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
  • davey_6679
    you can buy an x1 with titanfall for 450 at wal mart and target right now, target also has an x1 with 12 months of xbl instead of titanfall for 450. Compared to the ps4 for 400 with out a game it sort of levels the field a little. While its not an official price drop from ms, they should pay attention as every wal mart and target i went to looking for an x1 was sold out
  • Ra3030
    Even if the price is the same the PS4 still has a advantage being the more powerful console and up till this point it's clearly the more powerful. Also if Microsoft drops the price to $400 and the kinect with the price drop it won't be long before Sony drops their price to $375 or even $350. Sony not only being the more powerful console also has better cards to play when the price starts to drop with them already being at $400. Why do we even care if Microsoft sells more consoles in the USA? The only thing American about them is that Microsoft HG is located in America. Everything they produce is done outside this country. And if they don't sell more consoles than Sony in the USA are we going to then break down each state till we find one where the Xbox One has more consoles sold than the PS4 so we can claim victory?
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Trying to undermine the importance of this sales region is ridiculous.

    And this "more powerful" stuff didn't work for the original Xbox (which was more powerful than the PS2) or the PS3 (which was more powerful than the 360, but still get slammed in the US).

    Power only interests the hardcore gamers, and they're in the vast majority of the consuming public.
  • Ra3030
    Good point on " the power" issue. With that said as of right now in most multi plat games the power difference is noticeable and the original Xbox nor the PS3 was able to put that "more power" to use. And maybe the PS4 won't either we'll see. As far as the importance of a sales region goes in your article you do point out the the Xbox 360 sold more here in the USA than the PS3 but you did not mention what the RROD effect had on those sales of the Xbox 360 here in the USA. I was a Xbot last gen and am in the USA and I had purchased 4 Xbox360's. I would also guess the avg 360 user has purchased 2.5 consoles. But no matter a sale is a sale. I will agree with you the X1 will in the end of the gen in the US market out sell the PS4 but the margin will be very close 51% to 49% in x1 favor and worldwide the Sony PS4 wins going away 65%, 35%. I went PS4 this gen and so has more of my Xbox360 friends than ones that went X1. I think if MS dumps the kinect and the price to $299 more of us will get the X1 and if they don't then we were never their market. To a person, speaking of my friends list gaming friends everyone of us have the same opinion about the X1 and that's, we don't won't or have a need for that cable box stuff. With the kinect some of us could take it or leave it. If it had a use we'd take it and that use would have to be in games. But it doesn't and it's pretty clear now it won't so there's that. Clearly MS has dug a deep hole and maybe they won't get out of it we'll see. Sony on the other hand is playing a strong game as of now and it looks like it'll be a while before that changes if ever. Good luck to MS.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    You're right about the multiplat difference. A lot of big-name multiplats are running better on PS4; better frame rate, higher resolution, etc.

    However, again, this really only affects the hardcore crowd, who are in the minority. Most consumers can't tell the difference between 960p and 1080p, for example. My point is that this performance difference won't have any notable impact on the difference between PS4 and Xbox One sales.

    You're also right about the RRoD issue. I've always said MS had inflated 360 sales because of that major problem. Nobody I know bought less than 3 360s last generation; many bought more. However, I can't really be sure of actual numbers so it would only be wild speculation if I tried to apply the RRoD mess to overall sales.

    You're hardly the only former Xbox fan to side with Sony this generation. But I do have one question: You really won't EVER buy the Xbox One? Even if it dropped in price and had games you wanted? Bear in mind it's still very early...... ;)
  • Kaylynn_6011
    Absolutely not.

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