It’s no secret that the Xbox One’s sales have struggled to keep up with the PlayStation 4’s. At the beginning of the console’s lifecycle, would-be buyers were turned off by the always-online requirement (which Microsoft nixed before launch due to the backlash) as well as the mandatory Kinect add-on which made the console $100 more expensive than its rival. Microsoft has since tried hard to get the Xbox One back into consumer’s good graces, offering standalone Xbox One consoles without Kinect.
In further efforts to make their console more affordable, Microsoft introduced a temporary price-cut in North America over the holidays, selling the Xbox One bundle for as little as $350. The promotion performed so well that the Xbox One successfully sold more units than the PlayStation 4, so Microsoft relaunched the promotion. The Xbox One’s time at the top was short-lived, though, and the PS4 is leading the pack once again.
However, after Microsoft had a strong showing at E3 2015, where they announced that the Xbox One would be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games, the company is positive that they will sell “millions” of Xbox One units this holiday season. In an interview with GameSpot, Microsoft executive Aaron Greenberg revealed that:
“A lot of people have been waiting for the next Halo; a lot of people have been waiting for Gears; a lot of people have been waiting for backwards compatibility. And so we think having all of that coming this holiday; we expect we’re going to see a massive migration. We expect millions of Xbox 360 owners to migrate and move to Xbox One. We see that the majority of people who buy an Xbox One today own an Xbox 360. So our fanbase has stayed very loyal. And frankly, they’re waiting for those new releases to come this year.”
While some may be doubtful about those sales estimations given the Xbox One’s rocky past, there’s some evidence that Greenberg may be correct. In August last year, research done by Nielsen suggested that one-third of PS4 owners didn’t own a PS3 and in fact had migrated from either the Xbox 360 or the Nintendo Wii. So while not every Xbox 360 game will be compatible with the Xbox One when the feature launches later this year, backwards compatibility could give many last-gen gamers a reason to buy Microsoft’s new machine instead of Sony’s.
Furthermore, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Fallout 4 (which has gameplay features exclusive to the Xbox One) will all be released this year, whereas many of the games that Sony showed off at E3 2015, such as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Last Guardian won’t be available until 2016. And on top of this, Microsoft just unveiled the 1TB Xbox One, which could be a hot ticket item during the holidays.
As for Microsoft’s plans to boost the Xbox One’s sales between now and the holiday season, the company does have another trick up its sleeve; more savings. Between June 21-27, participating retailers in the United States will allow consumers to get any Xbox One game for free when they buy the console. This is obviously a temporary band-aid and one that doesn’t address the Xbox One’s trailing sales in Europe and Japan, but Microsoft has at least made it clear that they won’t take second place lying down.