Google searches can't predict holiday console sales

Dusty Ricketts
Northwest Florida Daily News

I've been at the newspaper long enough that I get press releases from all over the country, and some of them are pretty ridiculous.  

Since I started writing this column a couple years ago, I've started receiving more and more press releases related to the videogame industry.

Dusty Ricketts

Usually, they deal with upcoming games, requests for me to interview someone or figures on sales data. Last week, I received a press release with this headline: Christmas console battle: Microsoft expected to sell twice as many Xbox Series Xs as Sony will PlayStation 5s.

That's a good headline to get your attention if you're interested in that topic, but there is almost no way that statement is going to be anywhere close to accurate.

A search engine optimization marketing firm used Google Trends data throughout the year to determine which next generation console, the Xbox Series X/S or the PlayStation 5, will sell best this holiday season when they release.

According to the press release, the two systems both saw spikes of interest last month after their prices and release dates were announced (Xbox having a 6-1 advantage over PlayStation after its announcement and then PlayStation having a 10-1 advantage following its announcement).

With those announcements now old news, the release states interest has now leveled off to show a clear 2-1 search advantage for the Xbox Series X over the PS5. And with that, they predict Xbox will outsell PlayStation by a 2-to-1 margin this holiday season.

The only way that is going to happen is if Microsoft is able to produce twice as many systems at launch as PlayStation. Preorders for both systems worldwide sold out within minutes of them being available. Both Microsoft and Sony are going to sell out of every single system they release this year, probably within hours of those boxes hitting store shelves.

The "winner" of this holiday season is going to be determined by which company is able to ship the most system to stores. It has nothing to do with Google searches, and thinking it does is somewhat embarrassing.

I'm not the only person who feels that way, either. During an interview with Kotaku last week, Xbox head Phil Spencer said essentially the same thing.

“I think we’ll sell every unit of both (the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S consoles) that we can deliver,” Spencer told Kotaku. “I think demand is just going to outstrip supply of pre-orders. For us and PlayStation, I think that the manufacturing supply chain is going to dictate (market) share more than anything else.”

Dusty Ricketts can be reached at dricketts@thedestinlog.com. He is currently playing “Star Wars Squadrons" and "Super Mario 3D All-Stars." You can find him to play online through his PlayStation Network ID: DustRAG316.