Where Sony's PlayStation 4 was the obvious favorite last holiday season, gamers were evidently looking for something different in 2014.
Sony scored a big win over Microsoft and Nintendo a year ago, ruling the 2013 holiday season in terms of gaming console sales. This year, though, the tables turned a bit, and Microsoft and Nintendo both clawed back to fight another day. In fact, according to a “console wars” report from the New York Times, Microsoft’s Xbox One even took the lead in console sales for the United States market.
Indeed, 2014’s holiday console sales numbers looked markedly changed from 2013. Where Sony’s PlayStation 4 was the obvious favorite last holiday season, gamers were evidently looking for something different in 2014 – something Sony was not selling.
Part of the difference was pricing. Microsoft cut the market price of its Xbox One to $349 for the holiday season, $50 less than the PlayStation 4 costs. That’s a sharp contrast to what happened when the console launched in 2013. Originally, the Xbox One came bundled with the Kinect motion sensor, and cost $499. The PlayStation 4, meanwhile, launched at a $399 price tag, and almost instantly began outselling Microsoft’s console.
With that in mind, it actually is not that surprising that Microsoft managed to start outselling Sony thanks to a price cut. After all, the Xbox 360 was a significantly better and more consistent seller that the PlayStatin 3, in the previous console generation.
Nintendo also made a leap for the 2014 holiday season. While the company was the first on the scene for the new console generation, launching the Wii U to market at the end of 2012, the console was criticized for being too similar to its predecessor.
By the time the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 arrived on the scene in late 2013, the Wii U was widely considered a failure, and Nintendo held very little sway in the console war. That led to a dismal performance during the 2013 holiday season. Nintendo even posted a net loss on the 2013 fiscal year, and was admitting that the Wii U was a flop by January of this year.
Nintendo still has a few aces up its sleeve though, and those are its classic franchises. A few of those, including Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., saw new incarnations released on the Wii U during 2014, and those titles have sold well, regardless of the ongoing performance of the Wii U hardware. Those exclusive games are also to be credited for saving Nintendo’s 2014 holiday season. The company even expects to post a profit this fiscal year, a refreshing turn of events after a disastrous 2013.