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The newly announced circumcised version of the Xbox One that will come unbundled from the Kinect like a little Jewish boy comes unbundled from his foreskin, has caused quite a stir in the analytical community. In fact, analysts have moved up their forecasts in predicting when the Xbox One will overtake the PlayStation 4 in North America.
GamesIndustry.biz managed to get in word with IDC analyst and research manager, Lewis Ward, who told them that...
This change will be enough to push the Xbox One installed base higher than PS4 in the U.S. and Canada in 2015 rather than 2016. It kind of reminds me of Microsoft's evolution on Windows and IE. The initial design needs some serious help (i.e., last summer's DRM 'Xbox 180') and then improves to point of being a serious contender (this Kinect unbundling) and then vies for market share dominance (although I continue to believe PS4 will have the largest global installed base of any console at the end of 2016),"
As we previously reported, the Xbox One was supposed to overtake the PlayStation 4 in America in 2016, because well... apparently analysts believe American gamers aren't as spiteful as other gamers the world around, and they'll easily jump ship to a system just because it's cheaper and doesn't come with the NSA Spybox (which doesn't get underway until June 9th, but you can pre-order from Amazon right now).
There's a ton of factors to consider for a product moving enough units to capture complete market share within a specific region. But let's not ignore the main reason why the Xbox One is getting trounced in the console war like Rampage Jackson had his clock cleaned against Jon Jones: Microsoft royally screwed up.
Microsoft's blunders created indisputable momentous momentum for the PlayStation 4 and its sales.
That general perception doesn't just go away with a price cut and a castrated camera from the initial bundle.
The public still sees the Xbox One as the lesser-powered version of the PS4. This means that between now and 2015 Microsoft will have to give leery gamers a reason to buy into the Xbox brand, beyond name brand.
Tilting Point executive and former EEDAR analyst, Jesse Divinch, commented about the situation, saying...
"Early in a console's cycle, pricing has shown to correlate with install base. Later in a cycle, the strength of the software library, digital offerings, and social influences tend to have a stronger weight in the consumer decision process. As we witnessed with the PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3 transition, being the market incumbent doesn't always give you an advantage at the start of a new console generation. It's almost as if consumers hit the reset button at the start of every cycle and re-evaluate their gaming needs from a home console,"
If pricing was the factor then the Wii U should still be selling as much as the PlayStation 4.
It's so weird how these analysts have a job of analyzing the market but they completely skip over why some of these trends exist. The Wii U may be cheaper than both the PS4 and the Xbox One, but it doesn't have a strong enough market appeal to move equal amounts of units per month, and its library doesn't have enough “killer apps” to attract the casual market.
Right now the Xbox One doesn't have any exclusive killer apps, it lacks indie games and it lacks mid-budget games to help flesh out the library for someone who just wants a game system with a niche cache of titles. That's not to mention a lack of backwards compatibility and nothing standout so far that isn't just a better looking version of an Xbox 360 game.
A lot of the potential of the Xbox One's usurping of the PS4's position in America will boil down to Microsoft's E3 offerings this year. That's not to mention that the new head of the Xbox division, Phil Spencer, will have to completely resell the Xbox brand to everyone who was turned off with all things Microsoft following Don Mattrick's policies, the PRISM scandal and the ill-treatment of indies.
The only thing Microsoft left in the minds of the general gaming community was a feeling of schadenfreude.
As for the Xbox One... will it catch up to the PS4 or surpass it by next year in America? Not unless they have a blockbuster E3. Will it at least stop selling like a bunch of dirty, brown gym socks at Plato's Closet thanks to the price-cut? Most definitely.