2016 Will Be Remembered as a "Tipping Point" for Xbox One, Microsoft Says
"Momentum is really important in this business."
While Sony's PlayStation 4 remains the dominant new-generation home console in terms of units sold, Microsoft's Xbox One has been on a streak for a good chunk of 2016. It's been the best-selling console in the United States since July and in the UK and Australia since September. According to one report, the Xbox One outperformed the PS4 on Black Friday. Now, Xbox UK marketing director Harvey Eagle has come out to say 2016 will be remembered in gaming circles as a "tipping point" in the Xbox One's history.
"Momentum is really important in this business, because it gives confidence to retailers, publishers, and to consumers," Eagle told GI.biz. "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."
We will know if Microsoft can extend its streak to five months, when the NPD Group releases hardware figures for November next Thursday, December 8.
Looking ahead to 2017, Eagle said Microsoft is well-positioned to "sustain and build on" the momentum from 2016. He called out first-party games like Halo Wars 2 and Sea of Thieves as being top titles for the year, while the executive also mentioned Project Scorpio as being a growth-driver. The console, which is more powerful than the Xbox One but does not replace it, goes on sale in holiday 2017.
Another point of focus for Microsoft this holiday and beyond will be to convince more Xbox 360 owners to migrate to Xbox One. Eagle said the Xbox One's backwards compatibility feature should help ease the transition between platforms for people who are on the fence.
"Our data shows that there is still a significant number of households actively using their Xbox 360 who haven't upgraded yet," Eagle said. "[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."
There are now more than 280 games in the Xbox One's backwards compatibility catalog. People have spent more than 210 million hours playing Xbox 360 games on Xbox One since the feature went live in November 2015, so it's clearly a feature people are interested in.
In October 2015, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the PS4's sales lead, at the time, was so large that he wasn't sure if the Xbox One could ever catch up. Spencer added that the situation surrounding the Xbox One's launch, marked by dramatic policy reversals and controversial comments from executives who have since left the company, had a negative effect on the platform's ability to have a strong start.
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