The record-setting sales rate of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One make the current console generation the fastest-selling in modern gaming history. A few years ago, it was believed that console gaming was withering away in the face of rising opposition from mobile titles, specifically in the age of smartphones. That all changed when the "next-gen" systems were revealed and subsequently released in 2013 - the first time that both a PlayStation and Xbox system were released not only in the same year but in the same month as well.
PS4 and Xbox One both hit store shelves in November 2013, and while Sony went on to top Nintendo on the sales charts for the first time in eight years, Microsoft struggled in large part due to their conflicting policies and "sub-par" components. However, the Xbox One started to catch up in the sales in recent years following the release of the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X (formerly known as Project Scorpio), which is heralded as "the world's most powerful console." And now, the combined sales for both systems have set a new record.
According to NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, the combined sales for the PS4 and Xbox One in the U.S. have surpassed the consolidated sales for PlayStation 2 and Xbox by 4 percent to become the fastest-selling console generation in gaming history. Moreover, the current generation exceeds last-gen (PS3 and Xbox 360) sales by 18 percent. Both percentages were determined by looking at sales for the respective systems within their first 50 months of release.
??US NPD HW - Combined sales of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One continue on a record-setting pace. Over the first 50 months in market, the combined hardware installed base of the PS4 and Xbox One now exceeds that of the PS3 and Xbox 360 by 18%, and that of the PS2 and Xbox by 4%.
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) January 18, 2018
At the moment, up-to-date hardware sales for the PS4 and Xbox One aren't known to the public, but Sony did recently mention that they've sold through (to retail stores) at least 73.6 million PS4 units globally as of the end of 2017.
This news comes on the heels of the Nintendo Switch becoming the fastest-selling console in U.S. history by selling more than 4.8 million units within its first 10 months of release. While those numbers weren't factored into the NPD's calculations, it only further proves that the current generation of video game consoles has exceeded past generations, even topping the Nintendo Wii, which set numerous records when it first hit store shelves in 2006.
Considering that console gaming was supposedly on the verge of collapse in 2012/2013, the new sales record goes to show that as long as there are quality games being released on platforms that can continue to push boundaries, there will always be a consumer base for console gaming.