VGM, a company dedicated to market research, conducted a recent study in an effort to better predict the outcome of the pre-order battle between Sony’s PlayStation 5, and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S home consoles. The numbers are in, and it seems that Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda/ ZeniMax has yet to register in the consciousness of the mainstream consumer.
VGM conducted the study on September 23, 2020. There is a large margin for error here, as only 511 people were polled, and the announcement of Microsoft purchasing Bethesda was relatively new then.
As we will see further down below, the company did poll individuals about Microsoft’s monumental purchase, but considering that the purchase was announced only two days prior to the poll taking place, it is likely that the full effect of the news won’t be measured until we get some real hard numbers of console sales on this holiday season.
The sample of 511 people is quite small, smaller when you take into consideration than only 15% of these individuals were able to “successfully” pre-order a machine. Within this small sample size, 72% percent pre-ordered a disc drive based PlayStation 5, and 30% an Xbox Series X.
These numbers are close to what was expected (the sales ratio) before Microsoft announced the historic Bethesda/ZeniMax purchase. Sony has the upper hand, as much of the success of its PlayStation 4 is expected to carryover into this generation.
Still, a considerable 63% of those polled said that they didn’t know about the Microsoft’s ZeniMax/Bethesda purchase. If the market study were to be conducted today, I would favor Sony to come out on top, but not by such a wide margin.
29% of those polled were not able to secure a console when they attempted to pre-order their console of choice. This means that out of the 511 individuals polled, 15% percent were able to do so, and almost twice as many couldn’t. Among those that couldn’t pre-order a console, 58% wanted the premium PS5, and 40% an Xbox Series X. Only 21% percent wanted the all digital PS5, and only 11% wanted an Xbox Series S.
These numbers paint a more competitive picture for Microsoft’s next generation console. What’s interesting here, is the fact that both the discless PS5, and the Budget Xbox Series S, underperformed by a large margin.
PlayStation CEO, Jim Ryan, seems (at least based on this poll) to have been proven right in his belief that watered down consoles do not perform well. Early on, at least, it seems like Microsoft will have hard time convincing people to nab an Xbox Series S, the underpowered machine can’t output at 4K, and we are in the midst of the 4K TV era.
The poll conducted by VGM shows a trend that clearly favors Sony, but Microsoft seems to be doing as good as Sony is in terms of its pre-orders selling out according to recent reports.
Sony winning the holiday race this year is something that Microsoft had to be expecting, after all, the PS4 keeps out the selling the Xbox One 4-5 to 1 on a consistent basis.
Until some of Xbox’s biggest hitters, like Halo Infinite, and the new Forza arrive, it is likely that the PS5 will out sell it on the strength of Spider Man: Miles Morales alone. Some new Bethesda exclusives wouldn’t hurt either, especially if they are included within its Game Pass service.