Roughly one year ago, the refrain was constant: Consoles are dead. Gamers are instead flocking to mobile devices.
Not so fast.
Mobile sales are strong, certainly, but gamers are buying the new consoles at a pace that greatly exceeds the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era -- and it's showing no signs of slowing down.
“When combining life-to-date sales of Xbox One and PS4 after nine months, and comparing them to the combined totals of nine months of sales for Xbox 360 and PS3, sales of the newest consoles are larger than the prior generation by close to 80 percent," says Liam Callahan, an analyst with The NPD Group.
Sony has already sold more than 10 million PlayStation 4 units worldwide, making it the fastest selling PlayStation yet. Microsoft hasn't given recent sales numbers, but in April, it announced Xbox One sales have topped 5 million.
Neither company has broken down sales by country, but BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams, quoting ths month's newly released NPD data, said the PS4 and Xbox One have sold 3.8 million and 3.0 million hardware units, respectively, in the U.S. since their launch, making the race a lot closer domestically than many people might realize.
The news isn't all good for next-gen systems, though. While people are certainly buying the hardware at a tremendous pace, they've been less interested in the games.
Life to date, the tie-ratio (the number of software titles per system) for the PS4 and Xbox One is 2.9. At this point in the last generation, that number was 4.1. That's due in part to Sony and Microsoft offering fewer game bundles this time around, though muddying the waters is the new consoles’ focus on the ability to digitally download games. Downloadable game purchases aren’t tracked by the NPD.
Williams estimates that digital sales represent roughly one-fifth of games sold on the PS4 and Xbox One, and says he expects the tie-ratios to climb notably this holiday season as the first crop of true 'must have' games hits shelves.