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Why Million-Console Debuts Don't Guarantee Success for Xbox One and PS4

The first customers to pick up their Xbox One consoles at Best Buy Theater in Times Square, New York, on Nov. 22
The first customers to pick up their Xbox One consoles at Best Buy Theater in Times Square, New York, on Nov. 22Photograph by Charles Sykes/AP Photo

Microsoft has followed Sony’s million-console launch with one of its own, but the big numbers for these next-generation debuts leave unanswered the big questions about the mainstream future of game consoles.

Worldwide sales of the Xbox One topped 1 million in the first 24 hours of availability, the company reported over the weekend, and most stores completely sold out supplies of the devices. The XBox sales haul seems likely to have come in behind Playstation’s, since the Microsoft console counted 13 countries in its tally rather than Sony’s North America-only debut figure. In both cases the first-day performance surpassed the level of sales for the last generation of consoles.