Rifle? Check. Battle Armor? Check. Giant mechanized armor system equipped with rockets? Check. A surge in sales? Double check!
With the release of “Titanfall” on March 11, Microsoft may have finally found its stride in the console war. Reports from the United Kingdom showed a 96 percent boost in the sales of Microsoft’s next generation system, the Xbox One, after players got their hands on the new shooter.
Microsoft couldn’t be happier about the news. The console war that began in November 2013 so far has not been working out in the company’s favor. Microsoft’s biggest rival in the sale of home gaming hardware, Sony, has seemingly outplayed the company at every turn.
Sony’s next generation system, the PlayStation 4, was announced around the same time as the Xbox One. In the previous console wars, Sony and Microsoft offered almost identical systems in terms of graphics and price. But when Microsoft announced its newest system with a price tag of $499, Sony fired back with a lower price of $399 for its console.
Price may have had a role in Sony’s ever increasing lead in sales. By the end of 2013, Sony bragged of sales reaching over four million consoles sold since Nov. 15. Microsoft, who released their system a week later on Nov. 22, could only claim sales of three million units in the same time frame.
Add in several missteps that Microsoft made before the release of the Xbox One, such as claiming that the system would require internet access to work, and the stage had been set for some pretty dismal numbers compare to what the company’s last system sold. While the Xbox One has not been a complete failure, its sales so far haven’t met projections made before its release.
That is, until “Titanfall.”
Developed by Respawn, “Titanfall” offers players a fresh multiplayer environment by combining the first-person shooter genre with gigantic, user controlled mechanized units. It has received renowned acclaim, taking home over 60 awards at its E3 reveal.
Microsoft placed a lot of faith in the game and its ability to make up for lost sales. Much like “Hal’o for the older Xbox systems, “Titanfall” was only made available for Microsoft systems. The tactic isn’t anything new in Microsoft’s arsenal. Porting the game to only the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC keeps all the profit flowing into the company’s coffers. Microsoft also took it a step further and offered a bundle of the Xbox One and “Titanfall” priced at $499, effectively offering the game for free.
So far, sales in the United Kingdom are showing that Microsoft’s faith in “Titanfall” has begun to pay off. Seventy percent of all recent sales have been of the “Titanfall” bundle. With preorders factored in as well, “Titanfall’s” release placed it at the top of the sales list.
At the same time, PlayStation 4 sales have seen an improvement as well. Any lull in sales have been attributed to Sony’s inability to produce enough systems to meet the demand of its customers. An article in the New York Times postulated that sales of the Xbox One may have been helped by Sony’s struggle to keep new systems hitting the market. It has been reported that while trying to make up for the shortage of PS4s, sales have risen 72 percent for Sony.
Sony’s perceived fortune hasn’t deterred Microsoft just yet. With great numbers coming off of the “Titanfall” release, the console war may be seeing its Battle of Midway.
By Rashad McDowell