In a recent interview, Xbox Head Phil Spencer has basically given up on reaching PlayStation 4 in terms of sales during this generation of consoles. “Honestly, I think it’s about growing Xbox. Sony’s had great success with PlayStation, they’ve earned that success over multiple decades of building a great product. Kudos to them for their market position”, is what he said to Eurogamer.
“All I can do is focus on Xbox, and I love that. I love our fans and the partners we have. We’re growing Xbox year on year, we’re bigger than we were this time in the 360 generation, so generation over generation we’re in a better spot, year over year we’re in a better spot. We’re seeing more people online, more games being sold, more consoles being sold. So generally I feel good about the trajectory we’re on.”
Moreover, “I honestly don’t goal the team on how many units Sony sells. I think about what we’re going to do, and how many Xbox customers we have across 360, Xbox One and Windows – thinking about the combined community of people on Xbox and playing those games, and that number’s never been bigger.”
Phil Spencer is among the most honest people in this industry but, in my opinion, he’s trying to hide something. Elaborating his words, I have reached a few conclusions. Microsoft is not communicating sales data anymore in regards of Xbox One, as the latest arriving in official fashion have the November 2014 mark on them and say “almost 10 million units shipped”. The latest sales data from Sony say PS4 has sold, not shipped, over 25 million units – which is impressive.
What does this mean? Taking a low profile could mean Phil Spencer is aware of being in a bad position to about sales data, but this could be a matter of time or priority. Time: he wants to wait for having good/impressive sales data, too, before discussing them in public. Now he’s exclusively caring about the fall 2015 lineup, planting the seeds for something good coming up in the next months or years.
Priority: sales data really are not something Microsoft cares about, now that everyone at the company has admitted the launch has been so bad they can’t do anything to recover. So they are concentrating on selling software and getting as many consoles out there as possible before the Xbox One lifecycle officially ends.
In both the circumstances, anyway, I believe there is an issue not in Microsoft, which is admitting the problems had in this generation of consoles – finally – but with its fans. They’re still in that console war mood where they have to fight each other to determine which is the best platform on the market. And many (even though I see something is changing on the Internet) still don’t really understand that it’s not a matter of power, technology or whatever, but a matter of launching properly a product on the market, with the correct terminology and strategic decisions.
Of course I mean words like DRM, always online, used games… technology people don’t want to hear about and use, such as Kinect… and pricing. Xbox One had a cost of $100 superior than PlayStation 4 at launch, which is sad for those loving the idea they have the best console out there, and even sadder considering Microsoft’s position on the market. How can you imagine to sell a console with the same specifics, if not inferior, at a higher price in comparison with its direct competitor? Of course, people at Redmond thought Kinect was enough to justify that higher price… and of course it wasn’t. Someone already knew that and, although I love it in terms of technology, I believe it’s not enough attractive for gaming. That’s what Microsoft should really give up.