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Tech Throwback: PlayStation Vs Xbox, A Brief History Of Rivalry

“PlayStation and Xbox to announce new consoles in 2020!” — December, 2019.

“Xbox launches next-gen Series X and Series S consoles today!” — 10th November 2020.

“PlayStation launches next-gen PS5 consoles today!” — 12th November 2020.


You will agree that if there was a perfect time to write about rivalry, it would be now. And what two rivals is worth our attention at this time but the leading console sellers, PlayStation and Xbox. In this article, we will not give a verdict on which is better. Instead, you will only learn facts about the two console makers.


Let us start from the beginning. PlayStation has its origin in Japan as a product of Sony Interactive Entertainment, a division of Sony, in December 1994. Meanwhile, Xbox was first released in November 2001, seven years later, by Microsoft. Neither of these two companies is the ‘founder’ of gaming console, the technology and idea existed even before the 1980s.


PlayStation enjoyed early success as its first console became the first game console to sell over 100 million units. In fact, it had released the PlayStation 2, its second console, before Microsoft’s Xbox made it to the market in 2001.


In fact, when Xbox began selling internationally by the middle of 2002, it faced competition from PlayStation 2, Sega’s Dreamcast and Nintendo’s GameCube. For the sake of comparison, the first Xbox sold 24 million units within four years while PlayStation 2 is still regarded as the best-selling home console of all time.

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PlayStation 2 sold so well that Sony kept releasing different versions of it; there was the Slimline PS2 after the original and then the rebranded version of both PS2 Slimline and PS2 ‘fat’ that came with a n Ethernet port.


After its initial start, Xbox 360 proved to be some sort of leveler. It came in 2005 and sold out completely in all markets except in Japan upon its release. Xbox 360 had shipped 78.2 million units by 2013. Yet, PlayStation was always ahead, its head start was proving quite useful. It launched the PS3 one year after Xbox 360, in 2006, and it had sold 80 million units worldwide in 2013.


In 2013, Sony went to market first before Microsoft with a new PlayStation console, the PS4. It launched in February that year and sold over 100 million units by 2019. Xbox One came in November 2013 but by 2019, its 46 million+ sold units was still nowhere near PS4’s.


Since releasing Xbox One, Microsoft has shipped Xbox One S and Xbox One X. Likely, the newer versions affected the sales of the original Xbox One. However, PlayStation has only released slimmer versions of the PS4 and no major consoles until 2020.


Now, both companies launched their consoles two days apart and they managed to keep them within the same price range. The success of the PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will likely depend on good old-fashioned marketing.


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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.

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