Although Sony’s PlayStation 4 is currently winning the console race on being cheaper, with no bundled camera and a lot of goodwill generated from their fantastic 2013 campaign with gamers, Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi doesn’t seem to be too worried about the finer details as to why Microsoft isn’t winning the modern console war. An interview with Forbes revealed that not only is Microsoft very much aware that the PS4 is outselling their console, they also don’t have any official reasons to offer as to why they are not sitting on the iron throne.
In the interview with Forbes, Mehdi went into some detail about Microsoft’s strategies when it came to the Xbox One and answering the threat from Sony’s PS4. With just over five million Xbox One units shipped to retailers versus over seven million PS4 consoles sold to actual customers, the numbers don’t look too great for team green and despite having a successful launch without breaking too many things, they still seem to find any excuse to dig that hole deeper. Mehdi does this when asked about why the Xbox One was underperforming on the retail market.
“It’s hard to really assess the gap in sales. They’re in many more markets right now than we are,” says Mehdi. “They’re in 40+ markets, we’re in 13. People have been more satisfied with the Xbox 360 than the PS3, so in that respect people have less of a need to upgrade in the short term due to regular updates for the Xbox 360.
“We could point to any number of things. That said, we’ve heard from a lot of our Xbox fans who say, ‘Hey look, I want an Xbox One, but at $499, I probably have to wait a little while before I can afford to get one.'”
It’s worth noting that last year in an interview with Official Xbox Magazine Mehdi predicted that not only would the Xbox 360 go on to sell another 25 million units for the remaining three years of the console’s life span ending in 2016, he was also pretty confident that the Xbox One would sell close to 400 million units in its lifespan.
Quantifying exactly how much people love their 360 consoles aside, Mehdi’s comment doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Microsoft really doesn’t need this kind of marketing because it’s very, very close to Don Mattrick’s line of thought which said that if you didn’t want to be always online, just buy an Xbox 360.
Microsoft’s recent unbundling of Kinect might tip the scales in their favour temporarily but now they’re competing against a system that is the same price with better hardware. Not only will more people pick up the Kinect-less consoles than before, Microsoft has now also split their user base down the middle into people who can play Kinect games and those who can’t.
The original promise from the company back in 2013 was that adding in Kinect to the package meant that everyone was on the same baseline and game developers didn’t have to worry about how big their potential market would be, given that Kinect for the 360 didn’t sell that well either.
But now they’ve chopped it out, dropped the price tag, reshuffled what you get with Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions and Mehdi suggests that if you’re still on a 360 and don’t feel like upgrading, there’s no rush to do so immediately. And that they apparently don’t know exactly why the console isn’t doing so well, either.