September could be a tide-turner for the Xbox One

Ever since we made the move into 2014, Microsoft has been playing from behind when comparing the sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  Most recently, Microsoft has shown sales of at least 5 million units being sold off, which is only half of the 10 million Sony is reported to have sold through this summer.  This doesn’t mean that the Xbox One is failing in any way, since numerous reports have shown the Xbox One outpacing the Xbox 360 for sales when comparing the sales data of both consoles ten months into their life cycles.

Still, Microsoft cannot afford to forfeit too much ground to Sony in console sales.  A massive majority lead would make it easier for Sony to make more meaningful moves to ensure its continued dominance.  Securing would-be multiplatform titles like Microsoft has done with Titanfall or Tomb Raider would be heavy blows to the success of the Xbox One.  So what can Microsoft do to give themselves the best chance at evening the score in the console race?  Large-scale market debuts.

As it stands now, Microsoft’s Xbox One is only available in 13 countries.  That’s a severe handicap when you consider that the PlayStation 4 is now available in 60 different countries after launching in its home country of Japan earlier this year.  Of course, not every country has a significant gaming community.  Having a foothold in the United States will trump winning over a market like Ireland or Ukraine, but the availability still makes a difference when you're talking about a 47 country advantage.

After promising wider market availability back in November 2013, Microsoft is finally poised to launch the Xbox One in several new markets – some of which could prove to be tide-changing for the Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4 sales race.  The approval of five million Xbox Ones to be sold in China could play a part in a sales surge, though Sony's PlayStation 4 is also slated to be launched in the country as well with an as-yet-unknown staggered launch behind Microsoft.  Japan, India, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong are all markets in which Microsoft has confirmed to be expanding to in September within the Asian market.

Xbox One launch dates and pricing

It’s important to note that regardless of either consoles current standing, the sales race isn’t won in the first year.  Just like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, it’s a multi-year race that requires a steady stream of great console exclusives and constant platform upgrades through online and social services.  The Xbox 360 lifecycle saw the Xbox Dashboard and Xbox Live services go through several upgrade processes to become what each is today.  The same will have to happen with the Xbox One if Microsoft wishes to hit their stride and claim the top spot in sales over rival manufacturers.  The five confirmed countries in the Asian-based market aren't the only ones that will see an Xbox One launch.  Those countries are just five of the 26 that Microsoft is scheduled to launch in by the end of 2014. 

Source: Xbox Wire | Images: Xbox Wire (top), Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

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The whole "PS4 is in more countries so that's the only reason why the Xbox One is losing" is so annoying because it doesn't take into consideration that there must be a reason they aren't releasing it in as many countries - because they know they won't sell as well in those countries!! Why would Microsoft willingly not release something in a market and lose money - unless there was no money for them to make there anyways...
...and lol @ at that pic.

Either that or they were saving it for a rainy day, why else would they do all those launches staggered in one month? Week over week they'll be able to report a surge in "sales" (sold-in no doubt).

I had always assumed that it was because Microsoft wasn't great at manufacturing things at scale, or they are hoping to work out any kinks before going into every market. Supposedly neither Sony nor Microsoft are losing money per console, so it makes no sense to not push everywhere unless they physically cannot do it?

Oh hey look 29 new markets.....
http://news.xbox.com/2014/09/xbox-one-welcoming-29-new-markets-to-xbox-one?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

My how quick things change - stoked they're getting another three countries into the mix! It's a shame it took this long since @ E3 2013 Microsoft were talking about nearly two-dozen markets seeing an Xbox One release in 2013 but then stripped it back to 13 instead.

Still wonder why they decided to delay the launch in so many countries, just don't see what the point is. Only reason I can really see in all of this is that maybe they didn't have enough Xbox Live capacity but that just doesn't seem like a plausible reason.

Funny thing is that up until a about two weeks ago when I ordered an Xbox One I didn't know it wasn't released in Sweden, as a matter of fact I felt pretty sure it was seeing how you could get one in any old general electronics store or a long list of internet retailers (the simply import them). They just won't be able to go online which would suck.

Just seems like a dumb move that has surely lost them plenty of sales.

Without anyone truthfully speaking out on the decision I'd presume that the Xbox team maybe had problems readying the Kinect and software for the Xb1 for so many markets. Just like the launch of WP8, Xb1 wasn't finished when it launched last year. The failing to produce in so many countries not only holds back sales from Microsoft, but gives some to Sony as well. Most people aren't fanboys and parents buy their kids whatever is the best available in many cases. If an Xbox isn't on the shelves it makes the parent's/potential customer's decision easy when considering what to buy right now.

One sale of XBox Ones to a vendor = 5 million. This sale was made in April or earliar. That put XBox Ones sold to vendor over 10 million back in April of this year. When are people going to realize that Sony isn't winning anything. XBox One is dominating the WORLD.

The reports show Sony have 10 million sold to customers last I heard versus Microsoft's 5 million. They've set aside 5 million for China, so you're right but you're also comparing stats unevenly so the edge still goes to Sony.

The reports show Sony have 10 million sold to customers last I heard versus Microsoft's 5 million. They've set aside 5 million for China, so you're right but you're also comparing stats unevenly so the edge still goes to Sony.

This title made me LOL. Thank you Neowin! Add countries is not going to change the tide for MS. If they can't even beat the PS in the U.S. they aren't going to win anywhere else. Last generation they beat the PS soundly in the U.S. and that, and having about a years head start, kept them ahead for most of the generation. For MS to turn things around the first thing they need to do is figure out how to outsell the PS at home. I am curious to see how Xbox One does in Japan though with the PS4 doing so poorly.

I didn't read anywhere in the article that it is thought that September will see the Xbox One surge ahead of the PS4 overall. The article suggests that September is a potential momentum swing, and I have to agree. Worldwide availability IS important. Microsoft aren't capturing would-be owners simply because their product isn't available on the shelves and that's definitely worth maybe millions of unit sales, especially from the Chinese market that everyone is buzzing about. I think September will be a turnaround month in the headlines with maybe hundreds of thousands of units going across the world. The US market is a key one for Microsoft to recapture but it's also not the only market in the world. Killing it in China is huge seeing how there's 3x the population over there compared to the US and gaming is very big over there right now.

kingraven24 said,
I didn't read anywhere in the article that it is thought that September will see the Xbox One surge ahead of the PS4 overall.

I didn't read anywhere in my response that said anything about "overall" either. I'm saying the the tide isn't going to turn until MS can sell more Xbox Ones than PS4s in the its home country (U.S.) in a single month. How do you equate that with "surge ahead of the PS4 overall"? In fact I'll go further and say I bet Xbox One sales will spike less as a result of going on sale in these new markets than it did when they launched the Kinectless version. (sales doubled when that happened.)

kingraven24 said,
The US market is a key one for Microsoft to recapture but it's also not the only market in the world.

Of course it's not and I'm not saying sales aren't going to go up. A rise in sales is not a tide turn though, it's already selling well compared to the 360 and again it's sales already doubled when they dropped the kinect. Obviously it's going to sell more if it's available in more places but since MS was outsold in every major non-U.S. market last generation it will likely be outsold in every non-U.S. market both it and the PS4 are available in this generation. MS led for most of last generation because their dominance in the U.S. more than offset their loses just about everywhere else. They can't even win at home anymore, the places they lost last gen aren't going to magically boost their sales above their competition.
kingraven24 said,
Killing it in China is huge seeing how there's 3x the population over there compared to the US and gaming is very big over there right now.

It remains to be seen how many Chinese are gamers and willing to pay $400+ for a console. This IS an unknown though but it doesn't look good for MS:

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Chinese-Gaming-Poll-Shows-PS4-With-57-Vote-Xbox-One-With-11-66406.html

That was a lot to take in and I'm afraid I may have skimmed a bit. You're right, nothing is set in China, but no matter what it's an untapped market and Microsoft right now stands to cash in on it before Sony. Even if the polled community over there want a PS4 a bit more than an XB1 right now, Microsoft are dedicated 5 million consoles to the country. Also, I am severely hesitant to take a poll on Chinese gamers wanting one console over the other right now as a pulse for the whole country since only 6.5k weighed in on it. On top of that, Cinemablend also goes on with the article with a quote that questions the legitimacy of the polled audience, which is VERY important. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but sales DO dictate success. The XB1 has been a success, but not as successful as the PS4 has been 10 months into their respective lifecycles.

Other than being released in more countries, I don't think September will be that huge for Microsoft. The biggest release of the month, Destiny, for many people might as well be a Playstation title. However Microsoft without a doubt has the stronger lineup for the next few months since so many Playstation titles were delayed into next year.

I still believe that Microsoft needs to sign deals with cable/satellite companies to put the Xbox One in more homes. Sign up for a three year contract with Comcast or whoever, get an Xbox one for $100, $200 or whatever and leverage the media features. Do that and then eventually people will buy a game. It worked for the PS3 being a Blu-ray Trojan horse it could work very well for the Xbox One. Also sell up the fact that they are the official console of the NFL.

two big problems for Sony and MSFT:

1) both consoles are severely underpowered thus do not support 4K. PC gaming in 4K will be a reality in the coming months as prices fall on monitors and TVs in addition to DX12 yielding much better performance. TVs can already be had at costco and BJs for just over 1.5K and will hit the sub 1K mark in 2015. As such the life of the PS4 and XB1 will suffer since both will be basically obsolete in 2015.

2) Steam box is set to break the console model where the 1st party controls the hardware charging publish fees to game developers. Instead 3rd parties and users will provide the hardware and the first party provides the platform for a % of the digital sale.

the latter is the PC model which breaks the PC stranglehold on high end gaming and more likely to produce amazing consoles not limited by the lack of processing power of the PS4/XB1. Steambox is going to disrupt the market possibly leading to the death of the first party console for good.

neonspark said,
two big problems for Sony and MSFT:

1) No hardware is available that can run 4k for $400 or less. Sure PC's can do it but you'll spend more than that on just the gfx card(s). Last gen couldn't do 1080p@60fps on anything but the most graphically simple games so that is a valid target for this generation. 4k TVs are a waste of money, there is no content for them. Amazon and Netflix are touting their 4k streams but with the high level of lossy compression they're going to have to use you'd be better off just getting a far less lossy 1080p stream.

2) Steam box is a hedge by Valve against MS trying to force future games on windows to go through the MS store where they get a cut. As long as MS doesn't do that (and with the failure of Windows 8 it doesn't look likely any time soon) then Valve isn't going to put but so much resources into it. It will limp along on life support just in case and be picked up by niche tech enthusiasts like the Linux Desktop or Media Center PCs but the mainstream isn't going to touch it.

Who F'n cares, buy the console you want that has the games you want then STFU.

All this console war rooting for team crap is more for sports and not gaming consoles.

MS is a healthy company and is showing great support for the Xbox One, sales at this point are irrelevant just buy the console you want.

Xbox is looking like the same type of failure as Windows Phone. People are just not on board with the direction that MS is taking. People are not liking Xbox, Windows Phone or Windows 8. These are all a huge fail for MS.

Except they're not all huge fails at all... Do you even read anything besides tech news sites and the comments therein?

Especially not the Xbox One, for the reason stated toward the beginning of the article: compared to the 360, ten months in, the Xbox One is selling better.

just a few stats:

iOS has 13% marketshare and the XB1 has a higher percent of the gaming market. So if you think XB1 is a failure, apple has also failed and will go out of business tomorrow.

Windows 8 has more marketshare than OSX, linux and chromebooks combined. So if you think nobody likes windows 8, well, apple and google are doomed.

windows phone has 3% marketshare yes, but that is basically 7% away from apple which is not bad at all. If you think apple with 7% over WP is amazing, then how can you say the XB1 is doing so bad against sony when it is a much closer race?

in other words, nothing you say is backed by any data.

Eh, no. That's some flawed logic there. Get out of the world in which the only two words are "success" and "failure". XB1 isn't doing as well as PS4. The world isn't black and white. Though, media wants you to think like that. A headline stating "XB1 suffers from dismal sales" gets more clicks than "XB1 sales are a below average". :p

derekaw said,
Xbox is looking like the same type of failure as Windows Phone. People are just not on board with the direction that MS is taking. People are not liking Xbox, Windows Phone or Windows 8. These are all a huge fail for MS.

I personally love my One (though there are some things that drive me nuts)
I love Windows Phone (Lumia 521 user here)
I like Windows 8 (I'm biased towards W7. But the performance of W8 blows 7 out of the water)

laserfloyd said,
A headline stating "XB1 suffers from dismal sales" gets more clicks than "XB1 sales are a below average". :p

But that's just it! Xbox One sales are NOT below average! Compared to the Xbox 360 ten months into its lifecycle, the Xbox One is doing better actually. It's just that the PS4 is doing better-er.

They've been doing a good job of adding new features each month, Septembers update came out very soon, wasn't even September yet. This makes me think they're working on a bigger update coming later this month to go hand in hand with the 2nd release to more markets and or the October 1410 update could be huge.

For me in the netherlands it will not change much. I preordered it as soon as possible, early 2013. Waited untill a couple daylay were confirmed and a 4q 2014 release was a plausibe rumor. I bought the ps4 in February. The posibility of buying both consoles was still an option, canceled it last month when the offer of fifa and forza was given to me and everyone and who was ordering right then. I hate fifa and a 1 year old game.. really?
Apperently i like my ps4 enough to have my first controller swapped yesterday due to rubber tear on the stick (launch issues are expected). Meanwhile microsoft announced voice controll will not work in the netherlands at the september launch (localization was the reason for the year long delay...

Having only sold half as much consoles as Sony is not bad if you are only represented in less than a quarter of the countries

Stoffel said,
Having only sold half as much consoles as Sony is not bad if you are only represented in less than a quarter of the countries

The counter argument there is that most of those 47 or so countries are so small that any sales there don't add much to the overall total but I'd argue that if you take them as a whole and add up everything those extra markets for the PS4 could have easily added an additional 2million unit sales if not a bit more. We never get a breakdown of sales in those places like we do for US and Japan.

But that argument is flawed. Lets look at two small countries, Sweden have 9-10 million, and Norway have 4million inhabitants. The thing is, both these countries have good economy, and almost everyone I know in these two countries owns a console.

Wall-swe said,
But that argument is flawed. Lets look at two small countries, Sweden have 9-10 million, and Norway have 4million inhabitants. The thing is, both these countries have good economy, and almost everyone I know in these two countries owns a console.

I agree that these smaller countries (relative to the US and Japan etc) should be taken more into account and don't agree with the argument that most of those additional markets the PS4 is in don't make a difference which is what some like to say when comparing the two consoles sales numbers.

I don't know details and so I can't do more than just guess but I'd say it's a very safe bet to say the benefit of those markets gives the PS4 at least ~2million out of the 10million it's sold so far. Now for all we know that number could be higher as well, we'll have a better indication of the impact more markets have when the XB1 finally releases in more and how that works out.

Though even then you have to factor into it that a number of people who already have a PS4 probably won't get a XB1 as well and so on, so the sales could be lower for the XB1 in those markets after this long delay.

Wall-swe said,
But that argument is flawed. Lets look at two small countries, Sweden have 9-10 million, and Norway have 4million inhabitants. The thing is, both these countries have good economy, and almost everyone I know in these two countries owns a console.

If MS sells an average 50k units in each of those 26 countries that's 1.3 Million consoles. So, it does make a difference at this time in the console's life cycle.

Countries like Japan and India aren't small countries to possible do well in. But when you're wrapping up 47 countries together you're going to have a significant jump in sales if each country averages 15,000 unit sales in a launch month. 15k isn't a huge number but would contribute to 705k units moved if that were the case. The XB1 will sell more than 15k in Japan, China, India and perhaps the northern European countries like Switzerland. It will be interesting to see how things shape up when the numbers come in mid-late October.

There is the price drop and media features to add to this as well, along with the id@Xbox program with a potential slew of surprise gems and possibly a plex app.

duddit2 said,
There is the price drop and media features to add to this as well, along with the id@Xbox program with a potential slew of surprise gems and possibly a plex app.

I'm hoping they start to talk about the app store soon, that'd be a big thing to have, let 3rd parties make apps for the XB1 and release them on the store, make them universal apps and even better.

I expect it'll be harder to get your app on the XB1 compared to Windows and WP but just having the option to try makes a difference.

duddit2 said,
There is the price drop and media features to add to this as well, along with the id@Xbox program with a potential slew of surprise gems and possibly a plex app.

There wasn't really a price drop. There is just an Kinect-less bundle which obviously costs less.

Jarrichvdv said,

There wasn't really a price drop. There is just an Kinect-less bundle which obviously costs less.

I thought there was a price drop with the Titanfall release? I could be making that up but I'm sure the console was reduced around that time and then a month or so later they released the Kinectless variation with an even lower price.

I think the good thing to remember when people look at the XB1 as a failure is what the article has pointed out, the XB1 is outselling the XB360 on sold after release point of view so the console has still been a huge success for MS, it's just that PS4 is smashing it with amazing sales that makes it look not so impressive.