Weekend Short-Takes: 12/6/13

Microsoft’s Xbox One wins early sales battle on Black Friday

 

Simon Wu: 

...but we're still neck and neck, folks. Even the last gen console race is more or less a wash. Each sensational story we hear about one side beating the other is simply the other horse taking one step further than the other... for a few seconds. This is probably due to two things: the fact that Black Friday occurred far closer to the Xbox One launch, when pent-up demand was still being served, and further away from the PS4, so all the Sony fans were already set. The other aspect was that Sony evidently had some severe supply shortages, crimping sales. At any rate, neither were on sale, being so new, and I'm not sure the extra customer traffic particularly motivated purchases without any price cut. 

Max Gruber: 

That's fine and all, but how many units did the Xbox One actually sell during Black Friday? As discussed below, the PS4 is still dominating in the UK, even though the Xbox One released a week before the PS4 in the UK. That being said, we also have to think about what they were buying the Xbox One for, since it's not solely a gaming console. Were they buying it for the games, or were they buying it for the bundle of services? It's interesting to see where the Xbox One goes in regards to gaming, since I feel like both Microsoft and, to a lesser extent, Sony are mitigating the gaming portion of these machines for the services they will provide. 

VentureBeat 

UK Software Chart: PS4 breaks sales records

 

Simon Wu: 

And here is the other side of the swinging pendulum. I'm pretty sure that Sony has always been a more powerful presence in Europe. Sony's release schedule says it all. The US launch date came both a week ahead of the Xbox and two weeks ahead of its release everywhere else in the world. That speaks volumes about the how much emphasis Sony is placing on trying to beat the Xbox on home turf, while not caring about the places where its supremacy will be more or less guaranteed. Hell, Sony almost has a monopoly on the hardcore gaming market in Japan, where the PS4 won't launch until next February. That confidence in absolute dominance on the home market meant Sony could push all supply to the US for maximum launch presence and availability. 

Max Gruber: 

As I wrote above, despite all the special bonuses from games like FIFA 14, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Battlefield 4, the PS4 is still dominating the Xbox One. Again, I wrote this in an earlier Short-Takes, but I think people just want to play the games and don't give a hoot about the services. Look back to the PS2. It is the top selling console of all time, with 155 million units sold before its discontinuation, and there wasn't any sort of entertainment services on there; it was a pure gaming device. If 155 million people—assuming that all 155 million people bought one of them and didn't buy another one because of hardware issues or the like—is considered a minority, I have no idea what is considered the universal majority. 

Jonathan Tung: 

Not surprising given the lack of PS4s on shelves. However, given the recent news that Sony will be supplying additional PS4 consoles in the near future, I am assuming that the success would be short lived. Also, do keep in mind that the amount of consoles sold in each store on Black Friday may vary, depending on whatever discounts each might be offering: for example, the most bought electronics at Target that day were iPads and 3DS consoles. 

EA: Digital-only future for console games is not happening soon

 

Simon Wu: 

Despite the convenience of digital downloads, there are many reasons it's not happening. Firstly, as demonstrated by the Xbox One, developers aren't good at it yet. The touted ability to start playing 30 minutes in or so is true... if you count the settings menu as playing. Also, the fact it took 30 minutes is unacceptable. Unfortunately that is entirely contingent on the speed of Internet connections, but there's no reason the developer couldn't package just the base starting areas more efficiently to get you off the ground faster. The second concern is price. We have yet to see if Microsoft will rework the way it does Games on Demand for the One, but as far as the 360 is concerned, prices are not nearly dynamic enough. Sales should not only happen when Major Nelson posts a list of 20 ancient and obscure games that are 50-75% off, while everything else stays at the full $60. 

Max Gruber: 

Never gonna happen in a million years, especially considering that the internet infrastructure is a total joke. That, and a physical copy will carry you way farther than a digital copy. Unlike a physical copy, you have to worry about the amount of space left on your hard drive and whether you can download it or not. Whereas with a physical copy, all you need is the disk and that's that—no need to worry about hard drive space. But, unfortunately we now live in a world where every game requires an install to the hard drive in order to play, meaning that you'll lose space no matter what you do. I can't wait to install a 5 terabyte SSD into my PS4 three years from now. 

Leaked Footage Of GTA Online's Content Creator Surfaces

 

Simon Wu: 

Halo's Forge mode showed us how creative users can be, even learning and employing some tricks to do some things the editor didn't even really allow for. I cast my mind back to Halo 3's forge, where people learned to spawn blocks within each other to create amazing race tracks. When applied to an entire city as a canvas, with many different kinds of missions and environments, I can't help but be excited. My only hope is that people start making use of the really remote mountain and desert areas that you seldom touch in the game, and make them somehow interesting and engaging. 

Max Gruber: 

Having spent a bit more time in Los Santos, I have been starting to experience a lot of fatigue from playing the same jobs multiple times to earn more money. I do feel like additional content is a ready plus, but it shouldn't be limited to just content that Rockstar puts out—it should also be content that the community creates. I do wonder how someone will join a custom match, since I don't see it possible to have every single piece of user-created content manifesting every square inch of Los Santos at once. That being said, I look forward to creating a motorcycle race in the derby racetrack near Vinewood Hills, as well as a racetrack on the landing strip in the Grand Senora Desert. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4kT08p6UyYY 

Solifluktion's picture

As an European I always found it baffling how successful the Xboxes are in the US. I don't know anyone who ever had one of the Xboxes but I'm hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't at least own the PS2.

Are there any reasons besides "Microsoft is American so it's better." ?

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