PlayStation 5 the clear early favorite among American gamers as new consoles launched

Jamie BallardData Journalist
November 18, 2020, 6:15 PM UTC

Last week, Sony and Microsoft both launched their respective next-generation consoles: the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 5 Digital, the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S.  

Among those who heard about the launches, YouGov Direct data finds that 8% have already got their hands on one of the consoles. This figure includes 4% who had pre-ordered, 2% who purchased online on launch day or shortly after, and another 2% purchased in-person. 

However, just as many gamers (8%) say they have tried to buy a console but couldn’t find one available. A further one in five (19%) are planning to purchase one of these consoles for the holidays.   

Among those who have been able to purchase a console, 56% chose the PlayStation 5 and another 19% the PlayStation 5 Digital version. Microsoft’s sales lag far behind, with only 33% choosing the Xbox Series X and 20% went the Xbox Series S.  

Purchase intent is similar among those who say they haven’t yet gotten a console. About six in 10 (59%) say they plan to purchase the PlayStation 5 and 17% the PlayStation 5 Digital version, while only 32% intend to purchase the Xbox Series X and the Series S (12%). 

Among those who bought or plan to buy the full PlayStation 5, 51% choose “personal preference for the brand” as a reason why. About two in five (37%) say that the system’s power or performance is a factor in their decision, while 36% say it’s because they prefer to have a physical disk drive. A similar number (34%) say they plan to buy the PS5 because of the game library overall.  
 
Among those who bought or intend to buy the PS5 Digital version, results are similar. Nearly half (46%) of this group says their preference for the brand is a factor in their decision. A similar percentage (42%) say it’s the game library overall that drew them in, and 41% cite the exclusive titles as a reason why they bought or will buy this device.  
 
 
Among those who bought or will buy the Xbox Series X, 58% say it’s because of their personal preference for the brand. Among these gamers, 46% say they made this purchase decision because of the system’s power/performance, and 38% are drawn to the game library overall.  

For users who bought or will buy the Xbox Series S, the most common reason is price (44%) – while the Series X costs about $500, the Series S costs $300. Another 37% cite the Series S’ power/performance, and 36% say they bought or will buy this system because of their personal preference for the brand.  

Methodology: YouGov polled 5,930 US adults, including 3,497 who had heard about the recent PlayStation and Xbox console launches, and 1,015 who purchased or plan to purchase a console. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct from November 13 – November 16, 2020. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 2.0% for the overall sample.