Only last week many online retailers, most notably Zavvi, dropped the price of the Xbox One to £20 below the R.R.P of £429.99. Since then the price has gone back up. This could be online retailers playing the price war game (yet again), but many believe that this is the first sign that retailers are testing the waters and that the Xbox One is having to face the music in an attempt to be more competitive with its rivals.
No doubt certain sales figures and pitches painted the Xbox One in a glowing light. Originally the Xbox One was the fastest selling console in the UK, shipping a whopping 150k units in just 48 hours. Many retailers and financial experts claimed that the Xbox One outperformed Sony’s PS4. All of these are amazing achievements, no doubt about it, but when the PS4 and 3DS (or variation of the 3DS) have outsold the Xbox One substantially over the Christmas period, these achievements are already becoming a distant memory. Stories of shortages of 3DSs and PS4s over Christmas were rife, but the Xbox One never seemed to be out of supply. Now this could be interpreted as either poor sales or good supply from Microsoft – but it doesn’t take much to play the public into suggesting it’s the former, especially with this price drop in mind.
The Wii U suffered from a similar problem at launch. Decent christmas sales, which soon plummeted in January and we saw the Wii U undergo several price cuts. I’m not saying that Microsoft are in as difficult a position as Nintendo, but I do believe this price cut is inevitable, but also good for both Microsoft and the consumer. I am under no illusions that the PS4’s success was due to an attractive price tag – when the Xbox One is closer to £399.99, the price difference between the PS4 and Xbox One doesn’t look so tremendous. Couple that information with the set of exclusives currently on offer (Knack, Killzone vs Deadrising 3, Forza and Ryse) and Xbox One slowly becomes a much more attractive proposition. And lets not forget the upcoming Xbox exclusive Titanfall, which could clearly shift consoles on its own.
Another reason the Xbox One could face a price drop is the previous generation of consoles. Many publishers have been crying out for a price drop on both the Xbox 360 and PS3, according to Michael Pachter that is. Pachter believes that certain publishers will even pull support for the consoles if the price drop demand isn’t met. This is largely due to the idea that the demand shifted towards next gen and that consumers are holding on to their money to save for the latest consoles rather than spending their money on previous gen software.
This supposed attitude did seem to affect software sales, even the mighty Call of Duty saw poor sales on the 360 and PS3 in comparison to previous years output – but we’re reassured by the switch to next gen. If PS3 and Xbox 360 do see a price drop, this could mean many consumers may decided to hold out and purchase the previous set of consoles instead. What it will also highlight, should the Xbox One fail to drop in price, is the huge difference in price between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One and considering sales analysts believe that many purchases are made by money conscious mothers, many may refrain from buying an Xbox One for some time.