Ever since its announcement in May of last year, it has been an uphill battle for Microsoft’s Xbox One. At first, its ‘always on‘ policy and confusing features deterred gamers whilst the console’s high price (due to the then-mandatory Kinect add-on) led many consumers to buy its cheaper competitor, the PS4, instead, helping Sony off to a massive head start in sales for the new generation of home consoles.
After removing Kinect (possibly killing off the camera in the process) and lowering the RRP, the Xbox One is catching up – Especially so as recent holiday promotions and new Xbox One bundles have made the console even cheaper.
Microsoft recently announced that they have almost ‘shipped’ 10 million Xbox One units to retailers, which suggests that their new plan is paying off. And games publisher Electronic Arts agrees, with CFO Blake Jorgensen recently revealing his thoughts on the sales turnaround.
Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference, Jorgensen spoke about the Sony vs. Microsoft console rivalry.
“Clearly Sony has jumped out to a lead with a great console and I think a great pricing strategy. [But] Microsoft is catching up quickly”.
Jorgensen chalked this down to the bundles and price cuts.
“… pricing actions that are taking place, particularly during this Christmas season, driven by Microsoft, around reduction plus a lot of bundled software, I think will continue to pull the consumer into the new consoles.”
This is directly in line with what Microsoft has said, with the company recently explaining that Xbox One sales have tripled following the recent $50 reduction. For EA, this is important since their new IP shooter, Titanfall, is exclusive to the Xbox One, as are some of the console bundles for EA Sports’ latest Madden and FIFA titles.
However, although the Xbox One is now available for $349 (which makes it $50 cheaper than the PS4), the promotion only lasts until January, 2015. The console discounts are currently only available in the United States.
This means that in places like Europe and Japan (in Japan it’s essentially a one horse race), the PS4 will continue to thrive. The US is a massive gaming market but there are over three times the amount of consumers in Europe and Japan that Microsoft will need to cater to if they want the Xbox One to pull ahead.
Furthermore, although Christmas, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales will help the Xbox One’s sales improve until the new year, those discounts can’t go on forever and Microsoft will have to find other ways to encourage people to purchase. One way that they could do this is to release more Xbox exclusive titles in 2015 but as it stands, Rise of the Tomb Raider won’t be out until the end of 2015 and Halo 5: Guardians, Crackdown and Fable Legends do not have confirmed release dates.
Jorgensen also added that following the holidays, current gen consoles will have sold “north of 25 million.” But whether the PS4 or the Xbox One makes up the bulk of that figure will have to be seen. More consoles overall, is better for the publisher and consumers.