In a statement trumpeting its success during the holiday shopping season, Microsoft makers of the Xbox One entertainment console, revealed the big Xbox One price cut that helped it beat out Sony’s PS4 for the top sales spot in the United States is back.
Microsoft announced its decision to bring back the Xbox One price cut last night in a post on its Xbox Wire news blog. Everything seems to match the price cut from last year, purchasing an entry level Xbox One without Kinect 2 sensor once again costs shoppers $349.99. Just like last time, the Xbox One price cut includes console bundles that already have a game. For comparison, the Xbox One without Kinect and this Xbox One price cut cost the same as Sony’s PS4, $399.
Naturally, the question being asked is why the Xbox One price cut is back without any changes, just weeks after Microsoft ended it. The company doesn’t specifically comment on what led to the return of the Xbox One price cut. It’s possible that Microsoft noticed sales slow once the price of the Xbox One went up. It’s also possible that Microsoft intentionally let the previous Xbox One price cut run out so that it could heavily promote the limited time savings. The company spent the last few weeks of December making it incredibly clear that the deal would end at some point. Building a sense of urgency is one of the usual tricks companies use to keep sales of their products high.
Originally, the Xbox One cost $499. While each bundle included a Kinect 2 sensor, wireless controller, HDMI cable and chat headset. No Xbox One bundle that first year included a game. This past July Microsoft began making big changes to the Xbox ecosystem based on customer feedback. The company introduced a second Xbox One bundle that only cost $399. In exchange for the cheaper price, there isn’t a Kinect 2 sensor in the box. Buyers of this bundle can pick one up later for an additional $150.
Since announcing the return of the Xbox One price cut last night, Microsoft has confirmed that this pricing is temporary, hinting at it going away at some point down the road. The interesting thing here, is that Microsoft has clearly chosen not to disclose when that end date is. Again, Microsoft could have a good reason for staying coy about an end date, but it’s more likely that the company is trying to maintain that must-buy attitude that helped it beat the PS4 in North America during the month of December, according to NPD. Microsoft also says that games for the Xbox One sold more than games for any other current-generation living room game console. That’s without the free copies of games bundled with the Xbox One, the NPD Group doesn’t consider those in its tally.
As it looks to keep the sales domination in the United States going, Microsoft is putting the focus back on what it thinks Xbox One owners and potential buyers really care about: games. In its post Microsoft highlights a number of games all coming to the Xbox One this year. They include Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Evolve, Screamride, The Wither 3: Wild Hunt, Ori and the Blind Forest, Battlefield Hardline and “many more surprises.” It’s interesting to note that Microsoft doesn’t mention Quantum Break, a game being developed exclusively for the Xbox One by Remedy Entertainment and was scheduled for a 2015 release. Halo 5, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Screamride are all Xbox One exclusives that Microsoft needs if it wants to keep convincing shoppers to pick up its game console instead of the PS4.