‘They have a huge lead’
As this console generation nears two years-old, it’s no secret that Xbox has spent the entirety of that time playing catch-up to PlayStation. Sony’s platform started off with a huge lead in sales, and while Xbox may have closed the gap to some degree, PS4 still holds a sizable advantage. In fact, it’s so large that Microsoft’s top brass questions whether it can ever recover.
At the recent GeekWire Summit, when asked whether Xbox One could beat PS4 this generation, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said “You know, I don’t know. You know the length of the generation… [Sony has] a huge lead and they have a good product. I love the content, the games line-up that we have.”
Understandably, Spencer chalks a good chunk of the sales disparity up to losing consumer trust before the console ever launched. “I feel really good about the position and the product and the brand right now, but I was at the GameStop Manager’s Meeting about three weeks ago and I’m sitting with 5,000 GameStop managers in Las Vegas and they’d come up and they still have customers that walk in the store that think that the Xbox One won’t play used games.”
Spencer elaborated “Just to be clear, Xbox One has always played used games from day one. But that perception that gets set early on, because consumers have five seconds to internalise your brand and your message and then they move on. They’re not going to spend time to read what we say afterwards. ‘Oh Xbox One, that’s that thing. If I want it I’ll go buy it and if I don’t I won’t.’ Regaining that trust and the mindshare with the customer, the gamer, is incredibly difficult.”
Reversing that mindset feeds directly into Xbox’s ultimate goal these days: Gaining as many customers as it can. Spencer says that his team isn’t even motivated by beating Sony anymore. According to him, it just wants to build a platform that’s for the consumer, not for the people making it. He thinks that doing that will gain back that trust, which will, in turn, lead to more people adopting the Xbox One.
Spencer: I don’t know if Xbox One can beat PS4 [Videogamer]