicked off with the the Xbox One releasing worldwide on Friday midnight, exactly one week after Sony launched PlayStation 4. Both the companies claim to have sold one million units of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 within 24 hours of launch, but Microsoft has gone a step further by saying the Xbox One is out of stock in major retail stores and even at majority of Microsoft Stores.
The Xbox One sells for $499 but there is also an offer for a $700-bundle that comes with the hardware, one-year warranty, one-year Xbox Live Gold membership, and two video games. Ground shipping of the unit is free for gamers who can bear a three to seven-day wait, a next-day delivery will cost consumers $16.99, while those willing to wait for two days need to shoulder $9.99.
"Xbox One is Biggest Launch in Xbox History: More Than One Million Consoles Sold in less than 24 hours," tweeted Director of Programming for the Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live, Larry Hryb aka Major Nelson.
Xbox One is Biggest Launch in Xbox History: More Than One Million Consoles Sold in less than 24 hours http://t.co/1jqxs0hlMT
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) November 23, 2013
"We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around the world," said Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, Xbox. "Seeing thousands of excited fans lined up to get their Xbox One and their love for gaming was truly a special moment for everyone on the Xbox team. We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles and look forward to fulfilling holiday gift wishes this season."
Alongside the Xbox One, 22 game titles were made available for the launch. Most of these games are available online, giving Microsoft the opportunity to monitor the servers and have an idea how fans are enjoying their games.
In a PC World report, Microsoft disclosed that as of Friday, over 60 million zombies have been wiped out in the "Dead Rising 3" game, 8.5 million enemies have been conquered in "Ryse: Son of Rome," and almost four million miles have been covered by gamers in "Forza Motorsport 5."
While the initial reception of the market to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is very warm, it is not clear if it can sustain the demand long-term as the video game industry struggled in recent times with onslaught of smartphones, tablets, and social media games.
"We've lost some gamers into other things," said Gamestop top executive Paul Raines in an interview.
According to research firm NPD Group, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will be competing in a game console market that has shrunk by as much as 32% between 2008 and 2012.
"We expect that the launches of Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony PS4 will continue to fuel consumer excitement and spending for games heading into the holiday season," NPD said.
It will be a strategic battle between Sony and Microsoft with the former branding the PS4 as a game-centric device while the latter plans to conquer the living room with the Xbox One as center of home entertainment.
Sony is hoping to sell at least 5 million units of PlayStation 4 by the first quarter of 2014. Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson predicts that both video game consoles will be able hit three million sales by the end of 2013.