Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

Third of PS4 owners switched from Wii or Xbox

Nielsen study also says 17% had no previous console

A recent Nielsen study found that 31 per cent of PlayStation 4 owners already had an an Xbox 360 or Wii, but not a PlayStation 3. 17 per cent didn't have any of the old-gen consoles.

The study did not ask if any of that 31 per cent had owned a PlayStation in the past, but still suggested gamers were not die-hard brand loyalists when it came to upgrading their kit.

The data was provided to Re/code and the study took place between February and April and featured 1,200 gamers aged seven to 54.

Sony recently used Gamescom to let people know it had sold 10 million consoles worldwide.

"The 10m sell through in the first nine months is well beyond what we had hoped for," said Sony's Shuhei Yoshida in a recent interview.

"I'm asking marketing people to tell us why. They've been to people who already purchased, and some of the early data was amazing in terms of the number of people who didn't used to own PS3 have already purchased PS4. So we are getting lots of new customers coming into PlayStation. And some people never purchased any last-gen hardware: PS3, or Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii. So where did they come from?"

Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

More stories

New PlayStation update adds USB storage and cross-generation Share Play

PS5 owners will be able to save game data onto an external drive, but the games won't be playable from there

By Danielle Partis

PS3 was "a stark moment of hubris" - Layden

Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios chairman reflects on last generation's missteps and how the company changed course for PS4

By Brendan Sinclair

Latest comments (20)

Craig Burkey Software Engineer 7 years ago
Yeah, I'm one, I had both a Wii and 360 but no PS3, but to be fair I did have a PS1 and PS2 but skipped the PS3 in favor of the 360. I've also owned every home Nintendo console and still haven't ruled out a Wii U but think I'll wait on that score till a few of my favorite franchises get an outing(Zelda, Metroid, FZero, Starfox)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 7 years ago
I'm scratching my head as to why those 17% new console adoptees exist (perhaps some have switched over from PC?). What could the PS4 be offering over the PS3/360 that is compelling people to only now make the commitment to buying a console? As far as I can tell in terms of features and functionality the PS4 is still playing catch up with the PS3.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance7 years ago
I think if you went even further back, the trend probably show PS2 -> X360 -> PS4.

Just like hubris fresh off the success of PS2 pushed people away from PS3, hubris fresh off the success of X360 pushed people away from Xbox One. And in a way I am more upset with Microsoft than I am with Sony. Sony had no recent history to reference. Microsoft, after watching Sony stumble out of the gate with the PS3, should have known better, and tried to pull this nonsense anyway.

Just give the customers what they want.
6Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (20)
Craig Burkey Software Engineer 7 years ago
Part of me is wondering about the "17 per cent didn't have any of the old-gen consoles" and how it is defined. Personal ownership versus perhaps a family owned console, perhaps part of the puzzle is that in the last 7/8 years a generations of kids have grown up to warrant their own personal "first console", also HD displays are now the standard, that you find through out the house not just the one in the Living Room? Is it just that the PS4 is reclaiming the Bedroom?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Craig Burkey on 26th August 2014 4:21pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Anthony Chan7 years ago
I think this survey is illustrative of the understanding of the target markets Sony and Microsoft are trying to tap into. Both markets launched campaigns before the releanse of their consoles that were lambasted by the "hardcore" or "true" gaming community. They were accused of abandoning the core gamer in favor of wishy washy products that were all-in-one boxes with no dedication to actual gaming.

I think this survey hopefully shows that strategy might pay off. The only way Sony and Microsoft can make more money than before is to sell more consoles to a target market that is not the typical gamer. It's like the old sales adage of convincing people to buy things they do not need nor would normally buy.

This 17% for the first year is actually quite good. I hope Sony and Microsoft combined can keep pushing this eventually so the PS4 can be the jack of all trades box that sits under my TV (and hopefully the only one that sits under my TV).
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago


Many PS4 buyers did so as a political move, driven by Sony's propaganda campaign. The fury ramped up over DRM, paranoid fantasies about Kinect spying on you etc were out I. Place to defuse Microsoft's digital ecosystem Sony couldn't compete with that allowed you to sell and share your digital content. That's where the PC buyers came from. Of course, these same PC gamers are still all about the far more draconian steam, without whom you cannot launch a successful game, and who will ban you from your game library at the drop of a hat, with no phone number, or competent, accessible customer service agency to appeal to. Whether these people stick around, or go back to their computers remains to be seen.

The converts mostly fall into that camp, and those who were always going to buy both and voted who went first on price or manufactured outrage. The number of actual converts, those who will NOT buy an Xbox One who owned a 360 is relatively small, I think we all saw how many PS3s moved in the back half of the generation once the price came down.

Next year will be r real test of what the consumer wants, as both sides have compelling true next-gen titles on offer. There are a lot of people who are ready to upgrade to something, but without compelling experiences that give them a reason to, they're not buying in.

This week's announcement that the next-gen NHL game is missing all the modes people like cost them at least 3 sales in my circle of online friends alone. This is an industry wide "2915" problem where they're going. To lose another Christmas

Neither company should have launched last year IMO. Like it or not, those who reject the one box for all concept are the minority based on both MS and Sony's usage statistics. They're just really loud. The sheer number of idiots who spent $60 a year to watch. Netflix and didn't game online should tell the tale there. Anyone who thinks Microsoft isn't going balls to the walls this Christmas to push their exclusives advantage is fooling themselves. Unlike Sony, they have plenty of money to burn on it as a corporation, a and they have a lot of content partners to help them push systems outside the gaming ecosystem
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
Or perhaps some of these new console owners are COMPLETELY new owners who were too young to buy their own, looked at what was available when they wanted to make the plunge and made a choice?
6Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago

That's included in the price people. The same narrative played out again and again last Christmas. Parents saw $399 and $499 and bought $399

The same factor certainly helped. Nintendo sell the Wii, in addition to the gimmick. $399 vs $199 solid even more Wiis
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nick Wofford Hobbyist 7 years ago

While it burned MS, listening to your customers will only guarantee short-term success until the rug gets swept out from under you. To (allegedly) quote Henry Ford: If Id asked my customers what they wanted, theyd have said a faster horse.

Jeff's point about MS money is true. If anyone thinks they've got enough cash to outlast MS, they're crazy. The only advantage anyone can count on is something that MS can't buy. And Sony doesn't have many of those advantages on their side. Even the power difference is negligible as our TV's can only support 1080p right now, and no one's willing to jump to 4K for the rest of this console generation. I've seen reports that by the time consumer interest in a new TV reaches a viable level, 8K resolutions will be almost affordable. 4K may end up being the Vista of resolution.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Roberto Dillon Associate Professor, James Cook University7 years ago
"featured 1,200 gamers aged seven to 54" 7? Really?? I guess this explains where most of the 17% who didn't own a previous gen system come from. Surely they couldn't play with a PS3 or 360 4 or 5 years ago! ;)
I wonder why they got such young people in their sample: I wouldn't have interviewed anyone below the teenager threshold.

BTW, I'm also in the group who owned a 360 and wii last gen but got a PS4 now. Still waiting for this fall/next spring to get the games I'm most interested in, though.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago
Roberto, welcome to a variation in the push poll ;).

The most important thing to judge the validity of any poll is who was polled, and what exactly was the questions asked :)


Anyone who thinks 4K gaming is happening on these consoles, or any other platform in the next decade is fooling themselves. The average person in a living room sits 8-10 feet away from the television, outside the range where 4k makes a difference to the human eye on TVs less than 75" or so. The sheer expense and effort tomproduce true 4K assets on a true 4k game is about quadruple the work for a 1080p game, and while some PC games will scale thst high, they aren't really 4K any mire than a DVD is 1080p. I seriously question the viability, EVER of thst resolution, when 1080 level assets can be gussied up so nicely. You know those "one night only" movie screenings! Those signals are about 1080p, and very compressed, and I don't hear a lot of complaints from non-professionals (the temporal errors, they burn!) on a 50 foot screen. Halo and COD run at 540p, trust me, with up scaling, and throwing lots of effects in, no one will care, and you'll get the same number of satisfied people.

You'd be shocked at the number of companies that do nothing but build trees, bushes, generic buildings in various styles and genres. And if their stuff couldn't be bought, there's a lot of games that wouldn't exist due to the sheer time it takes to populate a hires works. And doing that at 4K for the sub-0.5% who will appreciate it! or ever even see the full res is frankly a little silly, given the huge expense. I
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance7 years ago
@ Jeff,

100% agree that a 4k argument is irrelevant for this. The 1080p argument is because its a genuine point of contention - the going narrative at this point seems to be that PS4 is consistently hitting 1080p and the Xbox One isn't. One may argue that this is irrelevant, but in that case, why buy a new console at all?


I am sure you are right that Microsoft has more money and is willing to spend it up. But unless they get wise on their messaging , it won't make a difference (and it might actually hurt them!). We just saw a great example with the Tomb Raider deal. The omission of a single word (timed) turned a successful acquision of a popular franchise into a media debacle. If marketing gets wise, Microsoft could pull this off... But they've had over a year to learn from mistake after mistake, and haven't learned yet.
4Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide7 years ago
What is the KPI of this generation? How much money you CAN or DO throw at YOUR ecosystem.. or .. how much PROFIT you generate?.. or some other indicator? In the end, what will actually define a WIN ?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Carl Hudson on 27th August 2014 5:35am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
It's not just the launch of the One, Microsoft have been alienating some of their userbase since the 360 kinect release, where they started cutting back on any 1st or 2nd party disc based games that weren't an established franchise (Halo, Fable Forza and GoW) or a Kinect game. Even then, they didn't step in for Bizarre dispite plenty of people being up for more Projct Gothem, and they shuttered Ensemble dispite Halo Wars being well received.

People who don't just play 2 series are able to look across at Sony letting Naughty Dog at the height of Unchared popularity, make "Last of Us" (Bungie seemed really dissatisfied that they were tied to Halo exclusively for their duration as a first party studio), and Media Molecule do something similar. They saw Heavy Rain. I never bought a PS3, but I have to say that the new games they introduced at the end of the generation have meant I'm more inclined to switch to Playsration.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago

The 1080 argument is more of a fanboy talking point than anything. Effective at the beginning if the generation with the hardcores, not so much on the backend with then general public who thinks LED and LCD are two different kinds of televisions :) by the time they're paying attention, it should be rather moot, as DX12 combined with the June SDK should take care of a lot. People also forget the cloud processing, which potentially, based on the demos may have end of cycle X1 games besting PS4. Am I saying this will happen? No, but the demos of how cloud computing can offload at least scripted events and AI characters is compelling, and it's certainly something MS is farther ahead on by a long shot. In my experience, when it comes to the masses, they're way more interested and able to detect lighting and effects difference than the difference between 900 and 1080. I've actually challenged a bunch of people claiming they can to a double blind test of 500 images, with $10 on the line they won't do statistically better than random chance. So far no takers :)

As far as the single word omission, that's again fanboy related. They misread, they don't understand, they freak, and Sony has professional shit stirrers who've been doing a bang up job for the last eighteen months to help get them going. Microsoft's biggest problem is that they're trying to be Blu- ray to Sony's HD DVD without the aces in the hole that make the desired end result inevitable that Blu had. Their biggest problem is that the people at the top that knew how to fight a console war are gone, Amazon stole their best engineers, and the people who remain are far more used to the business tech press, and not having their every word parsed by self-proclaimed experts.

Sony's fanboy fury is starting to burn out. The question is whether Phil Spencer is allowed to drop an
October surprise bomb, and give the kind of aggression they're going to need to get over the noise. It's not a messaging problem, it's an offense/defense problem. Sony has them so busy reacting thry can't get anything productive done.


The number of platform owner financed games decreases as the need to have flashy games to sell consoles, the technologies they help develop etc decreases. Those franchises are highly profitable and valuable. Kinect games were made because they needed software, and people working on the games from day one. Kinect doesn't alienate anyone. Investment in other studios projects that look promising is a lot more profitable, but if they're unwilling to share the IP, is rarely worth it.

Don't forget there's a lot of factors involved outside of "people want more". If that's the case, Microsoft would have financed Shnemue 3 years ago :)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago
I think everyone will find this interview with the Metro Redux developers interesting, especially relevant is where they talk about resolution

It sounds like there's a lot of overhead in the current DX11 APIs that is causing a lot of problems, the Kinect reservation wasn't that much of an issue, and that it's no wonder that CPUS have stalled out in the PC world. I'm just worried they're going to get some nasty phone calls from three NDA police :)

4 months to do that kind of major overhaul on. Metro on brand new hardware is pretty good. No wonder these remakes are coming out en masse. Not only are they teaching new hardware on familiar ground, but they keep revenue coming in while everyone waits for 2015 :)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd7 years ago
I'm scratching my head as to why those 17% new console adoptees exist
People born too late to have owned a console before this year.

People who have skipped one or more console generations.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance7 years ago

I totally agree that the average person could not tell the difference between 1080 and 900 in images and I'm sure that even the people who could would not be able to do so when those images are in motion. It's a neglible viewing experience overall.

However, that's completely beside the point.

For the majority of the current generation, Sony has been able to say that they 1) have the more powerful console, and 2) that it's cheaper. That's pretty hard to argue against, even with exclusives. So Microsoft cuts the Kinect, gains price parity. Performance parity is still not there, though. Now Sony gets to say that they are selling the more powerful console than their competitor at the same price. That's still a pretty strong argument.

Microsoft's messaging is a mess, you have to admit it. These "fanboy" arguments are still the compelling narrative of the console war. Sony is firmly on point from a PR standpoint, and it's making all the difference. None of what you or I think really makes a lot of difference - we're part of a very small group of informed professionals. What matters is what the public thinks, how they vote with their wallets, and they are increasingly voting for Sony.

You also have to look at the motivations behind buying into this current generation of consoles. Gameplay is the same. Most of the games (hello Redux and multi-gen releases) are the same. What you have left when you strip away all the noise is performance. It is my belief that people by and large upgraded for performance, to finally have a console which can take advantage of the television they blew up their credit card for.

Also, from a tech standpoint there is this. Sony's performance advantage is in the hardware. Sony's GPU is about 50% more capable than the Xbox One's GPU. Unless DirectX 12 comes with a hardware swap, I don't see how it will make up that kind of difference.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Steve Wetz on 27th August 2014 4:39pm

3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 7 years ago

We mostly agree, but I maintain the issue is an action/reaction one. It's that Microsoft lets them get away with it.

For example, when they pulled the DRM game, I would have nought every billboard around PAX showing Sony's patent for complete lockout of used games, a plan that was only cancelled because Microsoft monetized used games for the developers, and out e proverbial gun to GameStop's head. It worked WITH them to get money into their party pocket. The problem is thst Gamestop buys back used copies instead of buying new ones and incentivized them to their customers. Microsoft's system made sure that they got a taste of every transaction.

Sony's system forced purchase of new copies every time, which long term would have not had the kind if legs from people used to 25 years of Funcoland. They knew they couldn't compete, and so they poisoned the well.

According to most developers not attached to either side, the difference between the toe is negligible in reality, you should read that Eurogamer piece, it's pretty good about taking the temp on where the SDKsit right now
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
What is the KPI of this generation? how much PROFIT you generate?
Thats ALWAYS going to be a KPI regardless of which company you're talking about.
In the end, what will actually define a WIN ?
Thats an interesting question following last gen. During the previous generation we learned that all three competitors could be successful(Nintendo sold the most systems and both Microsoft and Sony made a nice profit off of their 80+ million systems sold respectivly and the original Kinect was a pretty big success saleswise as well).

But now that we are in the new gen Sony's system is clearly outselling the competition and yet they continue to lose money(the entire company) during each quarterly report. So they are both winning and losing at the same time. Microsoft has lost momentum and some of their previous customers this gen because of their bizarre marketing and PR from the XBO's outset. Luckily they've made some changes for the best but we probably won't know the full effect of all of those changes until after holiday 2015.

And then we have Nintendo. Want to know a KPI that they don't have? Consistent or even strong third party support. In a way one could argue that Nintendo has already lost this gen due to the fact that the Wii U will not see atleast 60-70%(and thats probably a bit conservative) of all major third party releases. While Microsoft is still making missteps and is far behind Sony in sales at the moment atleast their system(as well as Sony's) will receive atleast 80-90% of all major third party releases. So if you're a traditional gamer(meaning that you grew up with a console at an early age) and love variety in your game selection a PS4 or XBO is a pretty clear choice.

Luckily for Nintendo they still have a little system called the 3DS and believe it or not it actually gets pretty decent third party support. The 3DS may have slowed down a bit but it's still hitting plenty of KPI for Nintendo. The ultimate goal of course is for them to be able to say the same thing about the Wii U. But with each passing month that seems less and less likely to happen. At this point their most viable KPI for the Wii U will be turning a profit on each system sold and continuing to rack up first party million seller games.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.