Digital Salad: Who Is Buying Next Gen Consoles?

Next Generation consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One, have been out since November. Despite a very slow start to exclusive next gen releases, the consoles have been selling strongly (according to the companies themselves at least!). I was wondering exactly who was buying the consoles though, so I put on my Geographer hat and delved in to the demographics. It’s a more interesting dig for info than you might think!


The consoles have settled in now, getting on for 6 months after release. Games are still short on the ground, but more and more are trickling out – like this week’s Titanfall for the Xbox One. The big question before release was which console was going to win the war?

That question has now, largely, been answered. PS4 had a wider launch (48 countries versus 13), Sony has claimed to have sold 4.2 million consoles versus Microsoft’s claim of 3 million consoles, and the PS4 remains the cheapest. Nearly every poll, as well, puts the PS4 just slightly ahead of the Xbox One for desirability.

So, the PS4 takes the crown from the Xbone for now.

That argument has now been settled. I wanted to look a bit past that and look into exactly who is buying these consoles, whichever one they pick.

Being released in November, the real big target was Christmas. The previous installments of both consoles topped Christmas lists for kids for years. Christmas 2013 was a little different though, with the PS4 and Xbox One falling behind other toys such as LEGO (as a childhood LEGO fanatic I was amazed to see that it was Number 1 this year!). current generation video games and even Ipads. Apple seem to have pipped both Sony and Microsoft to the post when it comes to making their product desirable to the teenage market.

Christmas is a massive crunch time for console sales
Christmas is a massive crunch time for console sales

Even more fascinating is that neither console featured at all on the Christmas list for girls. Add to that figures that say only 25% of those wanting to buy next generation consoles are female gamers, when around 47% of gamers are female – it seems like neither console has gone down well with the female demographic. Why? I’ll pop the Xbox One advert in here, give it a look.

What really struck me about that was that there was only one female in the entire advert, and she wasn’t even a gamer! Clearly, and probably without particularly meaning to create a sexist advert, Microsoft have created a sexist console image that does nothing to interest female gamers in their console. I’ve heard female gamers refer to next generation consoles as ‘guy’ consoles, and I’d be inclined to agree based on the advertising – and it seems more so than with previous generations of console.

Another interesting point is that those buying the consoles are generally older than previous consoles. Neither console hit Christmas lists particularly well, with Apple in particular shoving them down the list. Kids would now rather have an Ipad than an Xbox One/PS4. That’s understandable in many ways.

There’s also the point that the Playstation 2 was £300 on release, whereas this generation are upwards of £450. Since the Playstation 2 though, the world economy has shrunk significantly, so family’s can’t really afford to spend so much on such an expensive present anymore.

Xbox One release night - who are these people and why are they buying it?
Xbox One release night – who are these people and why are they buying it?

So who is buying the consoles?

Well, it seems that those buying the consoles are men who, according to the statistics, are over 21. The next generation consoles have sold themselves to the stereotypical crowd. To a certain extent that makes sense from a business point of view. However, if they really wanted to make an epic business success out of these next generation consoles they needed to break out of that mold much more. They need to get all gamers on board, and a lot more besides.

The Wii was the classic success it was because it broke through the barriers and into ordinary living rooms. The next generation of consoles will not be doing that, and its a big missed opportunity.

Digital Salad –


One thought on “Digital Salad: Who Is Buying Next Gen Consoles?

  1. Dustin March 16, 2014 / 6:07 pm

    Still waiting to get my next gen console. Nice article though!

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