Why did Xbox get released before PS5? Microsoft bets two-day head start can boost sales

People who preordered the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S get a slight window this week to gloat over those who are getting the PlayStation 5.

Microsoft is releasing its console on Tuesday, while Sony is waiting until Thursday. That’s not a big difference, or one that will be remembered for long, but it might feel like ages to antsy gamers anxious to try out their new systems.

After the PlayStation 4 destroyed the Xbox One in sales, Microsoft wants every advantage it can get this time around. A two-day head start is a possible momentum builder entering the holiday season, building chatter and social media gameplay content 48 hours early.

Below is a look at the release date difference in 2020, and how it compares to previous generations:

Why did the Xbox get released before PS5?

There’s no galaxy-brain explanation for the minor discrepancy, and for all intents and purposes the consoles are hitting the market at the same time. The goal for Microsoft and Sony is to reach consumers well before the holiday season with enough time to build up substantial inventory to meet demand as much as possible. Both companies have accomplished that, even if Microsoft holds the slightest of head starts.

Based on the explosive success of the gaming industry overall in 2020, both companies should expect big-time sales numbers. A BBC report this past week included an analysis suggesting each console would sell more than 13 million units before the start of 2021.

Xbox Series X release date

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S come out on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

PlayStation 5 release date

The PlayStation 5 is being released on Thursday, Nov. 12.

Release date comparison for previous Microsoft, Sony consoles

The Xbox and PlayStation releasing the same month is a relatively new phenomenon. Before 2013, the competing consoles never came out the same year.

Below is the head-to-head release dates for Microsoft and Sony consoles since 2000.

Sales comparison for previous Xbox, PlayStation consoles

While Microsoft bridged a massive gap in sales with its Xbox 360 success, its subsequent dip with the Xbox One has the company eager to rebound this decade.

Maybe this is the console version that finally puts an Xbox over 100 million units sold.

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