Desperate to catch up with Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft has just slashed the price of its Xbox One console by £30 to just £399, bundling in a free copy of the game Titanfall to try and entice more gamers to buy.
The discounted Xbox One’s won’t be available until this Friday the 28th of February, and will only be available to lucky UK consumers at first. However, Microsoft insists that this is a permanent move – not just a promotion – though Titanfall will only be bundled with the console as long as stocks last (and it won’t be downloadable until the 14th of March).
“For us it’s about giving UK gamers the best value we can,” said Xbox’s UK Marketing Director Harvey Eagle in an interview with CVG.
“That really starts with the announcement we’re making today with this new £399 price-point.”
Microsoft didn’t give any reason for its decision, but it’s likely that the Xbox One’s poor sales in comparison to Sony’s PS4 has had an effect. The console is selling well by historical standards, but its biggest rival is said to be streets ahead in sales, and will certainly expand its lead further when it launches in the company’s home country of Japan. No doubt Microsoft is worried that losing too much ground this early on could have a big impact on its ultimate goal, which is for the Xbox One to become the epicentre of our living room entertainment.
It’ll be interesting to see what impact this price cut has on the Xbox One’s sales anyhow. Even with this price drop, Sony’s console remains some £50 cheaper, at £349.99. The reason for this discrepancy is that the Xbox One comes bundled with the Kinect 2.0 motion-sensing camera, which costs quite a bit to build itself, even though it’s not yet proved itself in the eyes of most gamers. To date, there’s only been one game released that’s totally Kinect-centric – Fighter Within, which proved to be a total flop.
Microsoft is clearly determined not to give up on its Kinect, but it’s going to have to pay for its ambitions in the short term. With the latest price cuts the company is almost certainly losing money on its hardware sales, but this latest console war is a battle that’s set to be played out for years to come. Including Titanfall and lowering the price is a smart move.
Even so, Sony surely has room to manoeuvre, so it’ll be interesting to see if and when it retaliates with its own price cuts and/or bundles.