South African gamers seem to prefer Sony’s PlayStation to Microsoft’s Xbox, although game console distributors have declined to reveal their exact market share.
Statcounter’s Console OS Market Share in South Africa in the Last 12 Months shows PlayStation sits at 94.54%, while Xbox is at 5.56% for July 2022.
That’s far more than a recent poll conducted by MyBroadband, which showed around 53% of tech-savvy consumers in South Africa preferred the PlayStation 5, while 37% voted for the Xbox Series X.
As expected, only around 5% said they preferred the cheaper Xbox Series S.
MyBroadband contacted PlayStation and Xbox distributors in South Africa to see if they could provide more accurate market share statistics.
Gamefinity CEO Mario Dos Santos said that while Statcounter’s numbers favored PlayStation, they were inaccurate.
“In our opinion, it is unlikely that the delta between the platforms could be that wide,” Dos Santos said.
Xbox Sales Manager Nathaniel Naicker said Statcounter’s market share isn’t right for the current generation of consoles.
“It is my understanding that Xbox does not work with Statcounter, and the data posted by them is not official Xbox data,” Naicker said.
PlayStation’s dominance over Xbox in South Africa is unsurprising, given the history of both consoles in the country.
Sony’s original PlayStation was available in South Africa for several years before being replaced by the hugely popular PlayStation 2 at the turn of the 20th century.
Microsoft then launched the original Xbox console less than a month after the PlayStation 2, but never introduced it to the South African market.
The PlayStation 2 would eventually become the best-selling game console of all time, with 155 million units sold worldwide as of March 2012.
By the time Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in South Africa in 2006, the PlayStation brand was firmly entrenched in South Africa.
While South Africans seem to prefer Sony’s consoles, Microsoft’s gaming subscription service for PC and Xbox was unbeatable until recently.
Microsoft’s excellent cross-platform support combined with Game Pass for PC could also explain why many South African PC gamers don’t bother buying an Xbox.
Since most of the games available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers are also available to PC owners, they’re more likely to buy a PlayStation for exclusive games on Sony’s platform.
In an effort to track Microsoft, Sony recently revamped its PlayStation Plus subscription service merging it with its game streaming service, PlayStation Now.
PlayStation Now was Sony’s closest competitor to Xbox Game Pass before the revamp, but Sony never made it available in South Africa.
With the three-tier PS Plus subscription giving South African gamers access to a library of almost 400 PS4 and PS5 games, Sony has a better chance of upholding Game Pass.
However, South Africans who subscribe to the PS Plus Deluxe plan still do not have access to the PlayStation 3 game library, which requires a PS Now subscription to play.