A minor news story in the UK perhaps, but in the US the announcement that Microsoft’s flagship console has made the Toys R Us ‘Fabulous 15 – Hot Toys’ list has ignited yet more fury and argument amongst the die-hard fans of each console. This, seemingly innocuous, list has caused much debate with accusations of a ‘Microsoft pay off’ lining the pockets of Toys R Us top brass (we’d call it paying for advertising and be done with it).
Words and slurs have been traded on both sides with the general feeling from the Sony camp (I should make sure here that I mean the Sony fanboy camp, not Sony Computer Entertainment America) being that the only reason Xbox One made the top 15, whereas the PS4 is ‘languishing’ in the top 36, is to do with money exchanging hands.
Xbox fanboys, on the other hand, have responded in a variety of ways including some proclaiming Xbox One the worthy winner of this next generation war before a single unit sells – others branding Sony fans as being ‘insecure’ about ‘their’ console (which is interesting, because I doubt any of them have ANY finances invested in the success of the PS4).
So exactly where does the truth lie? Well, if you’ll indulge my hypothesis, I imagine the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
It certainly DOES have to do with money, but not back-handers in darkened car parks (well, maybe that too, who knows?), but more to do with front end sales. The ‘Fabulous 15’ list is designed to guide parents towards what gifts to buy little Eric and Maud for Christmas, not decree which is the best and SHOULD be bought. Of course, the lost and confused parents (or those who don’t listen to their child’s demands) might rely on such a list. In this case, it makes perfect sense to have the Xbox One as the only BIG console on that top 15 list.
Well, think about what we know already. PS4 pre-orders are through the roof already, well over a million pre-orders were reported over a month ago. Sony have themselves announced that there may be stock shortages in some of the 32 territories they are planning to launch, due to such unprecedented demand. Microsoft, on the other hand, have been only too happy to announce that they should have more Xbox One consoles available (for the smaller market of 13 countries they are launching in).
So what would you promote? The console that has already sold and whose pre-orders you may struggle to meet? Or the console that should be in abundant supply because, currently, there are FAR less pre-orders in the pot. Say what you like about Toys R Us, accuse them of taking back handers if you must. But, for my money, they are making the smart move. Promoting the Xbox One above the PS4 in the run up to Christmas won’t hurt either console’s sales (it may support Microsoft on the face of it), but they are in the business of selling toys to kids and they SHOULD be promoting the toys they expect to have available.
What’s your take? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Richard is a father, teacher, gamer and writer. He believes that The Last of Us and Olli Olli 2 are the finest games ever made, feels that the StarWars Saga should only be watched in ‘the Machete order’ and once cleared Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in one sitting. Took him 20 hours, four cups of tea and a sausage roll. You can follow him on twitter @TLOUFactionsMP or @VigilanteSanta and view his occasional twitch outbursts on twitch.tv/spooklebeans.