The stars may finally be aligned for the Xbox One team. This year at E3, the Xbox One team landed some well-received announcements for the upcoming gaming season. A few crowd favorites included Xbox One backward compatibility, a slew of games scheduled for the coming months, and updated hardware and software. Over the past year and a half, Sony’s Playstation 4 has been leading sales and adoption rates ahead of the Xbox One. With few differentiators, the Xbox One has struggled to pull ahead thus far. A few timed exclusives and a price drop have helped keep the console within throwing distance of the PS4, but buying patterns and momentum are still in Sony’s favor.
Fortunately for the Xbox One team, it looks like Sony may be taking the remainder of the year to retool and prepare for next years gaming season. Yes, Sony announced some games for the fall, but much of their press conference focused on IPs coming out next year, VR projects for next year and TV ambitions for the year. Lacking any announcements of price drops, updates to hardware or a need-to-have feature, the PS4 is essentially the same console it was three years ago. Sitting at 20 million plus consoles sold, the PS4 is sitting comfortably at the top of this console generation. However, the Xbox 360 and PS3 sold upwards of 80 million in their comparative lifespan. There is plenty of room for both consoles to grow, and Microsoft executive Aaron Greenberg believes this year the Xbox could make up some ground. A GameSpot reporter sat down with Greenberg and he had this to say, “a string of blockbuster exclusive games and new backward compatibility functionality will lead to a “massive migration” of Xbox 360 owners moving to Xbox One.”
It has taken some time, and a few bumpy releases, but the Xbox One has some console selling IPs lined for later this year. “A lot of people have been waiting for the next Halo; a lot of people have been waiting for Gears; a lot of people have been waiting for backwards compatibility,” Greenberg said. Greenberg also notes that while the PS4 has made some impressive gains on attracting new customers, “Our fanbase has stayed very loyal. And frankly, they’re waiting for those new releases to come this year.”
Some critics have already begun to dismiss the announcement of backward compatibility. The argument of timing seems to be a main talking point; the Xbox One team waited too long to implement it, and Xbox 360 owners have moved on some claim. According to Greenberg, there is still a ton of Xbox 360 activity going on, and for those watching, not to underestimate how important backwards compatibility will be for people hesitant to upgrade to new consoles. The Xbox One this time around has finally begun to address the larger checkboxes in its user feedback list. Perhaps, with a few more monthly updates, users can stop referencing what used to be and, instead start discussing what could be for the this generation of consoles.