PS4 vs. Xbox One vs. Nintendo Switch: Which Console Actually Won?

Well, the dust has all but settled on the last generation's console wars. Now, we have a new generation of consoles to contend with, and all the bells and whistles they bring. Or, at least, we would do if we could actually get our hands on some stock.

So, now that we've entered the next gen, which console actually won the last console conflict? The innovative Nintendo Switch? The steadfast Sony PS4? Or Microsoft's magnificent Xbox One? Let's drill down.

Which Console Won the Last Generation's Console Wars?

In the interest of fairness, this analysis won't consider things like how good a particular console's games are, or a console's specifications. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all went head to head in a war where the only thing that matters is how many units you sell and how much money you make.

So, while the PS4 might have better graphics than the Nintendo Switch, or Game Pass Ultimate might be better than PlayStation Plus, these factors aren't something we'll include in this article. Instead, we will look at statistics that show in black and white which console performed better. For this reason, the sole category we'll be using for this analysis is console unit sales since launch.

Anyway, without further ado, let's find out which console eventually won.

The Sony PlayStation 4

Sony released the PS4 on November 15th, 2013. It is (as the name suggests) the fourth iteration of Sony's popular home console. During its time since release, the PS4 went through several changes, with variations on the original console seeing release. These included upgrades like The PS4 Pro, which allows for 4K gaming and features twice the GPU power of the standard edition of the device.

Upon launch, the PS4 sold 1 million consoles within the first 24 hours of sale, which is an impressive feat on its own. This is the figure for the US alone; the console sold 250,000 units in the UK at launch, in just 48 hours.

In the eight years since Sony launched the console, it became the best-selling console of all time. According to the latest figures from, the PS4 sold 144 million consoles in its life cycle, prior to the release of the PS5 in November 2020.

These impressive figures may well be enough to seal the PS4's victory in this article, but let's look at how the other two consoles fared first.

Related: Factors To Consider Before You Choose to Play a Game on PS4 or PS5

The Microsoft Xbox One

Microsoft followed up on Sony's PS4 launch soon after, releasing the Xbox One (its third console) on November 22nd, 2013 in North America. The Xbox 360 had proven to be a genuine competitor to the PS3, so one might expect Microsoft to continue this trend with the Xbox One.

However, this was not to be. At least, as far as we can tell. Microsoft has always held its cards close to its chest in terms of sales figures, and it actually stopped reporting Xbox One console sales back in 2015, according to an IGN article. It did the same with the release of the Xbox Series X; it wouldn't give away the sales figures for that console, either.

This being said, the same article tells us that, by the end of 2018 Microsoft had sold in the region of 41 million consoles. This figure is likely to have grown in the three years since so, in the absence of concrete sales figures from Microsoft, we'll make a conservative estimate of between 45-50 million Xbox One consoles sold in total.

So, in terms of sales, the Xbox One isn't the strongest of the three consoles, and those sales figures clearly don't place it as the winner in this analysis.

Related: Why Xbox Owners Should Be Excited About Xbox Cloud Gaming Coming to Consoles

The Nintendo Switch

Ah, the Nintendo Switch. Trust Nintendo to come along and complicate matters. How? Well, it is still selling the Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, and it has the Switch OLED on the way. All three of these models are likely to contribute to the overall Switch console sales figures (as they do now; the Nintendo Switch sales figures are a combination of the Switch and Switch Lite, and Nintendo doesn't separate the two consoles for statistical purposes).

According to its own statistics, Nintendo has sold 89.04 million Switch and Switch Lite consoles since launch in 2017/2019, respectively. However, as mentioned, Nintendo is still selling the Switch, and is bringing the updated Switch OLED console out, which will also contribute to unit sales.

With this in mind, it is entirely likely that sales figures for the Nintendo Switch console family will go up even more, and not by an inconsiderable number, either. Nintendo might complicate matters for now, seeing as it is still producing and selling what is, ostensibly, a last-gen console, but going from sales figures at the time of writing, it hasn't beaten Sony in this console war.

Related: Why the Wii U Really Failed, and How Nintendo Bounced Back

Which Console Won; PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch?

That depends on how you look at it. The Switch has sold almost 90 million consoles in four years. It took Sony nine years to sell 144 million consoles, cementing its position as the current best-selling console of all time.

Going off current figures, it is undoubtedly Sony and its PlayStation 4 console leading the charge. Microsoft didn't even get a look in with the Xbox One. However, given that Nintendo still has the unreleased Switch OLED to boost those console sales figures, we may well see it climb to the top of the console sales data.

It will be interesting to return to this analysis once Nintendo has had nine years of selling the Nintendo Switch. If we looked again in five years time, the figures above might well paint a very different picture.

However, for now, it seems a pretty safe bet to crown the PlayStation 4 as the winner of the last generation's console wars. With so many consoles sold since 2013, the PlayStation 4 is certainly the console that actually won.

Author: Ste Knight

Source: Ste Knight.” PS4 vs. Xbox One vs. Nintendo Switch: Which Console Actually Won?”. Retrieved From

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