It’s all kicking off in the games console world – Microsoft vs. Sony. Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4. Sony fairly obviously won the media over, saying the PS4 can do basically anything that the Xbox can’t. But who is actually winning in terms of pre-orders? Are people still buying next generation consoles? Let’s face it – the Wii U flopped. It was a massive disappointment for Nintendo, selling just 160,000 units globally between April and June this year. Combine this with the fact that there has been a huge shift towards mobile gaming on smartphones, and you have an industry full of games console makers worried about the future, alongside experts doubting the success of next generation consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
One thing’s clear – console manufacturers needed to come up with a way to make a difference and keep users excited about the traditional games market.
Microsoft was the bravest manufacturer in some ways – making changes it believed would revolutionise the gaming experience. But limitations that emerged such as the restrictions on games sharing, the need to connect to the internet every 24 hours and Kinect usage caused uproar from users and critics. Sony used these criticisms to its advantage, creating campaigns that showed the PS4 doing everything that users couldn’t on the Xbox One.
Putting in politely, this was a PR nightmare for Microsoft – who then backtracked on many of these features so as not to lose a previously loyal audience. But was the damage already done or have they recovered to match Sony in terms of pre-orders?
Unfortunately for Microsoft, it’s not looking promising. Recent reports show that pre-order PlayStation 4 bundles are almost sold out on the Amazon Store. The International Business Times reported that this also came as the Xbox One Day Edition fell from being the sixth best-selling device on Amazon for the entire year, down to the seventh.
It doesn’t seem like Microsoft is helping itself out much either – just this week the company announced that release of the next generation console will be delayed in eight countries.
Some industry analysts do predict that the Xbox One could still go on to out-ship the PS4 following Microsoft’s policy changes though. COO of EA, Peter Moore, said that Microsoft claim Xbox One pre-orders to be ahead of Sony’s PS4 – but we’ve heard no other solid reports of this so far.
Baird industry analyst, Colin Sebastian, also feels Microsoft may have an advantage at launch, as it has a larger number of consoles it will be able to make available.
Despite next generation consoles like the Xbox One causing some controversy, statistics show that it’s not the end of traditional games consoles. Gaming giant EA revealed that pre-orders for the Xbox One are trending ahead of Xbox 360 – the best-selling US console – while Sony have said the PS4 release could be their ‘biggest hardware launch ever’.
On top of this, data from leading gadget recycling comparison site CompareMyMobile.com shows that there was a rise in the number of valuations of games consoles following the official reveal of both of these next generation devices. A survey of recycle stores showed that this resulted in trade-in values of all consoles seeing a rise of 18.79%, which experts say is very unusual for the site.
All of this evidence supports the view that traditional games console users still want to experience games in this way – and who can blame them? With better graphics cards and more memory there’s a lot to be said for a machine built specifically for a rounded gaming experience.
But it seems gamers aren’t ready for changes as big as Microsoft attempted to implement – so manufacturers need to find another way to keep users happy while still keeping up with the multimedia, online world.
Both devices are expected to hit UK shelves in November – which one will you be buying?