PS4 Outguns Xbox One and Google Drubs Apple TV in Sales

The ‘connected TV devices’ market reveals some surprisingly clear winners

The Sony PS4
The Sony PS4 sold more than twice as many Xbox Ones in the third quarter of 2015.

Two of the most hotly contested consumer electronics spaces right now are video game consoles and external ‘smart TV’ boxes/dongles like the Apple TV and Google Chromecast. The latter area, in particular, has entered a ferocious new round of competitiveness in recent weeks with the launch of a raft of new devices from most of the biggest players. 

Despite the seemingly feverish level of rivalry, though, global sales figures across the gaming and digital media streamer parts of the AV industry in the third quarter of 2015 - as reported by key analyst Strategy Analytics - show that there are clear leaders in both sectors.

Sony clearly ahead in the console 'war'

Where games consoles are concerned, Q3 sales of Sony’s PS4 more than doubled those of Microsoft’s Xbox One - a fairly nightmarish result for the Xbox One that makes it hardly surprising Microsoft has decided to no longer publish its own sales data for its console. 

It should be stressed that Strategy Analytics does make the point that Microsoft has the potential to narrow the sales gap via good bundling and potentially aggressive pricing in the run up to Christmas. And the Xbox One does, arguably, edge the PS4 in terms of high quality exclusive titles over the festive season. It’s pretty hard to imagine, though, that anything less than a borderline suicidal level of Xbox One price reduction could get even close to turning round the current 2:1 sales deficit against the PS4.

Google on top of the world

Shifting focus to the external smart TV box/dongle market, the runaway victor is Google’s Chromecast.

Over the third quarter of the year it nabbed a massive 35% market share - not far off double the share of its nearest rival, the Apple TV (20%) and more than double the market share of Roku TV and Amazon Fire TV, both of which claim 16% each.

It’s not clear whether the Chromecast’s sales advantage comes from its dongle gateway approach chiming with the needs of more consumers or from its considerable price advantage over its rivals.

Also, it’s important to realise that since the latest sales figures reflect the third rather than fourth quarter they do not take into account all the new products - the 4th generation Apple TV, 2nd generation Amazon Fire TV and new 4K-capable Roku box - that have launched into the sector over the past couple of months.  

Will 4K make a difference?

It will be fascinating to see whether the arrival of 4K streaming on the Amazon and Roku devices improves their market share, and to see whether Apple’s most serious and hyped Apple TV yet can persuade more people that Apple apps really are the future of TV. 

The likelihood is, though, that it will probably require a combined surge from all of the other contenders before Chromecast’s lead gets completely eaten away. Watch this space.

While the Xbox/PS4 and Chromecast/Apple TV sales figures are the most eye-catching findings from the new Strategy Analytics report, there is one other stat that’s worth recording here. Namely that there’s also a very dominant player in the world of connected TVs (TVs with built-in ‘smart’ systems that can be connected to the internet).

Samsung takes the Smart TV crown

That dominant player is Samsung, which remarkably holds a 25% share of the connected TV market across the world, despite increased competition from the arrival of the Android TV smart platform on televisions from Sony, Sharp and Philips.

The impact of these three Android ‘supporters’ has, though, helped Android TV capture around 8-10% of the overall third quarter smart TV market.

One last important figure to take from the Strategy Analytics report mentions is 17%. This represents the impressive annual growth of the Connect TV Devices category (including smart TVs, Blu-ray players, games consoles and digital media streamers) in the 12 months since Q3 2014.