Since the two consoles launched back in November 2013, the PS4 has consistently outdone the Xbox One in terms of sales. While Microsoft's Xbox One policies (including the always online requirement and the once mandatory Kinect add-on) were partly to blame, the fact that the Xbox One was $100 more expensive than its rival was also a key factor. So, late last year Microsoft dramatically slashed the console's price by $100 and then chopped another $50 off for a holiday deal that was scheduled to end in January – quite predictably Microsoft then extended the deal into the indefinite future in an effort to drum up more sales.
In some respects, Microsoft's plan to increase the Xbox One's sales has worked. On the back of Microsoft's own discounts (and a promotion that threw in a free game on top of any Xbox One console purchase – bundles included) and then Black Friday deals on top of that, Microsoft's console beat out the PS4 in the United States in both November and December of 2014 but the PS4 soon caught up in January 2015. Clearly, Microsoft has their work cut out for them, but now they're continuing the sales push having now announced the Halo: Master Chief Collection Xbox One bundle.
The bundle, which begins this month, includes an Xbox One console, a controller and the entire Halo: Master Chief Collection for $349. Released last fall, the Halo: Master Chief Collection includes Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4 which have all been given a fresh lick of paint for the current console generation. Given how important the Halo brand has been for the sales of Xbox consoles, the bundle makes sense as it will either encourage existing Halo fans to finally buy an Xbox One or it will help those on the fence decide which console to buy.
Furthermore, Microsoft is offering the Halo: Master Chief Collection at exactly the right time. Since it launched, players have constantly complained about the Master Chief Collection's matchmaking deficiencies, saying that it's incredibly difficult to get into the game's multiplayer modes. Last week, developer 343 Industries finally made good on their promise to fix it by releasing a major patch, so now that the game is working as intended there's less risk that these new Xbox One buyers will suffer from the same problems and be disappointed with their new console purchase.
Also interesting is that Microsoft isn't just offering this bundle deal in North America. The company explains that "the Xbox One Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundle is available in most regions where Xbox One is available" and that those interested should check with their "local retailers for more details on availability".
A lack of pricing information for those outside of the United States certainly isn't helpful, but it does at least indicate that Microsoft is going after the PS4's lead not just in North America (which is the Xbox brand's biggest market) but across the globe. Microsoft is even offering the Halo: Master Chief Collection bundle in Sony's home country of Japan, where consumers are offered a white Xbox One instead of the normal black version.
To see just how well this bundle affects sales, we'll have to wait until early April when the latest round of NPD results are released. But one thing's for certain and that's that Microsoft is hoping to land a mighty blow against Sony this spring.