Xbox UK marketing director calls 2016 a tipping point for Xbox One, saying the console's momentum builds confidence within the industry going into 2017.
It’s no secret that for the last few years since they launched, Sony’s PlayStation 4 has consistently outsold Microsoft’s Xbox One. With more than 40 million units sold worldwide, PlayStation 4 has outperformed Xbox One nearly every month since release.
However, that changed this summer. Beginning in July, Xbox One sales picked up, taking over the top spot in console sales since. That momentum has been good for Xbox, which released the Xbox One S and announced next year’s Project Scorpio, both of which offer features not currently available on any PlayStation 4 device.
These successes together constitute what one Microsoft executive is claiming to be a “turning point” for Xbox One. According to Xbox UK marketing director Harvey Eagle, gamers and the industry will remember 2016 as the turning point for Xbox One, and the start of a momentous rise in the industry. While speaking with GI.biz, Eagle offered Microsoft’s point-of-view about 2016’s Xbox One sales, and what it means for the future of the console and company.
Momentum is really important in this business, because it gives confidence to retailers, publishers, and to consumers. We are giving them confidence that they have made a right point. I think we'll look back on 2016 as a tipping point for Xbox One.
That momentum carried though to Black Friday, where Xbox One held the top spot among gamers, at least with online sales. That momentum has poised Microsoft to “sustain and build” on the success it’s had going into 2017, according to Eagle.
When it comes to November, it’s possible PlayStation 4 may reclaim the throne. Analysts have pointed out that PlayStation 4 won online sales on Cyber Monday, and was in the lead in November going into the big holiday shopping weekend. However, that may not hamper the success Xbox One has seen in recent months. Momentum can be a powerful force in the gaming industry, and if Microsoft uses the momentum it’s gained correctly, it could see that success continue into 2017.
Speaking of 2017, Eagle referenced a few big launches Microsoft is planning next year for Xbox One, each of which could have strong benefits for the console maker. Halo Wars 2, which was featured during The Game Awards 2016, along with Sea of Thieves, are two of the top tier exclusives set for 2017. Additionally, Project Scorpio, while still fairly unknown, will deliver a powerhouse experience for gamers that’s already slated to outperform PS4 Pro in many key ways.
Eagle also noted that there are many households that still use their Xbox 360 consoles, and haven’t made the switch yet to Xbox One. Naturally, Microsoft is looking to capture those sales this holiday season, and is working diligently to make the upgrade appealing to Xbox 360 owners. Eagle said:
Our data shows that there is still a significant number of households actively using their Xbox 360 who haven't upgraded yet. [The backwards compatibility list] is growing all the time and I think it is definitely a benefit for Xbox 360 owners, to know that the money that they've already spent on games won't get wasted when they upgrade to Xbox One.
At the moment, there are more than 280 games available on Xbox One’s backward compatibility, with new games coming to backward compatibility every month. If Microsoft continues like it has, it may be enough to drive Xbox 360 owners to the store to pick up an Xbox One.
We’ll note that while Xbox seems to have great momentum at the moment, it may be impossible for Microsoft to catch PlayStation 4’s sales. Granted, continued success and leading in the sales will benefit Xbox One sales tremendously, but as Xbox's Phil Spencer said this time last year, PlayStation 4’s lead may be too large at this point. In the meantime, there’s plenty to celebrate at Xbox headquarters, and the team there will undoubtedly take any success they can get.
What do you think about 2016 being a tipping point for Xbox One? Will the Microsoft console make a surge to catch PlayStation 4, or is that impossible at this point?