Another Xbox One price drop is about to happen, and Microsoft says it’s only for a limited time. However, the timing seems to suggest that with the upcoming PlayStation 4 VR headset and the rumored 4K resolution update, they could be forced to compete a little harder again.
The PS4 vs Xbox One console war has always appeared to be dominated by Sony, with the PS4 outselling the Xbox One for over two years now. Microsoft’s launch PR didn’t help with the “always online” announcement, the lack of backwards compatibility, and the inclusion of the Kinect 2.0 in the package all souring the deal.
Right around the time of the Xbox exclusive Titanfall, Microsoft dropped the price “temporarily” and due to the boost in sales over this move, the Xbox One price drop stuck. Now at $50 less and still being outsold, Microsoft may be preparing to combat another trend in gaming.
So far, the wave of backwards compatible titles on the console have helped by giving Xbox 360 owners a reason to eventually leave the older console behind. It also appears that the people behind the consoles are realizing that the current consoles aren’t impressive enough to be considered actual upgrades to the PS3 and Xbox 360, since Microsoft and Sony both appear to be attempting to make more powerful versions for later adopters.
One of these is the rumored PlayStation 4.5, which will allegedly be able to support the VR headset with enhancements, as well as upgrade the resolution to 4K. The graphics card needed to do this currently costs more than the console, so it could be a while before it happens, and could raise the price of the PS4. However, the PlayStation VR movement is already under way with more than a handful of titles already having been announced to support it.
These PS4 VR games mostly aren’t much of a draw except for a select few, but we can expect the list to grow and possibly make virtual reality gaming a necessity to survive the PS4 vs Xbox One console war. Since there don’t seem to be any plans to upgrade the Xbox One with better performance, Microsoft may be planning ahead and hoping that an Xbox One price drop will counter the virtual reality movement.
It’s unknown if the Xbox One price drop will be accompanied by free games, since that would be an even bigger blow to the profit margin, and in turn force Microsoft to continue to promote console exclusives.
— Brian Fry (@FryBri81) March 19, 2016
One factor that might not be in Sony’s favor is that virtual reality has been attempted before, even if the execution was horrible at best. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy required a tabletop to even be used, and the display was a headache-inducing red on black. The PlayStation 4 VR headset, formerly known as Project Morpheus, will offer the full color spectrum and place it literally inches from your face. It’s still just a pair of screens simulating a 3D environment and could result in motion sickness.
Compare this with the also rumored Xbox One augmented reality glasses known as HoloLens. While it’s a screen in front of your eyes, it still allows you to see the real world and give you a new way to interact. The cost of this experience may be significantly lower thanks to the overall failure of Google Glass to make an impact. The Xbox One price drop, if it continues past the Spring promotion, won’t be so risky even with HoloLens.
What are your thoughts on the Xbox One price drop? Is Microsoft attempting to compete with the PlayStation 4 VR headset and rumored 4K resolution upgrade?
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]