By now the countdown is inexorably approaching its deadline. A few more days and Xbox ONE X will land, on (November 7) , in stores around the world. What better time for a new chapter of Terra di Nessuno , the section 17 K Group where to speak openly and direct of the most burning issues of the videogame scene? When we talk about Microsoft, console war and exclusive souls can only heat up.
The most powerful console in the world
Let's talk about the Xbox ONE X, without going too far around it. Initially known as Project Scorpio , the new Microsoft console projects Xbox in the world of middle-gen next to Playstation 4 Pro . GPU with tencology Polaris from 6 Teraflops, 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM, 2.3Ghz CPU … Just read the technical sheet of Xbox ONE X to realize to be in front of a small power monster . Also one of the top authorities in the hardware field, Digital Foundry , praised the console's performance, thus confirming the Microsoft advertisement: la most powerful console in the world . All, without exception, have praised the technical characteristics of Xbox ONE X . It seems that, at least from this point of view, Microsoft this time hit the shot. And yet the doubts and criticisms have not been lacking, but this time they have come to affect another aspect: but where are the games ? And the exclusive ?
The console world tends to be conservative , accustomed to net generational leaps , important, which alternate after several years of service, therefore not very accustomed and reluctant to more fluid changes like those that the current generation of consoles is proposing to us. After the ONE S versions for Xbox and Playstation 4 Slim, the arrival of platforms like Playstation 4 Pro and Xbox ONE X was greeted on the one hand with distrust , on the other with curious interest given the promises to overcome the technical and graphic limits that the public opinion feels belong to your consoles. Currently we do not have the official sales numbers of PS4 Pro , only the judgment “ It is selling well “by Sony in this regard, so it is difficult to discuss it above, given the absence of data in hand. The subject is very complex and transcends the purpose of our editorial: we are not here in fact talking about how the console world and its technological development are evolving
No games, no party
We therefore come to the central point of the article, the thesis I want to deal with: the consoles sell for exclusive . This place, however seems as well established by the masses as denied by the data . Both among Microsoft's detractors and some Xbox users it has spread, especially since last E3 2017 , the idea that Xbox ONE X does not will sell because it has no games capable of pushing sales. Everyone expected new revelations , large IPs revealed only 5 months after the launch of Xbox ONE X, revolutionary and innovative titles ready to support the console sales. These expectations were however disappointed : the postponement of Crackdown 3, the cancellation of Scalebound occurred a few months before, no new triple IP A, too many (according to the public) indie titles the critics and the final consumers did not satisfy on the one hand. Forza Motorsport 7 as the only leading title at the launch of the Xbox ONE X? According to public opinion it is too little ( here the list of the Microsoft exclusives presented at E3). The gaming factor combined with the not so widespread distribution of the televisions 4K and price , content but not economic, seems to mark at the start the fate of the most powerful console in the world
It was enough to open the pre-orders to start cracking this thesis. According to Aaron Greenberg , head of the marketing division for Xbox Games at Microsoft, the pre-orders on Amazon of the limited version “ Project Scorpio Edition “have been sold out within 25 minutes . This is a collector's version, released immediately after the Gamescom in Cologne, which provides a special design on the body, therefore not available in large numbers anyway. I official preorders were opened on 20 September and, according to Microsoft's statements, are going snapped up again , so that some chains have already run out of availability
This therefore confirms that the interest of the players and the public towards ONE X is, is alive and strong. Although there are no games ? Evidently yes, always if you want to consider the current Xbox title park as insufficient and / or not up to par, but this is purely for personal taste. What then, let's be honest, the 12 December arrives on Xbox Playerunknown's Battlegrounds , the game that was able to break Steam and undermine DOTA 2 from the podium of the most played games (2.5 million peak of daily players. Today). Success is now about to be repeated on consoles. Digressions aside, Xbox ONE X is an elite product and follows the same guidelines that led Microsoft two years ago to produce the Elite Controller for Xbox ONE . Cutting-edge technology, the best of hardware and performance, costs, inevitably high and intended for a specific audience , which makes intensive and methodical use of the videogame medium. With the intentions, a product almost aimed at paying homage to that portion of more loyal users but which in practice, at least in the case of ONE X, could do much more and gain a greater market share.
It would be ridiculous to think that thanks to Xbox ONE X Microsoft is able to recover the sales gap that separate it from Playstation 4 . The Redmond giant aims more at to definitively re-establish its image in the gaming field, still affected by that disastrous launch of Xbox ONE occurred now 4 years ago, retaining users and demonstrating that they are able to develop and produce, not only quality online services, but also cutting-edge hardware platforms. At this point the massive opposition that claims the lack of games , exclusive and more on the Xbox could arise again. Excluding the fact, as I pointed out earlier, that it only becomes true on the basis of one's personal and subjective parameters, this generation of consoles has clearly shown us that it is not true that the sales of a platform make games.
Now let's warm our hands, let's clarify two things before being accused of fanboysmo and get ready to flame. I am a PC gamer, the 95% of my gaming activity takes place on PC, I have an Xbox ONE bought to actually play only Halo 5, I don't have a Playstation 4 for economic reasons and I have no intention of buying an Xbox ONE X. Clear this, we can start.
Pulls a hair more 1080 p that an exclusive cart
Let's start with the first fact: Playstation 4 sold for years to the sound of remastered and without significant exclusives . A year and a half if we consider Bloodborne as such, two and a half years if instead we consider Uncharted 4 .
A little clarification: with exclusive exclusions we do not mean quality securities, but titles that have sold as much and that have been able to push and heavily affect console sales . It is therefore a matter purely of sales numbers and not quality of the titles.
As we were saying, Playstation 4 sold so much at launch for completely different reasons that do not include the stock . A bad presentation and choices of wrong marketing by Xbox ONE, the lower price compared to the competition and a greater machine power that allowed to reach the infamous 1080 p more easily than (united) have enshrined the success of the console . Right from the start Sony was able, thanks to the clamorous errors of Microsoft , to convince the public that its console was the best option as it was more powerful at a price lower and was able to offer simplicity and immediacy to the players. Because this is what players are looking for, they want to sit on the couch and turn on the TV without too many worries, not like the ones at Microsoft with their talk about online services, cloud, share sharing, etc. etc. Simple things , because this is what the console players want.
Sony's marketing was effective and direct : # 4ThePlayers and the “ c'abbiamo i 1080 p “have of made the market broke causing grinding million of consoles sold. The extraordinary success of Playstation 4 was therefore given by a combination of situations , among which the exclusive stock park factor played the minor role
Before continuing, however, we must make a clarification on the sales data of the various securities. It is very difficult to get a complete picture of the sales of a game . Often only retail sales data are released, other times the classifications of downloads from the digital store over a period of time. The problem of retail data, however, is due to the fact that most of the time they represent, as in publishing on the other hand, the data of copies distributed and sold to the various commercial chains , not to individual buyers, thus easily overestimated . For this reason, reality is often only indicative and never represented 100 %. Digital download data is more accurate but rarely released. Unfortunately, every time we talk about how much a stock has sold, we must always take these factors into account and intertwine different tables and data, to arrive at what is an indicative data , not real. Always bearing in mind what has been said, we can start making our first estimates and compare the game sales figures with those of the consoles .
I would now like to propose another thesis: those who buy Playstation 4 do not do it for exclusives . Most at least. Bloodborne has sold, according to Sony's statements, between 2 and 3 million copies , when Playstation 4 stood around 20 million units. Without complicating our life too much with calculations we can say that about 10% of the owners of the Sony console have purchased the title (currently they are approximately the 4% given the increase in sales of PS4). Also inFAMOUS Second Son is about the same data. Per The Order 1886 there are no official data but the estimates speak of less than two million copies. Even the much acclaimed No Man's Sky , after the enthusiasm of the first hour, recorded “ only “two million copies. Securities such as Nioh or Nier Automata failed to exceed one million of retail copies. A better result for Horizon: Zero Dawn which stands at 3.6 million of units sold
As for the world Microsoft it is difficult to find complete data. According to the statements of the house of Redmond in December 2016 the series of Forza had totaled 14 Millions of sales on Xbox ONE and Windows 10 , in particular Forza Horizon 3 had reached 2.6 million . We recall that they are sales figures for four different games (Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Motorsport 6, Forza Horizon 2 and Forza Horizon 3) and on two gaming platforms. For Gears of War 4 we talk about 3 million copies while the most significant value is certainly that of Halo 5: Guardians . In January 2016, three months after its release, Halo 5 was positioned with 5 million of copies sold, the official data disseminated by 343 Industries. Currently they estimate around 8 million of copies sold, of which one large portion in digital version . Interestingly, the first exclusive Playstation that managed to exceed the sales volume of Halo 5 was Uncharted 4.
Uncharted 4 , acclaimed by critics and the public as the pearl of Playstation 4, is currently the best-selling exclusive of the current generation with almost 10 million of copies distributed retail . It is positioned, however, “ only ” to fourth place in the ranking of the titles plus sold on Playstation 4 which sees in head Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty Black Ops 3 and FIFA 17 . Just a few days ago Sony said it had reached 67, 5 million of units of Playstation 4 sold , which means that less than one player out of six has purchased a copy of Uncharted 4 . We are talking about a percentage that stands around 14% of Playstation 4 owners . Wishing then to include the remastered of The Last of Us and the Nathan Drake Collection (both on the 5 million copies sold), in the first 20 top sellers on Playstation 4 , only three are exclusive Sony .
Microsoft , on the other hand, sold much less consoles than its rival. There are no precise data but the estimates are among the 30 ei 35 million of units. To make a report in terms of installed base and stock purchases, Halo 5 sold much more than Uncharted 4 in proportion , about one owner of Xbox ONE every four, for a percentage on consoles that wanders around the 25% . Still considering the list of 20 best-selling titles and still holding for good the remastered of the first Gears of War and the Master Chief Collection, we arrive at five exclusive present , thanks to presence of Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4.
Speaking of digital sales, it is significant the list of the most downloaded games from the Playstation Store in 2016 . Rocket League dominates the standings and the first exclusive on the list is No Man’s Sky in ninth position . Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us Remastered are positioned respectively only at the eighteenth and nineteenth place.
A similar argument can also apply to online services of the two platforms: Sony has recently announced that it has reached 70 millions of active accounts monthly on PSN , of which however only 26, 4 million with the Plus subscription . Microsoft for its part has registered 52 millions of active Xbox Live accounts , of which about 48 million of subscribers with Gold . Still fewer total numbers but more loyal in proportion .
Data in progress
Moral of the story? Taking into consideration the data available to us, the number of consoles installed and the number of exclusive sold, in relation to the owners of Xbox ONE, the Microsoft exclusives sell more than those of Playstation 4 . And this is not an opinion , just compare the data. To say that Playstation 4 sells for its exclusive is false , to say that Xbox ONE X will not sell because it does not have large exclusives to support it will prove to be false according to the trand shown so far .
In this scenario Nintendo is the only one that manages to sell its console thanks to the first party titles . Switch currently sold almost 5 million of units , very few compared to the numbers of ONE and PS4. However The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sold almost 4 million copies and Mario Kart 8 3.5 million. Respectively the 80% is the 70% of Switch owners have purchased the two exclusive flagships , numbers immensely larger than the best results scored by the best sellers of the competition: Uncharted 4 (14%) and Halo 5: Guardians ( 25%).
As mentioned by my colleague Stefano in editorial on console war , the importance of exclusives in console sales is overestimated by the mass , becomes an element decisive only for a small circle of players , those most loyal to the medium that we can identify as the hard core of the gaming world. But that is, and remains, a minority; of elite, of course, but still a minority. Video games are conquering more and more people, the market is expanding dramatically in recent years reaching ever higher peaks. We gamers are a strange race , we want the videogame medium to be cleared through customs and to be shared by as many people as possible, but we also want the latter to approach each other as we approach video games: with passion, enthusiasm, critical sense, desire and demand for quality. But things are not like this , it is useless to go around it. This applies to all artistic fields, not just video games. The cinepanettone will undoubtedly be more successful than the author's film , as well as commercial music or the next mass book. In video games this translates into lady of 60 years that plays Candy Crush in the subway next to us or the tamarro that buys the console to play only to FIFA. Video games are no longer an elite medium, they are a mass medium and we are all aware of this.
There will always be those who will purchase a console with full knowledge of the facts , taking an interest in the services offered by the platform, support and online features, titles exclusive. How many of those 10 millions who bought Uncharted 4 bought the Playstation 4 for that title ? Many, many , without a doubt. As well as who knows how many have bought Xbox ONE for Halo 5, or Gears, or Forza. But we are always talking about very low percentages compared to the total number of consoles sold . There is a series of gamers who make informed choices, aware of the offers in terms of exclusives that a platform offers. But it is a minority and the numbers speak for themselves
After this in-depth analysis of sales and the console market, we can then return to our starting thesis . The data therefore confirm that n on there is no need for relevant exclusives to sell a console , Playstation 4 has shown it for years indeed. Xbox ONE X will sell if it can communicate effectively , if it will be able to present itself in the eyes of public opinion as the best choice for those who want to play at the highest possible quality , just as done by Sony in 2013 / 2014.
The console world has passed all the previous generation to affirm that the graphics and the performances did not count, then it passed the 'beginning of the current one to slaughter between Sony and Microsoft on 1080 p / 900 p and now on 4K . The performance and power factor is a felt factor, the difference will be in Microsoft's ability to be able to intercept this desire . Because in the end we are human beings, if before we were used to accusing the neighbor of having the biggest machine of his, we can now claim the size in inches or dozens of RAM of the our smartphone. And if you are videogamers, you can hit the nearby Playstation owner that your Xbox ONE X has the true 4K as opposed to its PS4 Pro . When he retorts that you don't have the games to play with so much, and then returns to his home and put on FIFA . Which, according to the data, you will most likely do too.