Microsoft Takes November; Changes Afoot?

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Microsoft Takes November; Changes Afoot?

In life, there are few better ways to get people interested in a product than to offer it up cheap. That basic premise proved to be no exception for the Xbox One, as an NPD report showed that Microsoft didn't just take Black Friday as we heard previously, but it also laid claim to the top-selling console for the month of November as well.

November, according to word from Xbox Marketing corporate vice president Mike Nichols, represented a new record for Xbox One sales, and made it the best seller not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, driven by a combination of Black Friday sales and bundle pricing. Despite these gains, however, it wasn't enough to drive the hardware market as a whole, which along with the software and accessories market saw an 11 percent drop. This drop was attributed mainly to huge slowdowns in the seventh-generation hardware, the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. After all, NPD analyst Liam Callahan noted, eighth generation consoles saw a three percent gain over November 2013's sales.

Naturally, that's got some wondering. Reports suggest that it took the PS3 several years to come back from its initial poor sales, so to see the Xbox One start to narrow the gap after a year is encouraging to Microsoft players. Of course, it should be noted that Sony has somewhere around 11 months' worth of lead on its competitor, which means Microsoft's going to have to win not only the rest of this year, but well into next year in order to really narrow the gap. It's not out of line to suggest that, especially as 2015 approaches and many of the games that were formerly delayed come available for sale finally, but that's still a whole lot of ground to cover, ground that may be a trip too long for Microsoft to cover.

At stake, meanwhile, is the potential for game exclusives and the future of gaming as a whole. If one system doesn't do so well in that generation, the next generation's system starts out from a position of weakness. That's not always a big problem; Sony was second until Microsoft's E3 disaster of 2013. But it can be a problem if all else is equal. While Microsoft has several other lines of business that can theoretically be tapped to provide resources to cover an Xbox shortfall, Sony has been seen to put more of its own resources behind PlayStation 4, so it's more of an all-or-nothing approach. It may be paying off for Sony, as it recently netted a console exclusive in Street Fighter Five.

It's going to be the next several months that really tells the story of the eighth generation, and it could be that Microsoft could pull off a real come-from-behind victory. Sony, however, could hold its lead, and that could mean some very big things to come.

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