Earlier this year Microsoft announced a temporary Xbox One price cut (to $350) that would hopefully boost sales during the holiday season. And as it turned out the move did work, with Microsoft seeing significant upticks in Xbox One sales, even surpassing the PS4 in some territories.
However, now that the holiday season is winding down Microsoft is preparing to remove the special price tags. The $350 price will officially disappear from retail stores on January 3rd, so gamers still have a few more days to pick up an Xbox One at the discounted price.
Although some had thought that financial success might sway Microsoft to keep the discounted price, this was always a temporary thing. Microsoft knew that Sony was off to a big lead, but they believed that a perfectly timed sale might help them catch ground.
By all accounts the price cut did help Microsoft close the gap between them and Sony, and even forced the PS4 manufacturer to consider their own discounts. These PS4 price cuts weren't quite as prolific, but those who did happen to pick up a PS4 at a discounted rate likely have Microsoft to thank.
Dozens of retailers had individual Xbox One consoles and Xbox One bundles on sale for $350, and some still do. Microsoft reports that the Assassin's Creed Unity Bundle – with or without Kinect – is still selling for $50 off at participating retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Gamestop. But in a few short days those prices will go back up.
If this holiday season has taught us anything – outside of not to trust any developer, that is – it's that this current-gen console war is more intense than any before. Where manufacturers may have been fine operating with higher price points and losing sales - like Sony did with the PS3 - that will no longer work. Microsoft has needed to pivot in order to stay relevant and so far they have been able to do so, by eliminating used game restrictions, dropping Kinect, and now cutting their console's price during the holidays.
Now that the holidays are ending, however, the question becomes whether Microsoft or Sony have any other big moves up their sleeves, or if they think the next year's worth of exclusives will be enough to satisfy the install base while enticing new gamers. That could be the case given that each manufacturer has a major flagship title – Microsoft with Halo 5: Guardians and Sony with Uncharted 4: A Thief's End – on the horizon, but we will have to wait and see.
Did the $50 price cut entice you towards an Xbox One purchase? Should Microsoft make the $350 price permanent?
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