Back in 2013, Microsoft had every reason to be optimistic when it put its Xbox One console in the market, as its earlier Xbox 360 had been leading Sony’s PS3 in sales through most of the previous console generation, while the Xbox brand was highly regarded by gamers and considered to be a strong alternative to the PlayStation.
Microsoft also had a grand plan to put the Xbox One at the centre of the living room with the machine’s ambitious multimedia features and its bundled-in Kinect motion controls, meaning the Xbox One was priced at $100 more than its rival the PS4…
In the end, though, Sony’s strategy of focusing just on gaming with the PS4 paid off handsomely, as the new PlayStation became this generation’s top-selling console by far, with Sony having shipped more than 47 million units to date according to DualShockers.
It seemed, then, that the Xbox One would be relegated to second place this console generation, and that Microsoft would have no hope of catching up with Sony’s world-conquering PS4 anytime soon.
But Microsoft’s Xbox division (which is led by Phil Spencer since 2014) has made a series of smart moves that made the original Xbox One more appealing, such as dropping both its price and the ill-fated Kinect, which surely helped improve sales and made the console more attractive to gamers on a budget.
Also, while the original Xbox One was criticized due to it being a somewhat bulky and less attractive machine than its rival the PS4, Microsoft answered its critics in August this year by introducing the new Xbox One S, a redesigned version of the original model.
And clearly the new Xbox One S is what the original console should have been, as it’s lighter, better-looking, features slightly improved performance and also supports HDR graphics, meaning games can look even better on 4K or ultra-high definition TVs. And shockingly enough, the machine also boasts a 4K Blu-ray player, which is noteworthy taking into account that the console is priced at less than $300 in the US, while this is a feature that even Sony’s supercharged PS4 Pro does not have.
So taking into account that the Xbox One S is the console that the original Xbox One should have been at launch according to many, it’s not surprising that it has outsold the PS4 for four consecutive months (July to October 2016), and also managed to be the top-selling console this Black Friday according to GameSpot. This is clearly no mean feat, as it faced competition from both Sony’s new PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro, and also from Nintendo’s 3DS which recently got the top-rated Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon games.
Other features like the Xbox One’s true backwards compatibility can’t have hurt Microsoft’s cause either, as it allows gamers to replay golden oldies like Red Dead Redemption and Assassin’s Creed II on their console, and it’s likely a more appealing option than Sony’s PS Now service for playing old games on new-gen consoles for many.
So will the Xbox One manage to catch up with Sony’s world-conquering PS4 before this console generation is over? This is not out of the question taking into account the appeal of the new Xbox One S and the apparent change in the sales trend… Plus it’s also worth remembering that Sony pulled off a similar trick back in the day with the PS3, meaning that Xbox One fans can still hope that their console ends up being as popular as the PS4 by the time this console generation is over.
Sony PlayStation 4 (new model)
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