Xbox One Dropping $100: Enough to Challenge PS4?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced Tuesday more than one way it was going to make the Xbox One a more accessible platform for users. One was free access to a number of online features. The other was a large price reduction for the console, bringing it in-line with its major competitor, Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4. While it may help some, it may not be enough.

Once both Sony and Microsoft had announced the specs for their devices, it become strikingly apparent that the PS4 was more of a graphic performance  powerhouse than the Xbox One. When the prices were announced, it was even more shocking that the Xbox One would be the more costly of the two. Of course, the Xbox One did come bundled with the new and improved Kinect camera for gesture- and voice-based controls as well as immersive gaming. However, not everyone wanted to shell out the extra cash for this.

As of late, the PS4 has been showing itself as the victor in the battle between these two. In both March and April, the PS4 dominated for both hardware sales and software sales. As it stood at the end of April, the PS4 had 2.93 million units sold over the Xbox One, an increase in the disparity by about a quarter-million units from the previous month. With strong pre-orders for Watch Dogs and Destiny, the PS4 appears as though it’s only going to continue racing away — especially if it can beat the Xbox into the newly opened Chinese market, where neither console has been able to sell.

Acknowledging some of its sales difficulties, Microsoft is lowering the price of the Xbox to a base of $399 without the Kinect bundled in. It’s also offering free access to some popular apps like Netflix — though separate subscriptions will still be needed for some services. The price drop and free services will surely help make the console a better sell in the public eye, but the early battle for console supremacy is important, and Microsoft may have already lost.

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft is behind in sales globally, but it also doesn’t sell the console in Sony’s home market of Japan. That may seem like an excusable reason for being behind, but the truth is that it is also behind in the U.S. market, and the gap in sales has also been growing there.

As more blockbuster games come out, the battle between PS4 and Xbox One will become even more decided. Watch Dogs is the next big blockbuster set to come out on both consoles, and as of May 7 the PS4 had 295,202 pre-orders to the Xbox One’s 202,089, according to VGChartz. Another fifteen weeks after Watch Dogs drops, Destiny will hit the market. The PS4 has 284,968 pre-orders for that game, topping the 250,415 for the Xbox One.

Part of the problem for the Xbox One may be the continued popularity of the Xbox 360, which still has high sales and demand for new games. For instance, the Xbox 360 pre-orders for Watch Dogs and Destiny stand at 128,404 and 112,672, respectively. This brings them closer to the Xbox One pre-order levels than the PS3 pre-orders are to the PS4′s.

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