Last generation, the Xbox 360 was clearly the console king when it came to online features and multiplayer innovations… but these days, Microsoft is definitely lagging behind in the console war. After Microsoft’s CEO left in 2013, many people started to speculate if the technology giant would leave the console game behind for good. After all, One sales are low when compared with the PlayStation 4, and many gamers agree that the glory days of Halo and Gears of War are behind us… so if the Xbox One isn’t selling so well and doesn’t have a lot to offer gamers in the foreseeable future, will Microsoft even bother with an Xbox Two?
Numbers Don’t Lie
At the end of the day, Microsoft is a corporation, and corporations exist to sell products or services in order to make money. Microsoft’s biggest seller definitely isn’t the Xbox One- in fact, many sources claim it’s not even in the top ten- and most industry experts believe that the company is actually losing money on each Xbox One that it sells. Why would a company want to keep making a product it’s losing money on? The real answer is that they’re hoping for a good return on their investment, meaning they’re banking on the fact that future games will drive more console sales, getting them to a point where they’re profiting off the research, development, marketing and hardware that they put into the console.
However, in the gaming world, that’s a tricky line to walk, especially when your sales pale in comparison to your biggest competitor. For Xbox games to drive Xbox sales, those games have to be exclusive and they have to be good. For that to happen, Microsoft has to invest even more money into the One, so in a way they’re essentially chasing after a carrot on a stick.
With all of that being said, and with the fact that Microsoft’s top ten sellers are all software products, and taking into consideration the company’s new CEO; the smart money would be on the fact that Microsoft cuts their losses and decides to step out of the console war in order to limit their focus. However, this is Microsoft we’re talking about, the company responsible for things like Zune (I’d be surprised if younger readers even know what this is), Nokia (always a joke), Bing (which the internet believes is really only good for porn), and Internet Explorer (do I even need to explain?). The point is, focus isn’t really in Microsoft’s vocabulary… unless they decide to use it as a moniker for yet another failed product.
Competing With the PS4
What this really comes down to, then, is the consumer. While Microsoft stopped reporting XONE sales a little while back, EA’s Chief Financial Officer hinted at the fact that Microsoft has sold around nineteen million units- about sixteen million less than the PS4. If that gap continues to grow (after all, the consoles are only two years into their life cycles), Microsoft simply can’t pretend that they have any real hope of competing anymore. Their last ditch effort could be to make the Xbox Two the console that we’ve all really been wanting from them, complete with a Halo launch title that brings the series back to its roots, but if that doesn’t happen and if the reveal of a new console is met with the same disdain that the One was met with… R.I.P. Xbox.
At this point, it’s still too early to call. Microsoft does have a couple of pretty good XONE exclusives in the works, and the console itself is still fairly young, but they’ve been known to miss the mark on plenty of other products in the past… so only time will tell. Will focus continue to evolve towards Windows? Could an XBOX Two be in the works? What are your views?