Judged by cumulative sales alone, the Nintendo Wii was the big winner of the seventh-generation console wars, with a whopping 100 million units unloaded between 2006 and today. (Things don't look so sunny for Nintendo's follow-up, the Wii U.) But if opening day results are any indication, the eighth-generation may belong to the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4.
A week after the PS4 posted first-day global sales of 1 million units, Microsoft duplicated the feat, selling 1 million Xbox One consoles in the first 24 hours the device was on sale. In a blog post, Microsoft called it "the biggest launch in Xbox history," and a "new record" for the Washington-based company.
Of course, as Eric Johnson of All Things D points out, you can't really stack up the PS4 sales against the Xbox One sales without noting an important caveat. The PS4, he writes, "debuted in just two countries last week – the United States and Canada – while the Xbox One launched simultaneously in 13 markets: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US." Apples and oranges, in other words.
The Xbox One, which was released late last week, has received generally positive marks from critics, although a fuller verdict will likely emerge only after the device has been on shelves for a while. (The launch day game list includes just a handful of Xbox One-only titles, alongside a range of big-budget spectaculars, from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag to Call of Duty: Ghosts, that also appear on the Xbox 360 and other consoles.)
"Today, the Xbox One is a great gaming console with a few great games – Zoo Tycoon and Forza are both excellent, better than anything currently available for the PS4, and Dead Rising is a blast even if it’s flawed," writes the team at The Verge. "Whether or not the Xbox is better than the PS4 is entirely subjective: if you're committed to buying a console this holiday season, buy the one with the games you want. It's too soon to make a call on almost any other feature."
Of course, the Xbox One is retailing for $499 – pricey, especially when you consider that you'll want to purchase at least one or two $60 titles along with it.