Sony recently touted the stellar sales of the PlayStation 4 and its 36 million units sold worldwide. Meanwhile, Microsoft has chosen to keep the Xbox One sales figures to themselves, and it may be easy to figure out why. A Microsoft insider reports the total number of Xbox One consoles sold is approximately half of the PS4.
A Windows Weekly podcast with Microsoft insiders Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurott turned to the discussion of Microsoft’s news of 200 million installs of Windows 10. Foley broke down that number at the 8:50 mark as “around 180 millions PCs, around 18 million Xbox Ones, and about a million plus Windows 10 phones.”
There’s one important caveat that could mean there are more than 18 million Xbox Ones have been sold. The 200 million Windows 10 installs is “the number of Windows 10 devices that have been active in the last 28 days,” according to Foley. How many Xbox One consoles have sat unused over the past month is certainly up or debate, but it is not likely to give a significant boost towards the 36 million PlayStation 4 consoles touted by Sony.
Is the 18 million number bad for the Xbox One? Certainly not. That is a million more than the Xbox 360 sold in the first two years of its lifespan, one of which was spent as the sole next-gen console on the market. The Xbox One also had numerous negatives going against it at launch, starting off with a higher price while the PlayStation 4 has had unprecedented momentum.
The 36 million PlayStation 4 units sold and 18 million Xbox One units reported by Foley are just the latest indicators of how hard Microsoft stubbed its toe unveiling the console in May 2013 and how poorly it was launched in Europe.
Bundling the Xbox One with a Kinect for the first several months of release at a price $100 more expensive than the PlayStation 4 was just the first of many hurdles. Microsoft also faced a backlash from its original “always on” position, privacy concerns, and some, frankly, awful responses to press questions.
This was followed by a limited launch in November 2013 for just 13 countries, only four of which included European countries. Meanwhile, the PS4 launched in 32 countries, half of which were European.
The overwhelmingly negative first impression of the Xbox One, combined with a limited launch, has simply been too much for the console to overcome in the long run. The console has done well in the United States, but the bulk of the difference has come from continental European countries where the PlayStation 4 enjoys a 70 to 90 percent marketshare, as reported by Inquisitr.
The good news for Microsoft is the Xbox organizational shakeup that put Phil Spencer at the head of the entire game division has produced a positive turnaround for the Xbox One. The decision to add backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360 has been a boon for the console, along with the Windows 10 upgrade that came with the New Xbox One Experience, and a slate of exclusives that included Halo 5, Forza Motorsport 5, Rise of the Tomb Raider and more. Microsoft was able to get fans excited about the future with titles like ReCore, Gears of War 4, Scalebound, and others.
Still, Spencer was prescient when he admitted the PlayStation 4 had a huge lead last October and wasn’t sure if the Xbox One would ever catch up. His recounting of the problems with the Xbox One launch are even more telling.
“Whether it’s always-on, used games, whatever the feature was, we lost the trust in them that they were at the centre of our decision-making process,” Spencer recounts. “Were we building a product for us, or were we building a product for the gamers? And as soon as that question came into people’s minds and they looked at anything, whether it was the power of our box, our launch line-up, microtransactions, any of the features that you talked about, what you find is very quickly you lose the benefit of the doubt. You lose your customer’s assumption that the reason you’re building your product is to delight them and not just build a better and more maybe manipulative product.”
For now, the Xbox One goal under Spencer appears to be to regain the trust of gamers and get them excited about the Xbox brand. Europe is still a lingering issue, though, and one that must be shored up before the launch of the next console generation.
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