In September, a US consumer poll found PlayStation 4 comfortably leading Xbox One when it came to purchase intent. Sony's advantage on that front doesn't appear to be limited to the US, as research firm Interpret today released results from its semi-annual GameByte study of gamers in key markets.
Interpret found that PS4 purchase interest led the Xbox One across the board. While Sony would be expected to outpace Microsoft in Japan and a number of European countries, Interpret pointed out that the PS4 drew more purchase interest even in places where the Xbox 360 was a clear winner in the current generation.
"Purchase interest at launch does not directly translate into long term success," Interpret senior VP of research Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai told GamesIndustry International. "We all know what happened to the Wii, which had pretty low consumer purchase intent at launch. Many other factors will go into the long term success of a console including exclusives, perceived value, and increasingly the 'network effect' etc. However, these numbers provide a good indication of consumer interest at launch, a direct result of early marketing efforts and messaging effectiveness."
Cai said that Sony's clear messaging and showings at E3 and Gamescom have done well to build momentum for the PS4 worldwide, but the study's findings suggest the battle to bring in new customers to the PlayStation and Xbox ecosystems will be less one-sided.
"When we looked at whether these potential purchasers own a current-gen equivalent, it's interesting to see that in the US and UK, a larger percentage of PS4 intenders don't own a PS3, but in all other markets, a larger percentage of Xbox One intenders don't own the current-gen equivalent," Cai said. "In other words, in the two strong Xbox markets, US and UK, PS4 seems to be better positioned to attract new PS buyers or convert Xbox owners and in other markets, Xbox One might attract more fresh blood."
One more point of interest for Interpret was the next-gen consoles' performance in less traditional markets like Russia and South Korea. Gamers in both countries expressed unexpectedly high interest in the PS4 and Xbox One. Some 31 percent of Korean gamers were interested in buying the PS4, with 26 percent interested in buying an Xbox One. Those numbers were the highest of any country except the United States, which saw 48 percent interest in PS4 and 42 percent in Xbox One.