The Phil Spencer Xbox era continues to rise. The executive, who became head of Xbox in March 2014, has led the Xbox One out of the doldrums after a controversial launch and inconsistent first few years.
However, as gamers prepare to celebrate the console’s third anniversary this November, it appears Microsoft finally has the Xbox brand back on the same track as the Xbox 360, its most successful gaming console to date.
For the third consecutive month in September, Xbox One outsold the PS4 in North America. This is big news, because the region is the number one battleground for success in the Western market.
It’s been consistently dominated by PlayStation 4, despite Xbox One’s self-proclaimed “best Xbox lineup ever”, and Sony’s inability to service its fanbase with a steady stream of exclusive content.
Even the announcement of the PS4 Pro, the release of the PS Slim, No Man’s Sky, a strong E3 showing and the hype around PlayStation VR couldn’t help the console against Xbox One.
Being the top-selling home console throughout September and leading into the Christmas period is big news for Microsoft. The NPD Group notes that while the figures are encouraging, the North American Summer and Fall numbers are only a fraction of what sales look like during the busy October-December Holiday period. That will be the big test.
How Did Microsoft Do It?
It’s been a slow grind back for Phil Spencer and the Xbox team, and one might argue that it’s not quite out of the woods yet. However, it’s hard not to applaud the company’s growth, particularly in its message to fans and its focus on core franchises.
The price cuts, great console deals, and introduction of the Xbox One S certainly played a part in the console’s sudden improved appeal. Interestingly, we saw similar cuts from Sony with PS4, as well as a slim console that launched last month. For whatever reason, however, Sony hasn’t had quite as much success in attracting a growing audience this late in the generation.
Sony still has a lot up its sleeve. The PS4 Pro, while surprisingly underpowered, could wreck havoc come November. There’s also PlayStation VR, although the affordability of the device and questions around the technology raised doubts as to whether or not it can actually help the PS4 keep its position atop the mantle.
It’s been more than just hardware that has done the job for Microsoft, however, and it’s in other areas that the Xbox team has trumped PlayStation.
A first-party lineup of Forza Horizon 3, Gears Of War 4 and ReCore have done wonders for the brand, having all been strategically released to coincide with the launch of the Xbox One S. Someone can walk into a store now and buy all three with a new console, throw in an Elite controller and suddenly the Xbox One vision is coming to fruition.
The PS4 is appealing in different ways, but its growing success in North America is unsurprising. After all, the US in particular is seen as “Xbox” territory, and its divisive vision at launch turned a lot of its faithful away. Now that it’s a little more centred and refocused on a core audience, the Xbox One seems like the more appealing of the two.
What are your thoughts on Xbox One outselling PS4 for three months in a row? Can it keep it up? Sound off in the comments below!
Saturday 15th of October 2016
I think Sony made a mistake not adding 4k disc play to the slim. The Xbox One is a cheap 4K player that is also a console which I think is a good selling point. They leveraged PS2 to get DVD into the home and PS3 to get Bluray into the home and I think most expected the same with UHD.
Saturday 15th of October 2016
Yep I agree. The initial reason I rationalised an Xbox one S was due to the ultra high definition drive.
Ive been playing MS exclusive stuff on it, but having a blast.