Microsoft is bringing the price on the Xbox One by $50 again, a mere 12 days after bringing the price back up to their MSRP. The promotional discount will begin on Friday, January 16 and has no end date specified. Thus far only the base bundle has been confirmed at the price of $349.
In an interview with Polygon, Michael Nichols, the vice president of marketing for Xbox, said, “It was really about positioning ourselves to have a breakout holiday. We were as aggressive as we could be to see how people would react.”
At pricing points of $349.99 and $449.99 for the Kinect bundle, Microsoft saw tremendous performance in their console sales over the period of their previous promotion, which ran between November 2, 2014 and January 3, 2015. Sales performance was so strong for Microsoft that the Xbox One was the top selling console over that period, besting Sony’s PlayStation 4 for the first time this console generation.
“The results were staggering,” Nichols reflected, “it was a terrific response to the changes we made.”
This is the best decision Microsoft can make given the momentum they currently have. I mused that they had performed admirably over the holidays, well enough to erase much of the damage their early missteps created. By continuing to aggressively price their consoles, Microsoft is ensuring that the public community remembers how strong the Xbox is as a brand and it will also ease development concerns for the Xbox One as there will be less of a risk for develops to work directly with the console.
This is especially true at a time where console exclusives have been notably weak. While Microsoft had a decent Fall offering with Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive and the flawed Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sony saw their exclusive offerings delayed to 2015 and their lone major release was Driveclub, which was largely incomplete and unstable. 2015 looks to be a stronger year for both companies with major tentpole releases of Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox One and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on PlayStation 4 due out in the fall. Sony’s lineup is also bolstered by exclusives like Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 while Microsoft should see Rise of the Tomb Raider and Forza Motorsport 6. I maintain that the Xbox has better exclusives at the moment, but all bets are off once Bloodborne and Uncharted 4 are on shelves.
The close to 2014 shows just how interesting this generation of consoles is going to be. While Sony still maintains a decent lead on Microsoft, Microsoft’s calculated patience appears to be paying off for them in how they repositioned themselves. Microsoft has shown the ability to adapt in the face of adversity whereas Sony has found ways to become complacent, despite having every advantage early on. What I can hope for is for both companies to ramp up their aggressive campaigns, because in the end, the consumer will win.