After last week's 'Battle of the Specifications' between Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Sony's PlayStation 5 next-generation consoles, game research firm DFC Intelligence shared an updated note on the upcoming console war's outlook.
Ten days ago, they revealed their analysis that one or even both systems may be delayed into 2021 due to the supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This time they were more focused on which console has the pole position. Long story short, they believe the Xbox Series X will make a dent (how big will depend on the strength of the output from the new Xbox Game Studios) into the market share Sony earned with the PlayStation 4, but ultimately the PlayStation 5 should still be the best-selling system of the two.
In this battle of the engineers, Microsoft arguably came out on top. However, long-term DFC still believes the PlayStation 5 will be the best-selling system.
Both Sony and Microsoft have the luxury of knowing that initial demand for their systems will outstrip supply. DFC is currently forecasting that due to coronavirus both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will ship in very limited quantities in 2020. There is the possibility they could be delayed into 2021.
Nevertheless, the initial launch is key to determining the long-term reputation for a hardware system. The Xbox One had a strong launch due to its core base, but even on launch date the PlayStation 4 was widely perceived as the better product.
Right now, Sony and Microsoft are being abundantly cautious. Microsoft has had limited success marketing to a wider audience, so they are determined to focus on the core tech base and some key brands.
Sony’s mass market penetration and perception is far less than it was in the heyday of the PlayStation 2. However, they have a key advantage in software, consumer recognition and global distribution. For the next few years, this advantage will probably be insurmountable for Microsoft and Xbox Series X.
Several months before the launch of the PlayStation 3, DFC Intelligence wrote an article entitled “Could Sony Go from 1st to Worst?” This was a highly controversial position given the success of the PlayStation 2. However, the analysis proved accurate.
Right now, DFC does not anticipate “First to Worst Part 2.” However, we do think Microsoft will start to chip into the PlayStation 4 market share. However, much of this will depend on the strength of the offerings from Microsoft’s newly acquired studios.
In case you wish to read the full report, it is available here - for the price of $995.