The Xbox One UK price drop: What does it mean for the US? Preview

The Xbox One is getting a price drop effective immediately in the UK, going from £430 to £400. But the rest of the world is getting a freebie as well–while supplies last, you’ll be able to pick up an Xbox One bundle with a free Titanfall download code when the game launches on March 11. That deal encompasses the UK price drop as well, offering an even deeper discount on the Xbox One’s price for lucky Brits who’ve held off on buying a console.

While Microsoft has said that the price cut doesn’t mean their system is struggling, what does all this really mean for the Xbox’s biggest potential market: the US? GameSpot’s editors discuss.

Edward Makuch (GameSpot News Editor): Let’s not read too far into today’s announcement. If you believe Microsoft (and I do), the battle they face against Sony in the console space is a long-haul effort. We’re only months into a cycle that stands to potentially span a decade. Microsoft knew it had the more expensive console going into last holiday. The $ 100 premium over the PlayStation 4 is nothing new and it’s not something Microsoft is wary of because, in Microsoft’s words, they have the “better system.”

And so, the fact that the UK price cut is not coming to North America tells me Microsoft remains confident in its ability to sell the Xbox One at $ 500. The UK price cut appears to be a one-off promotion aimed at capitalizing on the launch of Titanfall next month rather than a desperate move to gain ground against Sony. The PS4 is off to a hot start, for sure, but Sony’s initial success does not necessarily mean Microsoft’s demise.

It’s up to Microsoft to prove to consumers that the Xbox One is worth $ 100 more than the PS4. I don’t think they’ve done it sufficiently yet, but with a string of highly anticipated exclusives and ambitious digital initiatives in the pipeline, I’m optimistic about Microsoft’s long-term plans.

Thomas Mc Shea (GameSpot Editor): Microsoft isn’t stupid. Despite how much I and many others prefer solo adventuring, a large part of a console’s success is determined by how well it can foster a community of competitive players. Grab hold of those who enjoy firing guns at their friends and enemies, and you’ve secured system loyalty for years down the line. That’s why Microsoft shelled out money to keep Titanfall from appearing on any console bearing the Sony brand, and that’s why you’re seeing them make such a bold pricing move just three months after the console debuted. Do not overlook just how important Titanfall is for Microsoft.

If they can lure those who have pushed Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield toward the top of the retail charts for the past decade, then Microsoft has established the Xbox One as the definitive console for multiplayer conquests. Once you get a taste of that mech-on-mech action, you’re going to tell your friends, and soon one purchase becomes too many to count. And, yes, this doesn’t preclude people from buying a PlayStation 4 as well, but if Microsoft can convince people that Xbox One is the place for competition, then people will flock toward every upcoming shooter on the Xbox One because that’s where all of their friends let out their day’s stresses.

Microsoft is betting a lot on Titanfall. We’ll soon see if their gamble was worth the cost.

Randolph Ramsay (GameSpot Managing Editor): There are really only two things we can safely glean from today’s price drop announcement. One, the Xbox One hasn’t shipped enough units in the UK. And two, the console is selling well enough in the US to not warrant a similar drop (just a free copy of Titanfall). So despite all the sound and fury about next-gen console sales numbers in recent weeks, it seems Microsoft isn’t feeling that freaked out about the gap between PS4 and Xbox One sales, at least in the US. That means a price drop isn’t likely for US gamers any time soon. Sorry everyone–you’ll have to stick with that $ 500 price tag for now.

The UK price drop isn’t necessarily a harbinger of doom for Microsoft’s new console, either. Sure, it’s not a great look to cut the price of your much-hyped system barely three months after release, but Microsoft is looking at this console generation as a marathon, and not a sprint (as was the previous generation). The PS3 was famously behind the Xbox 360 in sales for much of the last console cycle, only to make up ground and eventually overtake the 360 in global units shipped. Microsoft is playing the long game, and the UK news from overnight is just one move in a very, very long and complicated game of chess.

Justin Haywald (GameSpot Senior News Editor): Microsoft still doesn’t know what they’re doing. While the price drop is great for the UK, it seems like the company is ignorant of the fact that every other country that’s not the UK can read the same news and now knows they’re not getting the same deal. Add in the fact that current purchasers get a free copy of Titanfall, and it just feels like Microsoft is insulting everyone who ordered an Xbox One early.

At least when Nintendo dropped the price on their 3DS, they had the foresight to give their audience a selection of free exclusive games.

In the end, I think this will do more harm than good for the Xbox One. If you’re in the market for a system and you don’t get a console with Titanfall, why wouldn’t you wait for the next price drop/reduced price bundle? And there’s no chance that the rest of us will get Titanfall for free, since Microsoft would be giving up on their sizable pre-order crowd. It seems they haven’t really learned anything from last year’s E3 missteps.

Those are our opinions, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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