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The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

Jonathan Lester
Microsoft, Xbox One

The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

The Xbox One has been crushing it this Christmas. Phil Spencer's plan was brilliantly simple -- release some great games, cut the price and the gamers will come -- and seems to be working like a charm. Retailers fought tooth and nail to offer the best bundles over Black Friday and beyond, while only today we posted about an insane Xbox One bundle deal with 6 AAA games (thanks again to preparationiskey @ HUKD!). It's great to see a big company move so quickly and even better to see them moving in the right direction too.

And yet, according to plenty of folks out there in internet land, this is somehow a bad thing.

Microsoft are desperate. Microsoft are losing money. Microsoft have gone mad. Microsoft are pathetic.

No. Let's get some perspective here.

The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

First off, it's always worth remembering that retailers have final cut when it comes to bundles and voucher codes, especially here in the UK.  So... yeah. However, Microsoft's decision to slash the RRP, decouple Kinect and cut down their own margins is what directly led to this fantastic price war -- so the buck ultimately stops with them.

Was it a desperate move? Maybe, at least when you consider the months beforehand. In fairness I've described Microsoft as "desperate" a couple of times myself over the last few weeks, but only because they were put in a horrible bind by a certain Mister Mattrick and his old guard. The Xbox One started this generation as a ridiculously overpriced and bloated entertainment centre, meaning that Spencer had to put in a shift and make some incredibly tough decisions to cut out the dead wood and save what he could.

Despite the Xbox brand almost being poisoned beyond redemption, removing Kinect, relaxing Gold restrictions on entertainment and pushing out great games has turned it around. Though it was a desperate year, it was just a job that needed doing. A job done, perhaps, at least in the short term.

The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

But when it comes to the slew of recent Xbox One bundle deals, some of which have been officially organised and publicised by Microsoft UK, they know exactly what they're doing.

Partly they're making up for lost time. Putting the Xbox One back on track took several months; months that could have been spent selling and building up a strong install base if only their philosophy, price and message had been on-point from the get-go. Microsoft had to wait until they were in a position to turn it around, and the slew of great Christmas exclusives along with the reduced RRP proved to be the tipping point. Since the incredibly expensive Kinect sensor is no longer mandatory, the Xbox One's margins are presumably much higher than before and granted them the freedom to be more creative with exclusive bundles, discounts and a price that rightly weighs in at less than the PS4; a more powerful machine.

Plus, as we all know, console manufacturers make their money from software and services, not from the hardware.

The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

There's nothing desperate about it. Microsoft just had to wait for the right time to hit it hard, which also conveniently happened to coincide with Black Friday.

However, they also saw an opportunity and grasped it with both hands.

See, while the PS4 is an utterly fantastic machine with some great multiplatform games, its exclusives have been small in number and undeniably underwhelming so far. Sony's decision to support the PS3 so well left the big first-party PS4 titles deep in development, meaning that this Christmas we basically have DriveClub and LittleBigPlanet 3 to pick up all of the slack.

The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

Meanwhile, Microsoft had Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 2, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and all of the same multiplats. You'd be mad not to try to take full advantage by pushing the console as hard as possible and get it into as many homes as possible, using both the games and the price to devastating effect. That's exactly what they did. It's not desperate, it's just good business.

Will it become business as usual? Though the Xbox One overtook the PS4 and Wii U in terms of November sales, the long game is all about momentum. Momentum that certainly favours Sony as far as the first half of 2015 is concerned, but for now, Microsoft have managed to shift an impressive number of consoles and turn a flop into a comeback. Competition keeps console manufactures (relatively) honest, and we can't wait to see what happens when the most anticipated new-generation games release next year.

Still in the market for an Xbox One? Be sure to follow our console bundle deals and make sure you've bookmarked our games deals stream!

Add a comment5 comments
b9gamer  Dec. 16, 2014 at 17:39

It is clearly out of desperation to get as many consoles into peoples homes. If they do loose money on each unit they will absorb it in their other divisions. No other company could do this on this scale and survive.. Example : 1 billion dollar write off for the 360 RROD issues. Any other company would be out of business. Because of the Windows monopoly they can afford to disrupt the game industry with little to no effect on their bottom line, while removing competition. This does not seem to benefit the gamer, only the long term Microsoft strategy to monopolize all forms of technology. One last thought, if this is such good business why did they only offer this 'deal' this generation and at this time? Why not have a clear message that listened to gamers from the start, not in 'reaction'? Don't they know us already?

WOMBAT33R  Dec. 16, 2014 at 17:41

A damn good deal.

Doors  Dec. 16, 2014 at 18:45

Why not have a clear message that listened to gamers from the start, not in 'reaction'? Don't they know us already?

Microsoft were clearly blinkered in development dreams for the xbox one. They dreamt of this fantastic multi-media platform that would shape peoples front rooms. They completely forgot to listen to the people who would actually buy their consoles until it had already been released. I personally think that the moves they have made with cutting prices and trimming the fat (ie kinect) means they have NOW listened to people and are giving them what they want. I don't think it's desperation just a bit of common sense at last.

melmacj7  Dec. 16, 2014 at 19:02

Good sense bad sense who really cares. It's almost certain that if Sony wasn't ahead in sales up to November. We still see a 399 or even 499 Xbox with Kinect. Maybe it's all common sense but one thing for sure they can't be trusted for I'm concern. They're too many options for gaming. Like b8gamer also stated Microsoft thought they'd come in this generation and tell gamers what they will have to buy. Gamers can dumb all the way down to a cell phone if needed for gaming. For me the thing is just all over the place. But on the other hand if you like what Xbox has to offer then all means get in on the deals. I wish I had waited before I got my son that 499 model. And I have to say I feel better about owning a ps4 with it price holding firm at 399 with the exception of free games. The early XBone adopters have to feel burned a little but that's just my opinion. The author also list some exclusives. I'll grant that but I wouldn't discredit one of the biggest players for exclusive titles. It's like a sleeping giant.

Last edited by melmacj7, Dec. 16, 2014 at 19:16
Teppic2000  Dec. 17, 2014 at 00:47

I think it's a bit of both really Jon.

The Xbox One was a failing product up until now; desperation has lead them to producing some bargain bundles in order to shift units. If they had the "console war" sawn up or it was more even I doubt we'll be close to seeing bundles of this nature.

The fact it's now selling makes perfect sense as the "premium" price they were demanding obviously wasn't cutting it (even without the Kinect sensor it's the same RRP as a PS4). I think the price it's at now tipped the balance in the mind of the consumer. It's perceived to be the less powerful console but now it's also "cheaper" then the PS4 and thus worth throwing down the cash. I guess we'll see what happens when the price goes back up in a month or two.

Personally I think a lot of people with Xbox 360's weren't enamoured with the original price/policies and a fair few went out and grabbed PS4's. The rest have waited and finally been rewarded with a major price cut and a welcome shift in the mentality of MS.

I think the games at the moment have little to do with it, MS has 1 more exclusive out this x-mas and out of that list I'm only interested in LBP3 and Sunset Overdrive. Perhaps I'm missing something but I don't think either console has got that killer game out for it yet.

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