Friday was launch day for the Xbox One. And guess what? It was a bust!
On Saturday, Microsoft announced that they sold over 1 million consoles, putting it on par with Sony. The only trouble? It took a full day to do it and Microsoft launched in a lot more countries than Sony. The end result? The PlayStation 4 completely dominated the Xbox One on launch day.
Last week we talked about how the 2013 console wars will dominate the holiday season, and so far Sony (NYSE: SNE) looks like it’s beating Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).
How the Launches Compared: PS4 vs. Xbox One
To compare the two launches, we called several local Best Buy and Walmart stores to see how many of each console they received. We then checked back to see how they sold.
For the PlayStation 4, most stores received anywhere from 30 to 50 units. At every store we called back, they had sold out of all of their units within one to two hours of the store openings. Furthermore, checking back yesterday, all the stores had sold out of inventory they received since the launch as well.
For the Xbox One, we learned that most stores only received about 10 to 20 units. When we called to check sales at 5:00 p.m., only 40% of stores reported they sold out. The remaining stores still had inventory, and several told us they were sure they would have some this weekend. The bottom line is that most stores were not concerned about selling out — even with less units.
Why the Xbox One Was a Dud
The Xbox One was a dud — plain and simple. Why? The biggest reasons we heard from gamers included:
- Price: They couldn’t justify the $100 premium to the PlayStation 4.
- Kinect: The Xbox 360 dominated because of games like Call of Duty, not because of Kinect games. And Microsoft’s insistence to make the Kinect mandatory has turned off a lot of its base of gamers.
- Concerns over game sharing: We heard this several times, with concerns about not being able to play borrowed games or rented games.
- The internet factor: The Xbox One was designed to be online, but in many places this isn’t feasible. This turned off several parents who wanted to put the game console in their kid’s room, but didn’t like the internet feature with their kids being unsupervised.
What Happens from Here
Well, if you want to buy a Xbox One, you should be able to find them easily. If you want to buy a PS4, that’s not so easy. If you want to buy one, and you can’t find it in stores, eBay is selling them for $500 to $600 right now.
I think that two things need to happen from here:
1. The Xbox One Needs to Compete on Price
It sucks for Microsoft, but they need to drop the price to compete. I think an easy way to do it is to cut out the Kinect and offer it as an add-on. Most gamers don’t want it — they want to play Call of Duty and Battlefield. Many kids and parents will buy the Kinect, but lower the price to entice them.
2. Sony Needs to Get PS4s into Stores
This PlayStation 4 shortage will hurt Sony in the short-term. It could dominate the market and just nail Microsoft to the wall, but if parents are faced with a choice of a Xbox One or no game console for Christmas, they might stick with what’s available: the Xbox One. Plus, many stores are running very low on PlayStation 4 games as well, which could make additional sales challenging for Sony.
What are you seeing out there? Did you buy a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Plan to?