Xbox vs PlayStation – Owners have nothing but mutual admiration
November 2nd, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Xbox vs PlayStation – Owners have nothing but mutual admiration

Three things in life seem certain – death, taxes and the constant hum of vicious jibes and wild swipes a section of console fans take at each other, mainly over social media. Xbox vs PlayStation is a particularly common theme in these online bouts. And, against the backdrop of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard finally looking set to see the light of day and the launch of a PlayStation exclusive mega-hit Spider-Man 2, the evergreen console wars have found fresh ammunition.

But are the console wars only the preserve of a vocal minority or do the majority of gamers hold similarly strong views about ‘the other brand’? First thing to note is that plenty of gamers own consoles from both these brands. A third of PlayStation owners also have an Xbox at home (34%) and nearly half of Xbox owners also have a PlayStation console (46%). Safe to say that for many gamers, the sentiment is “why pick one when you can have both”?

It's not surprising then that owners of either console, on the whole, have a lot of mutual admiration for the other brand. According to Impression scores from YouGov BrandIndex, a leading brand monitoring tool that tracks hundreds of brands in various markets, more than half of all Xbox owners have a positive impression of PlayStation (53%) and only 2% have a negative impression. The rest are either neutral in stance (or unaware of the brand, which makes up only a small proportion). Quality scores paint a similar picture, with 52% of Xbox owners believing that PlayStation represents good quality and just 3% saying the opposite.

When it comes to PlayStation owners, 44% have a positive impression of Xbox and just a small fraction of them have a negative impression. Similarly, the proportion of PlayStation owners who feel Xbox represents poor quality (3%) is far outweighed by those who believe it represents good quality (41%).

Xbox vs PlayStation - how do core owners perceive the other brand?

But what happens when you control for dual ownership and look at the views of those who own just one console. YouGov Profiles allows us to distil each of these ownership groups down only to those who have owned either console minus those who also own or have ever owned the other console. But even among these audiences with no first-hand exposure to the other brand, sentiment is more positive than it is negative, according to our brand tracker. For the sake of convenience, we refer to this group of console owners as ‘core’ owners.

Among core Xbox owners, that is those who have never owned a PlayStation, a quarter have a positive impression of PlayStation compared to just 3% with a negative impression. What’s more, three-tenths of them believe PlayStation represents good quality (30%), paling the share of those who feel the opposite (4%).

Core PlayStation owners are slightly less forgiving towards the rival brand. Still, they are more than three times as likely to hold a positive impression of Xbox than negative (24% vs 7%) and over five times as likely to say Xbox represents good quality rather than poor (23% vs 4%).

On the whole, mutual admiration is a lot more prominent among either group of owners than feelings of negativity towards the other brand.

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