Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) has sold more than 10m units to consumers since its launch in November last year, while Microsoft’s Xbox One has struggled to muster 5m sales to retailers during the same time. Is Microsoft still being unfairly punished for the many strategic missteps and PR gaffes it made in the run-up to the launch of its console last year?
One of those mistakes is the late launch of the machine in smaller markets such as South Africa. Where Sony managed a true worldwide launch for the PS4 last year, we and many other markets had to wait until September 2014 to get our hands on the Xbox One. That has cost Microsoft South Africa market share with early adopters, but it means the product that launches here is more mature.
Monthly software updates this year have added in features that the Xbox One lacked at launch and fixed issues such as the poor friends and parties systems. The user experience has improved massively as a result. Microsoft has also changed its policy so that indie games developers can now self-publish on the platform. The Xbox One is slowly starting to attract the same sort of indie support as the PS4 already has.
And perhaps most significantly, Microsoft has decoupled the Xbox One and the Kinect 2.0 camera. You can still buy a unit with a Kinect in the box. Or you can also pay 20% less and do without this technically impressive but mostly unwanted appendage. The result is that Microsoft is back in the game – let’s see how its console weighs up next to Sony’s.
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