The Xbox One has failed to sell more than Sony’s PS4 for months. In June Microsoft decided it would start pushing games and selling the Xbox One at $399 to stabilize its sales base. As a new ad reveals, the company is now hoping to recapture a bit of its lost swagger by galvanizing its most loyal fans with new game footage and a speech about winning from the movie Rocky Balboa.
Microsoft first starting airing this new Xbox One ad over the last week. The ad is important because it’s the first ad that gets away from the all-in-one entertainment message that Microsoft had been pushing before and after the Xbox One launch last fall.
There’s no real world footage of users holding an Xbox One controller or telling their console to change the channel using the Kinect 2 sensor. Instead, this winning Xbox One ad is an homage to everything that’s going right with Microsoft’s console: games. There’s a short clip from Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Sunset Overdrive, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity.
During the entire ad, Sylvester Stallone can be heard giving a speech about the nature of winning.
“Let me tell you something you already know,” he says. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It will beat you to your knees if you let it. Nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But, it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
The advertisement ends with Stallone screaming “That’s how winning is done,” while words on the screen read “The best games of the year live on Xbox One.” Again, the entire speech, is taken from Rocky Balboa, the sixth film in the Rocky franchise.
This new ad seems to be as much of a message to longtime fans as it as a way to get new console gamers to pick up the Xbox One. The Xbox One took a beating in its first year from longtime Xbox 360 fans and gamers. Microsoft was forced to ditch its game sharing plans late in the console’s development cycle when potential buyers reacted negatively to a restriction that would have forced them to connect their Xbox One to Xbox Live every day to play their games. Sadly, that gaming share was going to be one of the highlights of Microsoft’s approach to next-generation gaming.
Microsoft seems ready to start acting like the underdog that it is. It’s certainly making moves that an underdog would make. In June it made two important changes to the Xbox ecosystem. First, it announced that cheaper $399 Xbox One bundle that drops the Kinect 2 sensor. Microsoft then matched what Sony was doing in the online gaming space. It stopped requiring users to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription to use entertainment apps, then revealed a refreshed version of Games with Gold that lets users download free titles and play them as long as their Xbox Live subscription is active.
Whether this ad, new attitude and cheaper console will be enough to overcome the PS4 remains unclear. Microsoft is going into the fall and winter with a limited set of exclusive titles. Of the four games showcased in this new ad, only Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Sunset Overdrive are exclusive to the Xbox One. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare buyers on the Xbox One will get downloadable content ahead of PS4 players too, but that’s hardly an advantage worth choosing an Xbox One for.
Today’s ad once again points out that the Xbox One is now available at just $399. Users who purchase that version of the console will be able to buy a Kinect 2 sensor separately at some point in the future. The $499 Xbox One with Kinect 2 sensor is still available.