When it comes to picking early winners or losers in the console wars, holiday season sales (or pre-sales) data is of limited use. There’s enough demand for both Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles that both companies will likely sell through whatever inventory they manage to put on store shelves before Christmas, as healthy pre-order data suggests. The company that pulls out to an early sales lead this year will likely be the one with better production and distribution capacity, not the one with any inherent long-term advantage in the marketplace.
But amid these inevitable sellouts, there is one way to get an idea of which console actually has more early demand behind it: the online resale market. There, Sony’s PlayStation 4 is seeing a slightly higher markup for launch-day pre-orders than the Xbox One, both in real dollar and percentage terms.
To figure out just how much demand was driving value for both systems, I headed over to eBay and started compiling sales price figures for completed auctions. To make sure it was an apples-to-apples comparison, I omitted any auctions that included additional bundled software or hardware past the core package and any systems that were not launch-day pre-orders. I looked at data for auctions finishing between October 20 and 26, inclusive, to smooth out any day-to-day variations stemming from when auctions were listed. I also ignored auctions that didn’t meet a reserve or Buy It Now price.