How Can The Xbox One Catch Up To The PS4?

We speak with a handful of analysts about the state of the Xbox One and what Microsoft needs to do to catch up to Sony.

The NPD Group released its industry sales figures for March 2014 earlier this month and the results showed another victory for Sony's PlayStation 4. It was yet again the top-selling console in the United States, outperforming the Xbox One, which shifted 311,000 units during the period.

This news was surprising to some, myself included, because Microsoft made aggressive moves during the month to sell more consoles. The company launched a system-seller game, Titanfall on March 11, and even released a special Titanfall Xbox One bundle that was almost immediately marked down to $450 by many retailers, Microsoft included.

At that lower price point and with a bundled game, shoppers still sided with the PS4, which begs the question: How can Microsoft turn things around? Or do the results of one month--very early on in the platform's lifecycle--not really mean much in the wider picture? To help us get a better understanding of the state of the Xbox One, we spoke with a handful of industry analysts. Below you'll find their thoughts, as well as commentary from GameSpot news editors.

Of note: We approached Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities, but he declined to participate. In addition, the comments you see below were made before Microsoft announced Tuesday that it would launch the Xbox One in China this September. China is a potentially lucrative market, and Microsoft will be the first of the major three platform holders (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo) to release a console there. However, it remains to be seen what kind of impact China's various manufacturing and content restrictions will have on the local game industry.

Colin Sebastian - Robert W. Baird

"I think if we didn't have the PS4 to benchmark Xbox One against, the perspective would be a little more positive. For example, unit sales of Xbox One are tracking 60 percent above Xbox 360 sales at a similar point post launch. But in an age where competition matters, Microsoft doesn't want to fall too far behind Sony. In terms of the March data, not a bad month for Xbox One, but the PS4 still has stronger momentum, which we attribute to the price difference, lack of consumer enthusiasm for Kinect, and otherwise similar features."

"Looking ahead, it is difficult to foresee any tipping point that would push Xbox One ahead of PS4. Both platforms have strong software pipelines in the months ahead, and both are adding incrementally to multi-media functionality as the battle for the living room unfolds. If market share matters more than anything else to Microsoft, they will slash the price of Xbox One, or even strip out Kinect; but those are very unlikely scenarios unless the PS4 market share advantage expands meaningfully from here."

Doug Creutz - Cowen & Company

"Titanfall did quite well, but...the PS4 still outsold the Xbox One in March in the US. I would make the following comments:

  1. Sony is still catching up supply to demand, whereas Microsoft is not. I think we will probably begin to see 'normal' numbers (i.e. no backlog for Sony in monthly numbers) by the end of Q2.
  2. While there was some effective price cutting going on, there was no major price cut announcement.
  3. While Xbox One is trending behind PS4, it is also trending ahead of where 360 was at similar point.
  4. We are still very early in the cycle. The PS4 lead over Xbox One in the US is still relatively narrow.

However, I do think Microsoft is clearly not in the position they hoped they would be in (i.e. slightly behind Sony in US and well behind on a worldwide basis). I think a sharper price cut before holiday 2014 is probably necessary if they want to catch up."

Arvind Bhatia - Sterne Agee

"I think Xbox One still has plenty of opportunity to improve sales. We are just in the first innings of the new cycle, as you know. Technically, both PS4 and Xbox One are not that different so it really boils down to its higher price compared to PS4. I think Microsoft should consider un-bundling Kinect and lower the standard price of Xbox One as soon as possible."

Justin Haywald - Senior GameSpot News Editor

We're early in the life cycle for both consoles, and Microsoft isn't doing poorly by any stretch of the imagination, but in the long term a gap in sales will only continue to hurt consumers' perception of the brand. A significant price cut is probably the most important thing that Microsoft can do to narrow the widening gap between them and the PlayStation 4.

I don't think Microsoft needs to necessarily get rid of the Kinect, but they've failed to make the case that it's an essential piece of additional hardware. And while a strong slate of Xbox One exclusives from third parties would be helpful, publishers have fewer and fewer reasons to develop exclusively for one platform anymore. Timed exclusives aren't enough anymore to really accelerate console sales--as we saw last month with Titanfall.

Adding entertainment options, as strange as it may seem, is actually closer to the right track: Microsoft needs to make the Xbox and its subscription feel like a worthwhile investment. They're already behind in offering the same kind of free games content that Sony gives to PlayStation 4 owners. But imagine if they pre-empted Sony with access to a streaming version of part of the Xbox 360 library (or at least part of the XBLA library) free to Live subscribers. On it's own, that wouldn't be enough, but that's the kind of direction that would make important inroads.

Eddie Makuch - GameSpot News Editor

"I was surprised that the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in March, a month where Titanfall led overall software sales. I thought such a strong and highly marketed game, coupled with price cuts on the Titanfall Xbox One bundle from many retailers to $450, would net Microsoft a victory. But that didn't happen. Still, it is far too early to say Microsoft is in trouble. The PS4 may be off to a red-hot start, but we are only six months into a console cycle that will probably last for the next decade. The Xbox One itself is showing positive signs (sales are up 60 percent over the Xbox 360 at the same point in its lifecycle), so the platform is clearly not hurting. Plus, we're heading into E3 where Microsoft likely has some major announcements in store for the future of the platform. Bet against Microsoft at your peril."

Do you think the Xbox One is in trouble? Let us know in the comments below!

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

853 comments
xxgrande
xxgrande

I have a ps4. I like video games. Pick one. Who cares. Have fun. OPINIONS don't matter. Neither of these companies are full of rejects, so just pick one and stop supporting the "console war".

Rushaoz
Rushaoz

I know a few ways..


1. Drop the Kinect from being bundled with every unit.


2. After the Kinect is dropped, make the system cheaper than the PS4. After all, it is weaker hardware and it would only make sense. 


3. Create and own their own developer studios instead of contracting existing studios to put out exclusive games for them.


3. Have Microsoft slap post its all over their headquarters so they remember that THIS IS A GAME CONSOLE BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE AND THAT GAMES COME FIRST.



snape4007
snape4007

Oh and dont think ur privacy is safe. The second i covered my laptops camera my mcafee completely stopped working called to here bullshit excuse from mcafee.  Im running xp a microsoft owned software ill be damned if i ever trust kinect or our governments respecr for privacy 

snape4007
snape4007

My dissapointment grows buy the day ps4 has little cmpetition my ideals are solid take the advice

snape4007
snape4007

Im ready to buy Xbox they proved they can lock loyal fans with fable n halo but let us have no kinect version please and soon 1tb ver at 450 n i buy kinect later when theres real reason 2 give a flying fuk 720p is irrelevant since updates will improve stop shootn ur foot micro give loyal adopters of kinect gift for having to buy it why is good will so hard u may find appreciation instead of whats happening at this rate ill see these changes in a year which is when i estimate my purchase by then u may closing door on catching up

Holden14
Holden14

Price it at $399.99 and voila, your sales will increase dramatically. People don't want to spend close to $600 on a console. With very few exclusives scheduled, and very few desirable launch titles, Microsoft is losing potential customers everyday to Sony. I've always been a fan of Xbox, but with this steep price, troublesome kinect, less powerful hardware, and lack of importance on actual gaming itself, the PS4 is starting to look very tempting. 

walshieeu
walshieeu

I have Xbox One and personally I feel the Kinect is a waste of money which should have been put into better making the console more powerful. The Kinect is ok and works for me about 80% of the time but it needs to work 99% of the time otherwise it's much easier and less stressful to just use a controller. As well as this it's hard to use it at night when people are in bed in the next room as I have to speak quite loud to get it to hear me from across the room. I really wish they would have focused more on gaming and making/ improving the apps for us to allow gamers to better record and edit content, as well as more on demand services in the UK as big name apps are missing, e.g BBC and itv players and SKY Go/ On demand.

grove12345
grove12345

congratulations Justin Haywald. Yours is the only comment not to make a narrow minded generic suggestion. Im disappointed in just about all these responses except for Justins. 

If XB1 accepted that it cant pump the graphics the PS4 can than they might find other strengths. As of right now both consoles offer less content and options than their previous selves. Work on customization, apps, linking in Windows 8 (it is MS after all), be your own style.

joshwillis
joshwillis

All things considered both consoles seem to be doing well.  This doesn't have to be a binary either/or situation.  There's more than enough room in the console market for two major players.

mohamed-mgs
mohamed-mgs

my  opinion the first major problem behind that is 720p thing , and the second problem price , for example  call of duty  1080 in ps4 and 720 in xbox one ,,,Microsoft should  problem of 720 games  as soon as possible  should be no difference between multiplatfom games ,,and second  should cut price 100$ and keep kincet or cut more than 100 for bundle without kenct ,,if Microsoft fix  these problems  ,i'm very sure  xbox one will sell greater than ps4  

meedokicky
meedokicky

Easy! Turn kinect on:

Xbox; Catch up!

Gadeos
Gadeos

I insist: X1 looks strong right now with its upcoming exclusives, while PS4 is slowing down. If Sony doesn't show cool new IP for PS4 on this E3, X1 could have a good chance of catching up, specially when is soon to launch on new markets around the world. In any case, this competition between those two is great for us gamers

istuffedsunny
istuffedsunny

MS thought wrong that they could sell a game console to non-gamers. That just doesn't happen. The PS2 was an exception because when it came out it was a DVD player that was cheaper than most DVD players. What does the Xbone do?

obywan
obywan

There is a market and there are products. Its obvious that one product will sell more and one will sell less. If everyone stopped seeing this as a race and started talking about the actual games like it didn't matter which the platform they're on, it'll all be so easier. Unless you're a MS or Sony shareholder!

grimlord_xvii
grimlord_xvii

Microsoft are focusing on making a media machine, not a games console. While that's all fine and dandy, the target market of GAMERS want a games console, nothing more, nothing less. The PS4 is a games console with additions, whereas the XB1 is a Media Machine that plays games.

greaseman1985
greaseman1985

As soon as it goes on sale in China it will catch up. It is a HUGE market.

obiken
obiken

IF MS would have rolled out a system by gamers for gamers they would have owned us. I was an Xbox guy, they lost me.

If either one ran emulation software to cover the games of the previous generation they would own the field. I would run to PS3 in an instant to play the old games but I have too much downloadable content just to trash my 360 just to become a total Sony guy.

IndremaLover
IndremaLover

MS's strategy of being an "all-in-one" entertainment device to appeal to the mass market was a great idea in theory.  In practice, it's not working.  Many households like mine purchased the console to control TV, cable, sound system, et. through voice commands - that only work 75-90% of the time.  While this is fine for me, my family got frustrated and gave up and we had to disconnect the cable, rendering it only a game machine.  

MS forgot the all important "family acceptance factor" needed when introducing new tech into a home.



SambaLele
SambaLele

They have to drop the Kinect (at least make it optional), redirect the focus they have on TV content and media box functions to games, they also must drop the price... actually, if this continues, the next step would be improve the hardware to equal the PS4's, and then there would be a PS4 clone on the market.


Is that MS' salvation?

theluckygamers
theluckygamers

ok, cutting the price and including a game right now is pointless. Anyone who wanted the xbox one all ready bought it. This is something that needs to happen before holiday. Its an incentive to purchase one system over the other. I can say though, them cutting the price so early on and including the free game is shit to those of us who support them. I see it as a slap to the face of those who were loyal enough to preorder or wait in long lines to get it. Where is the incentive to them? No, they say, "hey, lets lower the price so we can sell more to newer customers. Who cares about the people who all ready paid $500 and no free game. We have their money all ready". I understand that prices have to drop, but only 3 months after the release and offering a free game is really shitty to do. There should have been some compensation to those who all ready got the system. I believe Microsoft dug their own grave the day they thought they knew what the consumer wanted more than the consumers. No used games, no disc, online all the time mandatory. Those hurt them, and even though they retracted and gave us what we want, it left a bad taste in the consumers mouth. Plus, Microsoft isn't exactly trust worthy. Im sure people feel that once the system is in your house, they can change back to that original concept and there is nothing you can do about it. 

Heil68
Heil68

MS needs to follow SONY's proven by gamers for gamers mantra. 


santinegrete
santinegrete

If the forever struggling makes 'em release and get great games like PS3 had to do, it's gonna be cool.

heroplastic
heroplastic

The answer to the article's title is simple: It Can't.

sonicare
sonicare

You want the real answer.  Drop the price by $100.  Did MS learn nothing from last generations fiasco with the ps3?  When you are significantly more expensive than your competitor, you're going to lose.  People can argue all they want about this feature or that, but in the end, price seems to make the biggest difference.  Did the xbox 360 have better hardware or an unbeatable line up of games last gen?  The ps3 didnt start to catch up until its price dropped.  Same thing will happen with the Xbox ONE.

oflow
oflow

@Holden14  its already $450 on microsofts' website which is the same price as a ps4 with a game.  The $600 price is no more.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@istuffedsunny  "What does the Xbone do?" 

It does everything but what I want a gaming console to do, play games. Allocate all of its processing power in producing the sleekest and prettiest experiences it can.

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

@grimlord_xvii nothing more? speak for yourself, i like my games console that can snap sky sports in the background, my media center that is voice controlled. The no end of apps nearly all of which can be snapped an ran at the same time as playing a game. I want more. Xbox is more fun because you can do more on it. it gets alot more day to day use than my ps4 before of all the features.... try something before judging it, ps4 is ok but its lost basic multi media features ps3 had, and even they sony gamers have been complaining about lack of media support. Well guess what xbox has media support and more + you can snap it all and play games at the same time. Both consoles can do 1080p 60 fps, granted ps4 has more 1080p 60 fps games but both struggle with it, they both have games sub 1080 and sub 60 fps....



Just take for yourself man not all of us. I am a true gamer i have a gaming rig, ps4 xbone and damm near every console thats ever come out. Xbone is a step in the right direction. Your stuck in the past and why? brand loyalty? fanboyism? xbox is awsome. ps4 carnt even sipport audio cds... you know like the first ever playstion did. What a leap forward

dfuknb
dfuknb

@greaseman1985  Very unlikely. It is a huge MArket but with the Censorship laws for games that means no games rated above E would ever reach China's shores. Plu no to mention China has relied heavily on PC for gaming so I'm sure they don't wanna lower the Graphics and abilities just to get locked into an eco system for exclusives.. I think All consoles wont do well in China.

dominicanboy100
dominicanboy100

@obiken  shame dude go and have fun with sony, to be honest i owned both console, but i love MC cause they got more stuff to offer me and my family, yea my family as well... my family love to play kinect games while i stock with bf4 and titanfall, my dad sometimes used skype, for me its a good thing MC focus in gaming but entertainment as well...  

icerado
icerado

I appreciate the honesty here. But why has no one realized that Sony was the company to coin the media box with the ps3?? Every xbone fanboy is pretending the Xbox does so much more.

Realistically the ps3 started this and failed at it...so they turned to focusing on games because no one cared that you could stream things with a ps3. Now xbone thought they'd do the same and succeed by forcing you to pay for the one thing that actually controls the media box.

They are failing miserably. MS isn't trying to give you something you've never had. They are trying to hide a weaker console. Remember how they tried to convince you that an external drive could play hd DVD???

How many of you fell for that and got nothing in return? Or wait you weren't worried about your console playing blurays but now you're worried about what it can do in the media ring.

Don't think Sony isn't holding back on features for e3. Its only a matter of software updates to include everything the ps3 did and more.

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

@IndremaLover you could have left it plugged in and you know... just used the normal remotes lol its not like they stop working for your sky box. besides when its just T.V running the voice commands run very well like 98% of the time. sure it suck when running a demanding game at the same time, but when watching T.V it reserves enough resources for kinect to work well... and it does work

greaseman1985
greaseman1985

@IndremaLover So just because it didn't work through voice command (which will be improved with time) you decided to stop using it instead of, oh I don't know, use the damn Xbox controller?

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

@SambaLele there is no way MS will drop kinect lol. its built into the system from the ground up. And clearly people want it or none would buy it... all it is is a mic n camera... well the eye is ps4 best selling accessory, sony themself are having supply issues because of its popularity. 4.5 million xbones sold and brobly billions of webcams solf for pcs over the years.

 People just need to accept that kinect is not an optional, its part of the product... dont like it, dont buy it

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

@theluckygamers i bought ps3 at launch, you think sony gave me my money back or anythink along the lines you are suggesting would be fair?


no because your complaints are stupid. you regurgitating the same old fanboy nonsence and what you really want to say can be summed up by...


im a ps4 fanboy and i hate xbox one


atleast be honest with your posts

rybanoyd
rybanoyd

@Heil68 I think what you mean is "by Japanese, for Japanese" haha.

nickpeck36
nickpeck36

@jenovaschilld @istuffedsunny Funny, it plays all of the games I have played on it just fine.  #'s don't mean everything.  Things will get better as the hardware is better understood and dev software improves along with system drivers.  It's hardly 6 months in, we have several years before this "argument" even matters.

souljacker47
souljacker47

@kovaras1984 @grimlord_xvii 

It's nice it can do all those things, but how many people are actually using Xbox One as a media station?  I tried all the features and wasn't impressed. My TV/Blu Ray can do almost everything the Xbox one does (except the snap-in) and I don't have to pay a yearly fee to access those features. I don't really care about the 1080p / 60 fps controversy. I just want good games and if it runs in 720p, I am fine with that. Most hard core gamers want a gaming machine. MS doesn't care. They want a money box that they can soak you for every penny they can by making you pay for subscriptions you can get for free anywhere else.


I have all the systems (always favored Xbox because I like the controller better), but MS is making it hard for Xbox fans to stay loyal. They don't have the gamer in mind (they proved this by trying to enforce these ridiculous policies on us before launch and trying to force that kinect down our throats)...The gamers rebelled and now look at the sales. Yes, we are bitter and it will take time to get over this attempted screwing. 


I hope both succeed. But again, I bought this to play games...And MS made games secondary on this thing. Yes, some people out there love the novelty of talking to a box and snapping their apps, but I think the "true" gamers just want to play games.

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

@dfuknb @greaseman1985 as if, ok bf4 is gone but forza dead rising, rayman, titanfall. tome raider, lego hobbit, thief... the list goes on n on atm, there are not many offensive games out atm.

MegyeriJ
MegyeriJ

@kovaras1984 @SambaLele  "dont like it, dont buy it " - That's exactly what they are doing, not buying it. It's not that peopledon't want it, they just don't want to be forced to have it\use it. Especially since MS hasn't really given any one a truly good reason too.

MegyeriJ
MegyeriJ

@greaseman1985 @Heil68  you do understand the term "win win situation" right? Of course Sony, like any other company, cares about it's customers....we're the one's that buy this sh*t, they literally have to care. 

dfuknb
dfuknb

@greaseman1985 @Heil68  No but they built something they knew we would love so they could reep the profits dummie lol Win Win Situation.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@nickpeck36 @jenovaschilld @istuffedsunny  Well i have no allegiance to any console i just play games and have been gaming and modding systems for almost 15 years. The fact is allocation of ram and architecture is split up, part for gaming and part for running the bloated operating system. The ps4 does this also but it is not running a dvr, social apps, so every little headshot can be loaded upto youtube and every time you take a shit it can be instantly broadcast to what ever social site you deem worthy. 

This allows the ps4 to utilize as much resources towards gaming as possible while xbox1 is multitasking american idol facebook in the back ground. Things will get better for xb1 as devkits and toolsets mature, but that is also true for the ps4 - things will keep looking better each and there will not be no catching up for xb1 - but more and more games will be coded to ps4 and cpu specs then downgraded for xb1. But none of this matters if there is not the games, and so far its been better then most launches but we have had the largest time in between generations yet. 

A bold step xb1 needs to do is come out with a low resource mode pushing as much ram and processing power toward games as possible - that may stop constant recording, background apps, social apps, when your playing a game but will allow better performance for the price. If you must have the kardasians every movement even when your gaming - you can keep it as is.  

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

@mrsec84 @kovaras1984@dfuknb@greaseman1985as if, that means more like gt5 n such, There are many violent video games out in china all ready, not all will make it but there are games like this out over there all ready.... they have a Modern warefare looking game that looks quiet good

mrsec84
mrsec84

@kovaras1984 @dfuknb@greaseman1985 Anything violent would be blocked.


Dead Rising, Tomb Raider, Titanfall, Ryse, COD & Thief likely wouldn't make it through because of China's censorship rules.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@kovaras1984 then buy other games. Do you blame construction workers that built the house if you run into wall on purpose?