Can Microsoft’s ‘Titanfall’ Raise Xbox One Sales?


Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is preparing to release the highly anticipated new first-person shooter game Titanfall, which the company hopes will become a console-making device and boost sales of the new Xbox One after falling behind the competing PlayStation 4 made by Sony (NYSE:SNE).

Titanfall is set to be released on Tuesday and has already garnered much buzz from the gaming press. “Titanfall represents a potent fusion of established and modern design ideas, creating a tense and rewarding balance of power and moment-to-moment unpredictability,” said a review from IGN, based on a preview the publication got at a private event hosted by Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), which is the publisher of the title. IGN’s only complaint was that there isn’t a single-player option, as you always have to play with others via the Internet.

Gamesradar said in a four-star review, “You kill fast, die fast, and move faster than you do in most other shooters, making for short, brutal matches that you’ll want to keep playing again and again,” but complained about a lack of originality. “You’ll eventually hit a point — like you do in nearly every game — where you feel as though you’ve done everything there is to do, and because you’re still just playing Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag, that time comes quicker than you might think.”

Some gamers interviewed for an in-depth article from the Wall Street Journal said they believe that Titanfall has the potential to become a console-making game, which is exactly what Microsoft needs as its Xbox One, $100 more expensive, falls behind Sony’s PlayStation 4. The most recent figures show that Sony has sold more than six million PlayStation 4 gaming systems less than four months after the product’s American launch and barely a week after its Japanese launch.

Microsoft hasn’t recently released updated sales figures for its console, but data from NPD said last month that PlayStation 4 sales doubled Xbox One sales for the month of January without giving specific figures.

The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One were released just a week apart back in November 2013 into an uncertain gaming market. As consumers spend more time playing cheap or free video games on mobile devices, the question as to whether people can be convinced to drop almost $500 for a fancy console that can only be accessed in the living room still lingers.

Microsoft attempted to cope with that shift by marketing the Xbox One as a necessary living room entertainment device for even non-gamers. Popular apps like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Hulu as well as general web-surfing can be accessed through the console. But Microsoft clearly isn’t leaving behind the hardcore gamers that made the Xbox so successful in the first place. Titanfall is hoped to be to the Xbox One what Halo was to the original Xbox, a franchise-worthy title so popular that it’s worth dropping that $500 for the console to play it.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS