Xbox One May Have Tipped The Scales On PlayStation 4 Last Month

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Xbox One May Have Tipped The Scales On PlayStation 4 Last Month

While the last several months have been a nigh-endless litany of how the PlayStation 4 is soundly handing it to the Xbox One in virtually every point that's measurable, one unexpected development came to light recently as an analyst estimate suggested it was the other way around. Trying to pin down the why of it, meanwhile, proved to be quite an exciting proposition.

The word came from Wedbush Morgan Securities, whose own Michael Pachter estimated sales of 325,000 new Xbox One models, as compared to 250,000 PlayStation 4 sales. This represents one of a bare handful of times in which Microsoft has outsold Sony since the devices launched nearly a year ago back in November, and Pachter believes he has a handle on exactly why the reversal took place: the power of freebies.

Pachter elaborated, saying “From September 7 through (September) 13, Microsoft offered a free game with the purchase of a new Xbox One at participating retailers.” While Pachter's numbers are still just an estimate, and will be so until The NPD Group brings out its sales data for the month of September this Thursday, the early word suggests that at least the conclusion—in which Sony loses to Microsoft for just the second time since the devices launched—should hold true.

Moreover, this was the same week that “Destiny” made its launch, and it also matched up closely to the release of the $400 combo pack which featured an Xbox One and the release of “Madden NFL 15”. So this actually combines to offer a great many reasons why gamers would want to pick up an Xbox One in that particular time frame, also demonstrating the intense power of value.

Value, the Barenaked Ladies song said, it's all about value. The song in question was “One Week” for those who don't immediately catch the reference. And in Microsoft's case, it's also showing off how it really is all about value. That free game likely went a long way toward tipping the scales for users who were staying on the fence in terms of picking up a new game system, and even now, a year after the fact, there are still plenty of fence-sitters out there waiting for the right time to pull that trigger. It's reasonable to say that value draws users. When you're talking about goods that are at least somewhat comparable in terms of quality—leaving aside the issue of console exclusives, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are actually pretty complementary goods—the best value is the one customers go to. Considering that the two were fairly widely separated in price for a good while—that recently changed with the removal of the Kinect as a standard—that changes the picture a bit, but price cuts and a free game made the whole thing too much for gamers to pass up.

What will be particularly interesting is seeing how Sony responds to this. Price cuts? More free games? Will Microsoft do likewise? Only time will tell just where it's all going to end up, but it's going to be something to see all the same.

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