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Xbox Will Inevitably Reclaim Control of the US Territory

There's little chance that PlayStation will hold onto its relatively slim lead in North America, especially once the Xbox One drops in price.

Let's recap, shall we?

The Xbox 360 ruled the North American region. I mean, it wasn't even close. The only reason the PlayStation 3 narrowly beat out the 360 last generation is because Sony is simply more popular in most other major territories (Europe, Asia, Japan, etc.).

The 360 typically outsold the PS3 by 2:1 and even 3:1 margins in the US, despite Sony's machine gaining ground late. It was a shocking turnaround after the PS2 completely dominated the industry in the earlier era, but as the 360 launched first (over a year ahead) and maintained a cheaper price tag for several years, it took the US by storm.

Microsoft knows this is their territory. They know they're not going to win in Japan or most European territories. They advertise like mad and most American consumers do respond.

When all is said and done, the PlayStation 4 will have the global lead, but it won't have that lead in North America.

The recent IDC report makes it plain: if Xbox One falls in price, it will regain control of the North American region

If you paid attention to the news today, you noticed the latest IDC report, which offers the following forecast: With 51 million units sold, the PS4 will have the worldwide lead by 2016. At the same time, if Microsoft removes Kinect from the Xbox One package - thereby allowing the price to fall to $400, presumably - the Xbox brand will eventually take over the US. It's not difficult to understand why, is it?

Despite the PS3 having superior exclusives throughout the previous generation, it seemed clear that North American consumers really only responded heavily to price. The PS3 was more expensive for a while and hence, Sony dug themselves a deep hole. They climbed out of it - as I and many others predicted they would - but the bottom line is this: With the two systems being equal, American gamers invariably chose the 360 over the PS3.

Why should that change if the PS4 and Xbox One are the same price?

PS4 has a VERY slim lead in the US now

According to the NPD results, the PS4 narrowly eked out a victory in February and March. If it's this close with the PS4's $100 advantage, what happens when that advantage disappears and titles like Halo 5 are on the shelf? Let's also not forget that the majority of Day-1 Call of Duty owners pick up the Xbox version, and Advanced Warfare is now set for the holiday season. I've said before that Sony really needs to deliver at least one top-tier exclusive for 2014 (preferably Uncharted 4) if they're to have any hope of holding onto their lead in the US.

Yes, the PS4 has a significant worldwide lead. But that's to be expected. What nobody expected is to see the PS4 outselling the Xbox One in North America; I think that surprised everyone, even me. The problem is that the $100 stumbling block isn't proving to be that much of a deterrent to US consumers. Once it's gone...

What's to stop this from happening? Games? The PS3 had better games than the Xbox 360 (yes, I'm aware it's an opinion, but it's a widespread one) and that didn't stop Sony from getting slaughtered in this country.

I think, however, it will be close... very close, all the way to the end

All this being said, even if Xbox reclaims possession of North America, it won't be by much. This is going to be a very close race in this country, and I don't see Xbox One topping PS4 anywhere else in the world. Sometimes I wonder why this is the case...

Published May. 7th 2014
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