If the Sony PlayStation brand dominates the East, with strong support for the console in Japan along with most of continental Europe, and Xbox has reigned supreme in North America (in terms of sales) for the majority of the last console generation, then consider the UK as the middle ground to fight over, where both brands have experienced steady competition for some time now. What it means is that the pressure to keep their footing is all the more higher as the interest of over 30 million British gamers is at stake. With the PS4 selling almost twice as many units as the Xbox One, according to PlayStation UK boss Fergal Gara, Microsoft’s recent decision to cut the Xbox One’s price in the region comes as little surprise.
Retailing for £400 in the region, the Xbox One is £50 pricier than its aforementioned competitor, a price driven up by the inclusion of the Kinect 2.0 camera, the mandatory peripheral add-on that the console comes with. New plans for a price drop see that £400 price remain, albeit with a copy of the much awaited Xbox and PC shooter, Titanfall thrown in, a game expected to be a system seller. Usually, an Xbox One and a copy of Titanfall would set buyers back by £430, so Microsoft chopping off £30 from that price could be a defining decision in improving their UK market share, especially given that a PS4 and game bundle would set buyers back by the same price.
However, while the move is likely to help Microsoft gain support, the discount is already receiving some backlash since it means that early adopters who have purchased the console prior to the 28th of February (when the Xbox One and Titanfall bundle is available to pre-order) have paid through the nose when holding out for just a few months or week could have seen the stress on their wallet lessened. The message being sent is, don’t support Microsoft hardware early.
The blow may be softened slightly, though, by Microsoft following up the Xbox One’s UK price cut announcement by also telling the media that the console is set to get Twitch streaming support, letting players who have bought an Xbox One, regardless of how much they purchased it for, stream their games over the web for their friends, followers and anyone else to tune in and watch them play – a feature that the PS4 launched with quite successfully (more stats here).
Emmett Shear, co-founder and CEO of Twitch, describes Twitch’s Xbox One offerings as a “complete integration,” adding that “It’s exciting because we’ve never had the ability to broadcast from a console like this with such a deep level of integration. The concept of being able to join a broadcasters’ party is really cool, and it’s another step in the direction of interacting more closely with broadcasters.” Perhaps when Twitch streaming becomes available on the console on the 11th of March, this too will increase Xbox One sales not just in the UK, but in the world over.
Titanfall is available on PC and Xbox One on March 11, 2014 in North America and March 14, 2014 in the UK. The Xbox 360 version releases March 25, 2014.