Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thoughts About Xbox One's "Special" Price

On Wednesday, January 14th, Microsoft announced that beginning last Friday, the Xbox One will be available at a "special price" of $349. This "promotion" comes less than two weeks after the price of the console returned to $399. For the uninitiated, Microsoft dropped the price of the Xbox One to $349 during the holidays. They were clear in stating this was temporary and would end on January 3rd.

There was speculation during the holiday season about whether this would actually end. Along with many others, I surely thought the price change would stick. Then we changed our calendars and realized we were wrong. The holiday price drop could've just been to entice buyers to pick up an Xbox One during the increased shopping season. It also could've been a move in the ongoing "console war" with the PlayStation 4 and Wii U. A war in which Microsoft has not been faring so well. It'd be hard for even them to deny how rough the Xbox One launched. Gamers knew it. Game journalists knew it. And you better believe Sony and Nintendo knew it. Sony's clearly had a strong lead since the PS4 hit shelves. And even before that, if you take into account those early pre-orders. And despite Nintendo's odd place and marketing decisions, you can't discount the Wii U and their handhelds (in all their variations).

As expected, this move led to strong holiday sales and Microsoft made up some ground in what's hopefully a long race. So one has to wonder why they would have even considered reverting to $399. It wouldn't be unreasonable to think that a lower price would contribute to more console sales and more dollars thus making up for previous losses. My degrees aren't in sales, so this is all an outsider's perspective.

Currently, you should be able to find the standard Xbox One and two bundles in stores and online. There's the Assassin's Creed: Unity bundle which also includes Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The other includes the Master Chief Collection. It should be noted the Assassin's Creed bundle includes tokens for digital copies of those games. That's likely more relevant for people, such as myself, who enjoy having physical copies to add to their shelves.

As stated, it's still unknown whether this will be the permanent price for the Xbox One or if there will be an expiration date. I would bet it's the permanent price going forward. So what do you think about Microsoft's newest "promotion?" If you've been considering picking up an Xbox One, is this price change the nudge you needed to do so? Sound off in the comments.