Editorial: There Are No Easy Answers For The Xbox One


xbox one

The results are in. And Microsoft’s recently released financials give an even clearer picture. It’s pretty simple; the PlayStation 4 has sold over 7 million units. The Xbox One has sold just over 4 million.

That doesn’t mean that the Xbox One isn’t selling; it’s selling incredibly well. It’s selling well past its predecessor at this point. But you have to look at the competition. The PlayStation 4 is destroying it, and although it would take a miracle for it to stay this way, it’s behind the Wii U’s lifetime sales at this point, making it in last place of the current generation of consoles.

Microsoft and retailers tried virtually everything imaginable to boost the Xbox One’s sales in March. They had a huge marketing push, bundled the console with the supposed mega hit Titanfall (which to be fair, was the number one selling game in March) and even dropped the price $50 on the bundle. Did that help? Not nearly enough, obviously. I can only imagine what sales would’ve been like if Titanfall either was on the PS4 or didn’t exist at all.

The gap is only set to widen at this point, with no big exclusives due out for the Xbox One anytime soon. Sure, the PS4 has no really big exclusive titles coming soon either, but it’s selling incredibly well without a particularly strong library. I can only guess that a big release like The Order: 1886 will push system sales even more whenever those titles start to hit.

So what’s the answer? Games? The Xbox One has them. I’d argue the launch lineup was stronger and more varied with games like Dead Rising 3, Ryse and Forza compared to the extremely underwhelming Killzone and Knack. The Xbox One has more cool exclusives on the way with games like Project Spark, Halo, Quantum Break, Sunset Overdrive and a new Gears of War in development. We don’t really know what exclusives Sony has beyond Uncharted sometime this decade and the previously mentioned The Order: 1886, but at the rate PlayStation 4 is selling it doesn’t seem to matter that much.

The Xbox division has cost them at least a billion in losses due to the Red Ring of Death alone, and lord only knows how much the total loss is when you add things like R&D and marketing.

Phil Spencer has promised E3 will be all about jaw-dropping games. But it’s hard to imagine something that will really get gamers motivated to start picking up those Xbox Ones at a pace to catch up to the PS4 because, of course, it will have to outpace the sales of Sony’s console for a pretty significant time in order to just catch up, much less have a chance of passing it.

A lot are pointing to Kinect as the answer. Either drop Kinect and drop the price or keep Kinect and drop the price anyway, eating whatever loss that would entail. Neither of these solutions is particularly viable, in my opinion. Microsoft can’t easily drop the Kinect. Not only is it a huge cornerstone of their business plan, the Xbox One is built around it. The interface is actually quite a pain to navigate just using the controller; it just isn’t optimized for that. It would take a hell of a lot of work to make it optimized for controller use. And then you have two vastly different user interfaces floating around out there, and nobody is going to deal with that headache.

So then do you drop the price and just eat the cost? The problem with that is there’s a movement within Microsoft for it to become a software and services company only. They make tons of money on software like Windows, and to date their hardware efforts have pretty much been a disaster. Nobody bought a Zune. Nobody is buying a Windows phone or a Surface tablet. The Xbox division has cost them at least a billion in losses due to the Red Ring of Death alone, and lord only knows how much the total loss is when you add things like R&D and marketing. If the Xbox One is sold at a significant loss that isn’t made up with something else, that may be all that’s needed for Microsoft to say, “To hell with hardware,” and there won’t be a Xbox Two or whatever they would want to call it.

This is not to say they can’t turn it around. After all, if we were to look at the PS3 six months in, it was certainly in a far worse position both in terms of comparing it to the 360 sales and just in terms of sales on its own merits. But the PS3 managed even with its incredibly rocky start to pretty much pull even with the 360 by the end, and will probably end up passing the 360 as there are still some really solid exclusives coming out for it.

But much like for PS3, it’s not just cutting the price, dropping the Kinect or having awesome games. There’s no one easy solution and if Microsoft doesn’t want to be fighting with Nintendo over a distant second place, they need to figure out whatever combination of measures will keep them in the competition before it really does become too late.

What do you think, GameSided readers? What can Microsoft do to really galvanize gamers and move Xbox Ones? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Tags: Features Kinect Microsoft Opinion PS4 Sony Video Games Xbox One

  • crizz1066

    Best option I feel for the X1 is for it to be sold off to a company that know how to treat customers. We need to console to keep innovation alive. But when one is doing so badly it doesn’t help anyone. Dont want this to turn out to be a Zune or anything do we??

    • Guest

      This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read…and I just read that article.

      PS4 has more chance of being sold off with Sony going down like the titanic.

      • Reed Richards

        Sony is worth 70 billion in assets. This year Sony has predicted that they will turn a profit. Please stop being a xbot

        • k j

          The only reason they will turn a profit is from selling off divisions like pc and hack and slashing jobs. You can only do that once. Sony will eventually sell off it’s electronics division and stay with movies and insurance.

          • Reed Richards

            The only reason Microsoft is still in business is they have a monopoly on OS and Ms office. Where is the zune? When a product is not making money you stop selling it like Sony PC. All PC sales are plummeting because of tablets and smartphones. The PS4 is the fastest selling game consoles of all times in the history of gaming. Sony is making a profit on the PS4. The xBoned720 is being out sold by almost 2 to 1. The xBoned720 is losing market share and money. The xbox brand has never made money it division is in the red. The xbone will be less successful than the 360 worldwide if sale trends continue.

          • crizz1066

            I wonder how much the marketing budget is for X1 and where they’re going to put that on the books. In the UK I see PS4 advertised on Agents of Shield and thats it. Yet X1 is everywhere, you cant escape it and that don’t come cheap :-)

          • Reed Richards

            exactly every time I look at tv there’s a xboned720 advertisement on. That is why the so called game journalist do call out m$ on their bullcrap. Not because Microscam is bribing them. No it’s because Microsoft is spending triple What Sony and Nintendo combined in advertisement.

          • Patrick Hannan

            This Sony pony is crazy. Dude do you not understand the millions of dollar Microsoft makes from marketplace sales and Xbox live subscriptions. They profited 7 billion dollars so far this year off of the Xbox brand. Don’t be upset with Microsoft because they are a better company than Sony. Does Sony make a mp3 player? As a matter of fact who even buys mp3 players… And what about the psp hows it been doing?

          • Reed Richards

            That would be a no on that 7 billion that xbox brand makes. If Microsoft made money on xbox they there investors would not want to sell it. Hey genius guess who else makes mp 3 players. A little company named apple . any of this ringing a bell iPod shuffle And iPod touch are both mp3 players. Great theory though s:/

      • datdude

        This just in….people with no money should concern themselves less with the financials of multibillion dollar corporations and more with their own financial constraints. Film at 11.

    • jordan jones

      The only company that hasnt brought innovation to the console gaming space is sony so dont know where your going with this idiotic rant

      • crizz1066

        Wasn’t really a rant no was it, calm down. So the Zune did well did it?? Sony PS1 that didnt really shake things up a bit did it :-) PS3 with Blu Ray making it more multi media, now who’s tried to copy that??? Yet you say Sony hasn’t innovated. OPEN your eyes. Stop bending over and taking it from M$, perhaps if you didn’t have the tears in your eyes from the “shating” you’d be able to see the real world.

      • Reed Richards

        Great job being “innovative” with kinect Microscam. Too bad PS2 had EYETOY 11 years ago. way to go Microsoft

        • Patrick Hannan

          Great job with Sony being “innovative” with the playstation. Too bad it was contracted to Sony by Nintendo to build a snes cd platform in 1992. And when Nintendo decided to build with Phillips instead, Sony ended up in court for releasing the playstation as their own.

  • Jon McSwain

    It starts with getting Halo on the shelves! Live with that franchise or die without. Not arguing whether the game is the best or not, but it flat out drives the Xbox console sales. If Titanfall can give them the bump it did, one can only assume that a Halo game (even the planned remake) will exponentially boost their sales. You are completely correct in your assessment of an Xbox without it’s Kinect, won’t happen because of the clunky OS. They only work symbiotically.

  • Archangel.357

    Ehh, Microsoft’s treatment of indie devs certainly isn’t helping matters, As Jim Sterling said, indies may not sell a system, but what with AAA development costs exploding and the resulting dearth of AAA games, a strong library of titles like Resogun, Mercenary Kings, Flower, Outlast etc goes a long way towards tiding players over until the next big exclusive release. The only AAA titles I have for my PS4 are Killzone, inFamous and ACIV (and that last one only because I got it for a tenner, having bought the same game already for the PS3), so without indies, it would spend most its time gathering dust (and to be fair, I still use my PS3 more than the PS4, but that may have something to do with the backlog of 50 games I still need to finish), but as it is, Resogun is a pretty kick-ass title in its own right.

  • http://mediumentertainment.blogspot.com/ Eric Chrisman

    I’m honestly more excited for Transistor than most of the “big” titles coming out this year.

    • Reed Richards

      The Order 1886 looks incredible. The game I’m jealous of no xbone is below. It’s a time exclusive it should come to PS4.

      • datdude

        I agree. Below is the one game so far that the xbone has that the ps4 doesn’t that I’m interested in. But it’s on pc also, so that alone wouldn’t move me to buy an xbone. And Transistor and Child of Light are day one downloads for me as well, and just as anticipated for me as games like The Division and Destiny.

        • Reed Richards

          I’m keeping my eyes on Transistor and Child of Light . This is my most anticipated NextGen game list

          1. The division
          2. The Witcher 3
          3. The Order 1886
          4. Kingdom Under Fire 2
          5. Lord of the Fallen

          So far could change because of E3. This is going to be the first next-gen E3 . Can’t wait

  • NeedMoreGames

    These kind of sensationalist articles are ridiculous. Not going to use it as excuse but remember the Xbox one is only officially released in 13 countries at this moment in time. The PS4 is in over 50! I’m not saying that these extra markets would make the xbox one match the PS4 but it has to be taken into account. And as for comparing to the Wii U! GTFO! Comparing it to a system that has been out for a year longer!? The gap between the Xbox One and the Wii U is less than 2 million units at this stage. With Wii U sales stagnating I don’t doubt the Xbox will outsell it within the year, especially if Halo rides in like Gandalf the White this christmas. As for the PS4. Sony have a had a great start and as long as they support their platform with games they will be the lead platform. But let’s be real for a moment. The PS3 and 360 have shown us that 2 competing consoles can find their markets. Maybe this time the xbox is outsold by 10-15 million units. So what? It’ll still sell well and still have great games.

    On the note of windows phone. They actually grew their market share last year and Sony, THAT’S RIGHT, are even considering a windows phone of their own.

    • TristanPR77

      Oh, the old “other territories” excuse. First of all, the PS4 on its first week made 1 million only in 2 contries while the xbone made 1 million in 13 countries. Microsoft released their console on their strongest territories, the other territories has always been Sony’s, just look at the 360, it only sold well on the US and UK. The PS4 is destroying the xbone in the territories that both consoles are available so releasing in the other territories will not make ANY difference to the xbone situation.

    • Reed Richards

      Microsoft has made as many xbone as PS4. Why do you think that it’s in less countries because of lack of demand. The countries that xbone is competing against they are being out sold. Who’s fault Is it that xboned720 is not more countries? If there was more demand for XBoned720 Microsoft would be in those countries. Microsoft has 2,000,000 xbone on selves in stores. I’m sure Microsoft can run their business better than the xbotS fanyboys

    • datdude

      @needmoregames, you’re confused. Microsoft released in their 13 most successful territories purposefully exactly because those are the places they move the vast majority of their product. They could have easily shifted units to those other territories Sony is available in by now, especially considering the quantity of units they have sitting on shelves and in warehouses, but they haven’t. That should tell you everything about their sales prospects in those territories. I mean, come on, Amazon still has day one xbone units for sale!! Case closed. The ps4 still has shortages in many territories, while the xbone is sitting on shelves everywhere, AND getting outsold in all territories. The one thing you said that makes sense is that the xbone is selling well. It is selling well. But when your direct competitor is outselling you nearly 2:1 in less than six months, there is definite cause for concern. Especially when you are priced higher but offering weaker hardware specifications. And when you take into account the xbox doesn’t have a year plus long launch advantage this time around, and the hardware seems to be less failure prone than the 360 meaning no ability to sell more than one unit to the same customers, that equals trouble all the way around.

      • Reed Richards

        exactly Microsoft is in 13 countries because there’s no demand Worldwide for xbone. Microsoft is cutting down on the Manufacturing of XBoned720 because they are not selling Well. In fact xbone is selling slower than 360 and that after Titanfall.

  • Dirkster_Dude

    What can Microsoft do? Lower the price by $100 (USD) or at least $50. People might pay $50 more for what they see as a peripheral, but $100 is kind of steep. Include a disc that updates the XB1 so it doesn’t have to connect to the Internet. Then the XB1 can be sold in far more countries than just the 13 listed. Other possibilities are more bundle deals that retailers are doing themselves. However, if you don’t like racing or FPS with mechs you will not be impressed by the current Microsoft offerings.

  • TristanPR77

    If Titanfall could not even scratch the PS4, I doubt there is hope for the xbone to match the PS4. There is nothing good coming to the xbone in a long time and in the meanwhile multiplatform games are superior in the PS4. Is hard to sell a console at $500 that cannot match the quality of a cheaper console at $400.

    If Microsoft could not win over Sony’s last gen, where Sony was at their worst with the PS3, I doubt they will even be competitive this gen.

    • spideynut71

      Sounds exactly like what people said about PS3 in the early going. We all know how that turned out.

      • Reed Richards

        Microsoft has a year head start on the PS3.

        • datdude

          And selling the same customers more than one unit due to colossal red ring failure rates.

          • Reed Richards

            I had 3 RROD on 360 myself. I bought 4 360 in total

          • datdude

            I sent three back under warranty, fixed the last one myself several times with that damn penny trick, and when it died I bought a slim. So they suckered me into buying two. Never again.

          • Anthony Tarantino

            Congrats for wasting your money. If you had bought a PS3 you wouldn’t have had all those problems. Or it would have been better to wait until the Xbox 360 Slim came out and all those issues were gone.

            Good thing the Xbox One and PS4 don’t have any serious issues like that. Both consoles are built well.

          • Reed Richards

            It’s my money to waste thank you were much. I own both 360 and PS3. My PS3 stopped working also but it was under warranty and Sony fixed for free.

        • spideynut71

          That has nothing to do with anything. MS blew the year head start with RROD, so the fact that they rushed the 360 out, actually hurt them.

          Fact still remains, that people were counting out the PS3, like it was DOA…game over…and Sony eventually righted the ship. MS has already done a lot to recover from the unveiling fiasco, and will continue to make improvements, and will soon have some exclusives that make the X1 an attractive buy.

          It just cracks me up how ignorant and immature some people are about this “console war” crap, especially when we’re only 6 months into this gen, and fresh off of a long, up-and-down 3-way competition that ultimately saw no clear winner.

          • Reed Richards

            The RROD didn’t have a negative effect on sales. I fact it increase sales case in point myself. I bought 3 360 because of RROD. Also I guess that a year head start and a $200 dollar cheaper amount didn’t help either right. I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you

          • spideynut71

            It’s hard to believe you’re actually that stupid…but the evidence is overwhelming.

          • Reed Richards

            You made Bro? Believe this xboned720 is underpowered garbage. Guess what genius PS4 is out selling xboned720 by almost 2 to 1. You xbots are to stupid to see that most people don’t want kinect and the weak GPU of xboned720.
            .

          • spideynut71

            Who the f*ck do you think you’re talking to, kiddo? I game on PS3, PS4, 360, X1 and PC….I’m not a c0ck-sucking fanboy like you. BTW, my PC…with i7, OC’d GTX780, and 16GB of RAM… makes the PS4 and X1 look like the last-gen toys they really are. But I enjoy the LBP and Uncharted franchises, and am looking forward to The Order, so I’m glad I’ve got it. I’m also looking forward to Quantum Break and Halo 5. If a game is also on PC, I’ll always go with the superior version.

            Now STFU, and go lick Mark Cerny’s taint some more.

          • Reed Richards

            Thanks you Microsoft P.R SPIN machine Defencw League member. Why are on this forum doing a public service announcement XBoned720. congratulations you game on the PC good for you Enjoy. I have better things to spend a money on . I vacation and own a vacation house in Mexico so toodles. Wow is this a d#ck measuring contest now. Silly @$$ fanyboy . You mad bro?

          • spideynut71

            So, since I game on multiple platforms, rather than sucking Sony’s c0ck exclusively, like you, I’m somehow still some MS/XBOX fanboy, in your feeble mind.

            And LOL @ a vacation house in MEXICO. That would cost about the same as a trailer, in the U.S. Congrats on your rat-infested getaway.

          • Reed Richards

            I own both 360 and original Xbox and all the PS 1-4 all the Nintendo system up to wiiU. I bought both of my xbox at launch. Have fun painting me as an imaginary Sony fanBoy. XBoned720 is garbage and Kincet is worth.
            Xbox live tag evil snuggle . Cut the bullsh#t
            My vacation home is 200 feet from the beach in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Google it if you have not been you should it’s absolutely beautiful.

          • spideynut71

            So, if that’s true, why do you assume I’m some MS fanboy?? My early comments certainly didn’t indicate any such thing…quite the contrary, if you could comprehend what I posted.

          • Reed Richards

            Your the one who is giving the Microsoft song and dance. Like it or not the XBoned720 is not a good system. Microsoft made a huge mistake bet on Kinect . The 360 was a good system OG xbox is one of my favorite game Consoles of all times. I don’t like the direction that xbox brand has gone. Microsoft has turned into a bro box all first person shooter no RPGS all action games no game variety. Microsoft made a weak consoles because they were chasing casual gamers with Kinect. No thank

          • spideynut71

            It’s painfully obvious that you either have serious reading comprehension issues, or you’re simply delusional. In retrospect, I can’t believe I’ve wasted so much time responding to your idiotic ranting. Believe what you want, son…and have fun vacationing in the armpit of the world.

          • Reed Richards

            When did some one mention PC. This is the new XBOT tactic. I thought we were talking about game consoles. weird Where did all that come from. Lol lol lol lol :-)

          • Anthony Tarantino

            And despite that year head start Sony still outsold them in the end. Guess what, Microsoft still has a lot of catching up to do when the Xbox One launches in the remaining territories this fall.

            Does it really matter who has the most sales? Just play the damn games and have fun.

          • Reed Richards

            Yes if you own the game consoles with the highest consoles sales. You get more exclusive and better quality versions of the multiplatform games.

          • Anthony Tarantino

            I have a Wii U and a PS4, and I might buy a 3DS next month. I have more than enough games to play.

          • Anthony Tarantino

            This. The fact is, it’s so early on in this generation that it’s pointless to claim victory for one console. We still have 6 more years, anyone could come out on top.

    • datdude

      @TristanPR77:disqus
      Exactly. Precisely. Right on the money, right on the nose.

    • Robert Berwick

      “There is nothing good coming to the xbone in a long time and in the meanwhile multiplatform games are superior in the PS4. Is hard to sell a console at $500 that cannot match the quality of a cheaper console at $400.”
      Really? I’ve watched videos of side-by-side comparisons of multiplatform games and this is simply NOT true. You can boast about PS4 specs until the cows come home, but the fact remains there is no discernible difference between the graphical fidelity for each system. Besides that, if you only have one or the other, there is no way to gauge the difference with any real amount of honesty (I actually have both and there really is no difference yet in the visuals).
      As far as exclusives are concerned, the arrival of a Halo or Gears of War title would certainly bolster the Xbox One’s lagging sales figures. Titanfall may have been hyped by a lot of people and websites for the industry, but it wasn’t an established franchise like Call of Duty or exclusives like Halo and Gears of War. If you remember back when Killzone was released on the PS2, it was labeled as a “Halo Killer”, but for all of that hype, it has never matched the sales success enjoyed by the Halo franchise. This is the same thing that has happened to Titanfall and with such limited scope in the game (online multiplayer only with no traditional single player mode) it’s easy to see why.
      I think the argument should be focused more on getting exclusives to each of the systems so we can get away from the constant bickering about which system is better and get back to what we like doing…playing more games!

      • Maverick Saturn

        There’s no guarantee Halo 5 and yet another Gears will have the pulling power they once used to.

        The problem is that people could go either way, they are fans of the games prior and want to play the new ones or they are now bored with both series.

        Either way, unless either one of those games dare to do anything new and different, I doubt they will be pulling in any new gamers, just the same old ones from last time.

        Say for myself who grew bored of Halo since Halo 3, what is there for me in Halo 5 that hasn’t been done or seen before in a Halo title besides a new mode, race or fairly mundane plot? I suppose the same could be said of any game really, but this whole idea of putting one’s faith in single games is a little pathetic “just wait until [insert game here] comes out”.

        The point of the matter is that people already know Xbox will have another Halo and Gears, if they really cared to buy them, they would have invested in an Xbox One instead of a PS4. :/ Doesn’t make much sense buying the competition’s console if it doesn’t have the games you REALLY want, for that would be like me buying a WiiU instead of a PS4 despite the fact the games I know I will want will soon be on PS4.

    • Anthony Tarantino

      Because there is no chance for the platform to ever make a comeback. Nope all is lost. The remaining 6 years will all go to Sony.

  • Patrick Hannan

    Microsoft makes tons of money from Xbox live and from marketplace sales. Everyone knows you don’t make money from hardware sales, in fact most of the time its a loss. I think most people with a grasp of the success of Microsoft and Sony would worry about the financial stability of the latter. Microsoft will always make money. The point of the windows phone is highly.inaccurate, as it is the fastest growing mobile device on the market. This isn’t a race but if you consider it to be one don’t forget the story of the tortoise and the hare.

    • Reed Richards

      Microsoft has never made money off xbox brand. The xbox brand is in the red has never made a profit. Microsoft investors and the board of directors want to get rid of the Xbox brand. Sony is cutting cost and now making a profit. Sony is worth 72 billion in assets and is no where near Bankruptcy. Microsoft Phones are a joke in the market at 5%. Android and apple OS have a monopoly on the market. XBoned720 is in serious trouble If the sales trends continue . Microsoft is losing market share and money on xboned720 . The PS4 is making a profit and is the fastest selling game consoles of all times in the history of gaming.

      • Patrick Hannan

        Not really sure where you’re getting any of your information but cleary its entirely incorrect

  • Rambo Deochenta

    Or..or they can release halo! Lolzzzzzz!!

  • datdude

    How does a so called “games journalist” not know that the ps3 already leads the 360 in global hardware sales, despite being available for more than one full year less than the 360, and not having the benefit of selling multiple consoles to the same consumers who already bought the product due to a massive hardware failure the way the 360 did? I would also ask how the same games journalist doesn’t know how many games are in production for the ps4 and xbone, when that info is easily verifiable, with Sony having many more games in development at the moment? Curious. I mean, a simple google search allows for at least a modicum of fact finding and verification, but apparently some games journalists can’t even bother to fact check before publishing inaccuracies.

    • Reed Richards

      ^ exactly couldn’t say it better myself

  • Corey

    who cares if they match. Who cares if xbox one hits 7 million slower than the PS4…..but 7 million xbox ones will most likely be sold. Just not as fast.

    Just like the PS3 and xbox360. Numbers seriously don’t matter. If the xbox one flopped and no-one bought it…it’d be a problem. But it’s selling fine. So none of this matters. As long as they keep working on it….bringing good features and good games. WHO CARES.

  • http://mediumentertainment.blogspot.com/ Eric Chrisman

    Guys, I appreciate the spirited discussion, but can we do it without resorting to name-calling and insults? That just makes everyone look childish and stupid (as does “he started it” so don’t do that either). I will comment on people claiming I have no idea what I’m talking about with the Windows phone-It’s 3rd in a three horse race with maybe 5% of the world market. Sure it’s had growth, but it virtually had nowhere to go but up, Android is by far the dominant OS with IOS taking up an extremely distant second (but making the most money). The rest of the phone market is bread crumbs for anybody else.

  • herrer

    Get rid of the camera nobody uses the kinect just have it separate from the system. They need to fix their PR since the launch of the system Microsoft had terrible PR with the DRM and they should have defended themselves instead of SONY defining them. Also its ridiculous to have to pay 60 dollars for a subcription just to get the full online experience when its free on SONY (yeah you have to pay to play online but at least the rest of the content is free). They also need to invest more with their first party studios. Both Nintendo and SONY invest and come up with great games for their first party studios.