Will the Xbox One Ever Catch up to the PS4?

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In about a month from now, it would be 2 years since the next gen consoles were revealed and and that would roughly make under 15 months since the PS4 and Xbox One launched; given that all this time has passed, we’ve constantly looked at where the console wars are heading, and how each console can continue to do better, and add value to the consumer base, thereby increasing their sales.

There’s no doubt about it, that the PS4 has had a good 8-9 months lead at a global scale over the Xbox One, and the sales figures continue to show that. The biggest challenge both consoles faced initially was the price – however given that the price wars were played well through most of 2014; at least for the Xbox One, they’ve still haven’t necessarily caught up in a big way.

The sales gap continued to widen through most of 2014 (FORBES)
The sales gap continued to widen through most of 2013 and early 2014 (FORBES)

Maybe the world is reacting more strongly to the fact that Sony announced their sales figures of of 18.4 million sales; Microsoft has done nothing to rebuttal that just yet.

Over a year ago, we published our article on what the Xbox One must do to start giving gamers what they want, after the PS4 was launched in Japan. One of the many things we pointed out was to drop the Kinect or go all out on the Home Entertainment angle. It’s good to see that the Kinect was dropped, leading to a price drop as well, which has definitely boosted sales of the Microsoft console. While Sony hasn’t done anything remotely near to a price drop; and they’ve continued to push forward in sales, and are poised to probably be the winner of this generation of consoles.

Now, back to the real question at hand:

Will the Xbox One ever catch up to the PS4 in terms of sales?

The short answer is yes. But in order for us to see why and how, let’s understand a few things.

Firstly, both consoles are nearly identical. Ok, sure, the PS4 is more powerful; and certainly had a ‘first movers’ advantage, but when you look at it from an overall perspective, both consoles have more similarities in terms of specs, hardware, capabilities etc. Microsoft certainly hit some right notes with their price drops, and Kinectless bundles; but is that enough? apparently not.

Secondly, the console wars have done little to differentiate themselves. Both are capable systems, for the most part of the games run and look similar on both consoles – sure, you can nit pick a few high resolution images and say otherwise; however, there’s little to distinguish performance on both systems. Both consoles, have a stellar line up of games, coming in 2015, both exclusives and multi-platform games line up are looking spectacular!

Thirdly, you have strong contenders with the Wii U and the PC. Let’s not forget the other players in the arena as well. While they may not necessarily be received the same number of exclusives, but they are certainly getting many of the multi-platform games that would release for the PS4 and Xbox One. How does this matter? Wii U started showing some teeth in 2014 with games like Mario Kart 8 and Bayonetta 2, and it has a pretty decent line up in 2015 as well; but Wii U has taken 3 years to get to this point. Not even remotely suggesting that the Wii U could win the console war, but the point I’m trying to make, is that the console certainly did take its time to get into its stride, especially considering the whole Wii U tablet/remote thingy.

This where Microsoft and Nintendo really floundered. Trying something new isn’t a bad thing, but when executed poorly, with limited vision, and then dropping the ball, will lead to disastrous results. Microsoft tried the whole, home entertainment angle, and the force bundling of the Kinect – prior to that, they wanted to go discless, and they put their corporate spin on sharing games and what not. Microsoft has learnt from these mistakes, and made changes, but at some level, it’s really shattered confidence amongst developers and gamers.

The Bottom Line – is the Xbox One Done?

Microsoft will have to play out the tough knocks in order to WIN back confidence, its just a question of time. Microsoft is certainly no slacker, and will continue to innovate to give gamers what they want, because they’ve now realized, that Sony is doing just that; plain, simple and no non-sense customer experience – for both, gamers and developers.

The way developers and consumers see the consoles is almost the same; but for different reasons – developers like a platform that’s easy to code for, can allow their imagination to run wild, try out new things and eventually deliver a consistent quality.Similarly, gamers like a platform, that’s no nonsense, less shuffling around by the companies, one that gives them the choice of what and how they want to use their hardware for. The underlying statement here is ‘Stability’. The PS4 has proved to be the stable one right from launch, and it’s pretty much become the ‘default’ or ‘go to console’ for developers. Remember how the Xbox 360 was to start with? Developers had such a hard time with understanding the cell processor of the PS3, they just went with Xbox 360 as the default console, and everything else was ported to the PS3. Eventually that changed, but Xbox One finds itself in a similar spot as of now.

The Fight is on!

With PS4 now launching the PlayStation Now, service, it’s getting itself into a really good position to really sink it’s teeth into the Xbox One. While the Xbox One has freed up an additional core for more power; it’s clear that they’re trying to make something happen (even if it wasn’t Microsoft themselves that did that). All said an done, 2015 is still going to be the PS4’s year. A year ago, if came down to buying a console, most would just opt for a PS4; but now folks are really thinking through and having to make a tough decision, based on the incredible line up that’s in store for 2015.

This is what Microsoft needs to capitalize on. 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 2016 Microsoft will have to give gamers on the fence a reason to buy into the Xbox brand, beyond name brand.

ps4-vs-xbox-one-meme
Microsoft NEEDS to change this perception

 

The more they can offer gamers, the more that decision is going to swing in their favor. It’s a long hard fight that’s ahead for the Xbox One, but we believe, that the Xbox One can and eventually will overtake the PS4 in terms of sales, provided, they move to giving gamers what they want. A lot of which will be hinged on E3 2015.

What do you think? Does it matter? Who even cares, as long as gamers win, right?

 

 

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