In the eight months immediately following the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches in November of 2013, Sony, riding high on major public relations victories over Microsoft, led next-gen console sales by a supposed margin of nearly two to one. Despite selling at a pace much quicker than the last-gen-market-leading Xbox 360 did during the same point in its life cycle, the Xbox One was lagging far behind the PlayStation 4 in market share.
So Microsoft made some changes.
Executives Don Mattrick and Marc Whitten left the company. Phil Spencer took over as the head of the Xbox team. Kinect was unbundled from the console. Larger multimedia initiatives were cut entirely or made ancillary in favor of a focus on gaming first and foremost. Finally, the Xbox One’s price was temporarily (for the holidays) dropped to $350 with a $60 retail game bundled in.
Those maneuvers seem to be paying off, as data reporting firm InfoScout found that the Xbox One enjoyed a Black Friday sales lead of 22 percent over the PlayStation 4, according to data compiled from more than 180,000 sales receipts. InfoScout followed up by conducting a survey of 350 consumers who purchased a console on Black Friday, and found that 71 percent of Xbox One buyers cited cost as a major influence on their purchase. Comparatively, just 48 percent of PlayStation 4 buyers surveyed indicated that price played a major role in their purchase decision.
Though those findings were limited in scope, it was just last month that Microsoft was all too happy to point out that it saw total Xbox One sales more than triple in the first week the new price was in effect.
“The response to this wave of blockbuster game releases and new bundles has been amazing, and sales have skyrocketed since the new price took effect on Nov. 2,” Yusuf Mehdi, the Xbox’s Corporate Vice President of Marketing, Strategy and Business, wrote on Xbox Wire. “Compared to the previous week, Xbox One sales in the US have more than tripled, which is exciting as more and more friends will be playing together this holiday. As we head into the busy holiday season Xbox One led generation 8 console sales in the US for the past two weeks. Shortly, we will have sold in to retailers more than 10 million Xbox One consoles.”
Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen is also bullish on Xbox One sales.
Gamasutra reports that Jorgensen, speaking last month at the UBS Global Technology Conference, allowed that “Sony has jumped out to a lead with a great console, and I think a great pricing strategy,” but noted that “Microsoft is catching up quickly” in the company’s estimation.
Continuing, Jorgensen also noted the importance the of Xbox One’s price drop. He said that “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.” He believes that the total installed base for all next-gen consoles will exceed 25 million by the time the holidays are over with.