NEWS - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Analyst Says Xbox One Could Outship PS4 3-To-1 At Launch

An investor’s note from Baird analyst Colin Sebastian paints a rosier outlook for Microsoft and its upcoming Xbox One video game console.

According to GamesIndustry International, Sebastian said that ”Despite losing the headline battle at E3, Microsoft’s Xbox One appears to be regaining some momentum, in part due to the used and online policy tweaks. Importantly, our supply chain checks suggest Microsoft may have the benefit of a 2-3x unit advantage at launch compared to Sony‘s PS4.”

The price gap won’t matter much at launch, Sebastian points out, since early adopters aren’t as motivated by price concerns so much as they’re drawn in by platform of choice.

This makes sense, actually.

Many gamers aren’t terribly invested in “gamer culture” or even up to speed on most video game industry news and opinion. Microsoft’s disastrous reveal and E3 conference will be distant memory by the holiday season, and many shoppers won’t have ever heard of the various policy fumbles.

Still, there’s a flipside to this coin.

$100 may not make much difference to early adopters, but to more casual consumers who don’t already have a platform preference, it could very easily mean  the difference between buying the $499 Xbox One or the $399 PS4. Why spend more on essentially the same product?

In terms of Nintendo ‘s Wii U, Sebastian argues that a price-cut is needed—something I couldn’t agree with more.

I like the Wii U, and I’m very much looking forward to Pikmin 3 (one of the first Wii U games to render in native 1080p) and the new Mario and Donkey Kong games, but the console is selling for $318 for the 8GB version and $354 for the 32GB version on Amazon.

That’s simply too close to the much more robust PlayStation 4, even with the Nintendo brand and its strong first-party line-up. At $250 and $299 respectively, the system begins to look much more attractive.

Sebastian adds that ”the fate of the platform will likely rest on the popularity of Nintendo’s holiday software lineup” which, while strong, leaves many key titles out.

In fact, 2014 may very well be the Wii U’s year to shine, but it will need to do so with both Sony and Microsoft nipping at its heels.

P.S. I want to point out for those of you who have complained this is somehow a “pro-Microsoft” article that I am merely reporting on what one analyst says because, let’s face it, it goes against the grain of what most of us believe. PS4 has dominated and an Xbox One surge seems…unlikely (at least early on.) But I like to take these analysts seriously, or at least give their analysis the time of day. After all, there are factors beyond mere popularity to consider and we’re not always privy to everything going on behind the scenes, with logistics, third-party deals and so forth.

Still, as one commenter points out, the PS4 is #5 on Amazon’s Top 100 list of best sellers in the Video Game category. The Xbox One isn’t even in the top 50. Many other similar reports point to the PS4 as a clear leader at this point.

Update: The above best sellers link pointed to an hourly list. For 2013, PS4 is #3 and Xbox One is #6.



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