Microsoft’s successor to the hugely popular Xbox 360 didn’t come out the gate obliterating the competition like its fans had hoped. Despite a strong December in sales, only due to its competition being completely sold out, Microsoft is still trailing by about 1.2 million systems sold and reports from retailers say demand has softened greatly for the $500 system. It’s not uncommon to go into a Best Buy and find Xbox Ones stacked to the ceiling. Microsoft’s console has a $100 premium over the competition and serious image problem following the DRM stuff from last year. There are some things Microsoft can do to help narrow that gap…at least in the US. Here are five:
Drop the Price
The $500 price the Xbox One sports over the PlayStation 4 is likely one of the biggest reasons why the system wasn’t completely sold out over the holidays. If you went to many retailers it was very easy to walk in a pick up a system as it’s $100 more than its competition, which is a more powerful system. If Microsoft slashes the Xbox One pice to $399, or even as low as $349, around the time of E3 they’ll easily be back in the game and close the gap between them and Sony.
Drop the Xbox Live Pay Wall for Streaming Apps
The Xbox 360 and the Xbox One are the only devices that require someone to pay Microsoft $50 to watch Netflix. That’s a huge deal for the average consumer, especially when virtually every device capable of an internet connection can watch Netflix without an additional fee. Microsoft’s sole competitor in this area, Sony, does require people to have a PlayStation Plus subscription for online gaming, but they do not lock the streaming apps (or free to play online games) behind the paywall. It’s 2014 Microsoft, it’s time to adapt and change.
Take Kinect Out of the Box
Some people simply don’t want, or have no use for, the Kinect sensor. The bulky device is likely one of the reasons why the Xbox One costs $100 more than the PlayStation 4, and it’s not even required to operate the system anymore. If they don’t force people to buy the sensor, then they could lower the price of the core device. Some would argue then no one would make Kinect games anymore, but do we really need another Fighters Within?
Microsoft has said Halo 5 will be out in 2014, and it needs to be. With a combination of a price drop and Master Chief’s latest adventure on the news system, it would greatly boost its chances in the US. They could even do a Halo 5/Xbox One pack-in and even make a custom system to go with it like they did with previous games in the series on the Xbox 360.
Get a Major MOBA as an Xbox Live Exclusive
Back before the Xbox One’s disastrous TV-heavy reveal in early 2013, there was a rumor that Riot Games’ League of Legends would show up on the system. Since then, nothing has been said about the rumor, but it’s definitely a game MS should pursue. Just as Minecraft is a huge game on the Xbox 360 for the twelve-and-under crowd, League would be just as big for anyone older than Mincecraft. DotA2 would never happen thanks to the Steamboxes, but MS could snag an exclusive League of Legends port to make XBL and the upcoming Twitch streaming even more attractive.