Will The 2015 Holiday Season Be Good to Microsoft?

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Will The 2015 Holiday Season Be Good to Microsoft?

It's no secret that Microsoft has been behind--way behind--in terms of device sales against rival Sony. A disastrous E3 right before the systems launched left a bad taste in a great many mouths out there, and that left Microsoft struggling to come back. The newest word from the NPD Group turned out to be another blow to Microsoft's ambitions, but there may be a turnaround afoot.

Yes, the PlayStation 4 was still top of the heap for August sales, and that joins a litany of victories for Sony over Microsoft. However, there's a point worth noting that suggests a possible turn ahead. Microsoft actually sold 26 percent more Xbox One units in August 2015 than it did in August 2014. That may be the biggest surprise of the whole affair as it would be reasonable to figure that the buying season for consoles has pretty much ended. But then, there were suggestions that a lot of gamers out there would dual-console, especially as Microsoft started making a lot of changes in the days following the 2014 E3 event.

Indeed, Microsoft has made a ton of changes, and some of these will be a lot more obvious in the days to come. The newly-minted backward compatibility for 360 titles, coupled with the Xbox One Experience, the various media options, and the Xbox Elite controller could help things out.

Additionally, there's one thing poised to give Microsoft a particular hand during the upcoming holiday shopping season: a slew of new exclusive titles. Microsoft's Kudo Tsunoda noted that neither Sony nor Nintendo had the kind of lineup that Microsoft was poised to bring out in the midst of holiday shopping, including "Halo 5: Guardians," "Rise of the Tomb Raider," and "Fable Legends", among others. Indeed, one report from Microsoft suggested that this could be the best year since 2007 for exclusives from Microsoft. Tack that on to what's already poised for release--including "Fallout 4" and "Just Cause 3"--and it's clear there's plenty coming out.

With even Sony's own Andrew House admitting that Sony's lineup for the 2015 holiday is "a little sparse", that's not exactly bad news for Microsoft. But Microsoft has a huge gap to traverse this time around, and it's entirely possible that it won't be able to recover the top slot for this round of the console wars. That's all right, really; Sony was number two last round and it took the top slot this time, so why couldn't Microsoft make that jump in the next generation?

I'm starting to think that it's too late for Microsoft to make a huge recovery this generation. But that's not necessarily a bad thing; it can make a holding action, learn from its mistakes--and man, did it make plenty of those--and come out even stronger in 2021 or so when the next generation comes out. Still, Microsoft can have a great holiday season. It can move some games, it can move some consoles, and it can consolidate its fan base for a better run at the next generation.

The holiday season is likely to be a big one for any gaming console, but while Microsoft may not be able to push its way to prominence in the field, it can certainly cement its number two ranking and give itself a good push-off point for the next generation to come.

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