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My Reasons For The Xbox One's Current Sales Rut
It's no secret. The Xbox One isn't doing too hot right now. After a great holiday season, sales have dropped since the new year and many people have offered a variety of reasons as to why that is. Well, here are mine.
First, a disclaimer. This is by no means an attack on the Xbox One. There are plenty of articles out there that do that and, honestly, I want the console to succeed. Competition is what keeps the industry healthy and losing Microsoft as a player would only hurt the industry in the long run. Not to mention that the console itself is great. I own every major console available today except the Xbox One, but you can bet I'll have one before the year's end, hopefully sooner than later.
In my opinion, this is the biggest reason. Xbox One retails at $499 while Playstation 4 goes for $399. Also, keep in mind that the PS4 has an, albeit minor, advantage of the Xbox One in terms of sheer power. Regardless, the two consoles offer VERY similar experiences, making the price one of the few major differences. For gamers who don't swear allegiance to either company and are simply looking for a next-gen experience, who wouldn't go with the console that not only cost significantly less but is, on paper, slightly superior? If fandom isn't a factor for choosing a console this generation, your wallet likely is. It always is.
The most probable reason for the big price differential is Xbox One's inclusion of Kinect. At the end of the day, many gamers simply don't care about Kinect and the fact that it's the sole reason they're asked to drop an extra Benjamin on the console isn't helping Xbox One's cause. This could have been remedied if Microsoft had better communicated Kinect's value by announcing more games that utilize the device in meaningful ways but, unfortunately, they've done anything but. I belong to the camp that recognizes Kinect's potential, but until Microsoft gives people a reason to believe the same, it'll be viewed as a worthless add-on needlessly inflating the console's price.
It was just under a year ago that Microsoft first proposed it's controversial plans for the Xbox One. These policies included a required internet connection, strict 24-hour check-in for said connection, and harsh policies towards pre-owned games thus igniting a firestorm that the company is still trying to extinguish.
Microsoft eradicated their unpopular polices months before launch, but the damage has already been done. I've asked many people their reasons for not giving Xbox One a chance even after the reversals and here are the three most common responses.
Fear: "Microsoft reversed the polices for now, but they could flip the switch on them back on at any time. Why take the chance?"
Principle: "Yeah, Microsoft fixed things in the end but the fact that even tried to implement such draconian polices in the first place turned me off completely."
Sense of Abandonment: "Microsoft only cares about other media and doesn't focus on games anymore".
I personally disagree with almost all of these ideas but a good portion of people don't. First impressions are everything as many people only need one good reason to dump you for good. Altering something like a price is easy - changing public perception is a beast all it's own.
Playstation 4's "Cool Factor"
On the flip side, the Playstation 4 is as popular as free beer at a frat house. Sony won the hearts of of many with their gamer-friendly approach with the PS4. From their support of used games, a robust line-up of indie talent and, again, an affordable price tag, I can't think of anything the company could have done better. They even managed to introduce paid online multiplayer without much resistance (though it helps that Playstation Plus is a fantastic service). This has helped the PS4 become THE console to own . It's the cool console - the gamer's console. Everyone seems to want one and, at this point, I'm convinced that the system could sprout wings, breath fire, and burn kitten orphanages around the world to ashes and still be in sky-high demand. Xbox One's reputation still on the mend, so competing with the beloved and seemingly infallible Playstation 4 has to be a nightmare.
So those are a few basic reasons why I feel Xbox One is stumbling at the moment. I've seen a lot of doom and gloom articles already deeming the console a failure and wonder how that could be. It's sold over 3 million units and it's only four months old. Also, there's still a ton of big games coming this year, including the hotly-anticipated Titanfall next Tuesday, and once those titles start hitting shelves, sales will likely pick up. As I said before, Microsoft needs to focus on selling Kinect to consumer through exciting experiences that only the camera can offer. A price cut, which as already happened in the UK, wouldn't hurt either.
Why do you think the Xbox One is struggling? Let me know in the comments below.