"Doesn't need big promotions to sell."
I'm pretty sure VGC and Famitsu are both overtracking Xbox, as opposed to Ampere Analysis and MediaCreate undertracking it. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
Yeah, Microsoft are doing some promotions, so? If you look at the 360 vs XBO chart above, you can clearly see that the XBO only managed to build up any lead during the holiday season, while subsequently loosing over the course of the rest of the year. The XBO had a baseline that's much lower than the XS has. But more on that later, let's compare baselines first.
I'm taking the month of May as baseline since it's the one where the console sells the least. This is so far true for both the XBO and the XS.
XBO's best year had just 268k sales in May, while the other years it was hovering between 230k and 260k. This means weekly sales in May have been consistently under 70k, with dips down to under 60k.
XS easily beats this, with 393k last year and 482k this year. It is also the only month this year where the XS didn't sell at least 500k.
In fact, the 393k from last year is already a pretty high bar for the XBO, as at no point in it's life in the months of January, April, May and July XBO even got close to that number and just managed to beat it once in August, and XBO only managed twice to get above 500k monthly sales (and even then just barely so, with 501k in June 2015 and 507k in March 2018) in any month between January and August.
So even if the console would be overtracked, it would need to be very massively so just to give the XBO a fighting chance. XBO only sold during the holidays because it got massive promotions during that time, otherwise it wouldn't have sold at all. The XS meanwhile has a much higher baseline and doesn't need to rely on the holidays to sell, but that doesn't mean that they can't do promotions to further push the consoles.
It's impossible for us to know the true weekly or monthly sales curve of Series XS. Estimates vary greatly between trackers, and Microsoft refuses to share the necessary information. It's safe to say it's ahead of Xbox One launch aligned, but maybe not by that much.
I don't remember the deals history of the Xbox One, but I do remember that it started overpriced and bundled with Kinect until that was removed a few months later. I also know that it wasn't boosted by COVID like all the current consoles have been for years. You argued the other day that the pandemic was artificially and temporarily increasing demand, what happened to that? You think only Playstation demand was benefiting from COVID? What about inflation and the rising living expenses in Europe? Would that also only affect Playstation's future and not Xbox's? I thought "launch aligned" was misleading according to your own logic.
A key difference between X1 and Series XS is that PS4 met demand and was avaiable in large quantities soon after launch, unlike PS5. This put Series S in a temporarily favorable position in that a lot of people that couldn't find a PS5 (or Series X) and wanted a nextgen console ran out of patience and had to settle with a Series S instead (or X if available). Series S is also the weaker system relative to launch, meaning it probably won't maintain a high enough demand throughout the generation without aggressive pricedrops and frequent crazy deals (even those wouldn't necessarily be enough in a time where PS5 is plentiful, tho they could be in the context of an increasingly greedy Sony). And unless Microsoft manages to massively ramp up Series X production soon enough, annual hardware sales gradually falling in line with the X1 or slightly above that is definitely a possibility ("Under 60 million" could still have it at several million units above the X1). A $100 off deal for an already cheap system, in its biggest market, in a non-holiday period, does not bode well for Series S's demand and future.
Series S is often sold at $250 in Europe. IIRC, X1 early on only got hot deals in the holidays season. This basically means that "promotions" may be inflating Series S's sales as much as they inflated X1's in the early years. Seires X has potential, but it looks like MS just can't produce many of them and is trying to condition people into wanting the Seires S which they can produce in very high volumes. But we're not addressing the elephant in the room:
What if Series S is no longer mandated in the middle of or later in the generation? Do we still combine its sales with the Series X or do we consider them two different consoles? I'm combining them now because they share the same library of games, but if that changes, controversy would follow and "generations" would end for Microsoft.
I still think it will outsell X1 by a decent margin (10-15 million ... and maybe even 25+ million if the generation lasts longer). But depending on Microsoft's plans and what's causing Series X's production to be so limited, it still might end up around as low as X1. Things should and will be more interesting now that PS5's production is considerably improving. Looking forward to the first half of 2023 which should provide some answers.
I think Microsoft's acquisitions will become serious trouble for Sony in the PS6 generation, not this one.