Xbox 360 vs. PS3: The Console Wars Numbers Game

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February 18, 2013 by mattjozanovic

This round of console wars is winding down. Sony and Microsoft are on the brink of introducing their new devices. As far as HD consoles go, who “won” this generation? The question is (surprisingly) deceptive and complicated. There are many categories to look at when determining the quality, performance, and variety of each console:

Console Sales

Counting raw console sales figures:

Xbox 360 with 73.8M
PS3 with 72.2M

Advantage: Xbox 360

Sales per year

The PS3 has outsold the Xbox 360 every single year they have both been on the market. The fact that the Xbox came out a year earlier than the PS3 seems to be a major reason why the Xbox is still holding a slim lead.

Xbox 360 with 10.3M / year
PS3 with 11.7M / year

Advantage: PS3

Sales of games

The Xbox 360 has sold more games than the PS3. A lot more. The figures stand as follows:

Xbox 360 with 732M
PS3 with 635M

It could be that PS3 owners often use it to just watch Blu Rays since the Xbox is Blu Ray-less. Or it could be that the exclusives of Halo and Gears of War just sell too well. Or maybe it is that multiplatform usually run better on the Xbox, and so they sell better. Whatever the reason, it is a big difference.

Advantage: Xbox 360

Number of Games

The number of games available is an important indicator to a consoles vitality and superiority. The PS2 dominated the last generation with a total of 2,016 games, all retail.

Xbox 360 with 940 retail, 564 downloadable = 1504 total
PS3 with 772 retail, 559 downloadable = 1331 total

Advantage: Xbox 360

Quality of Games

While this category is difficult to quantify, what we have decided to do is take the Metacritic rating of all games on Xbox and PS3 and average them out.

Xbox 360 with a 68.9% rating
PS3 with 69.5% rating

Advantage: PS3

 Hardware Quality

The hardware quality of early Xbox 360s was very poor. The failure rates are said to be between 30 and 50% within the first three years. This could have very well had the effect of increased console sales, since people had to buy replacement Xboxes once their first (and second and third) broke.

Landslide Advantage: PS3


Each console taking three wins it is our decision that this console generation is pretty much a tie.

Both consoles have had their ups and downs (Sony security breach, RROD). Both consoles have the intangibles of motion controls and great exclusives. Each had varying degrees of success with paid online memberships. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.

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