Microsoft will win this generation.

By Daniel Hickey

Yep. You read that right. I predict Microsoft will take this generation by storm. However, it comes with a big IF. While they are doing well compared to past generations of console wars, getting outsold as badly as they are by the PS4 cannot bode well for them as we move on in this one. Microsoft has one huge advantage over Sony right now: Financial stability. Sony as a company is doing poorly in spite of tremendous early success for the PS4, and, inversely, Microsoft is raking in big profits despite the Xbox One's relative lack of market share. Much like a football team with a beefy, talented offensive line, Microsoft can stick it to the scrappy, financially weaker Sony by investing those profits heavily back into the Xbox brand. They need to do it soon, though, or risk losing momentum. Looking at the calendar, I see...wait...is that E3 in just over a month? Seems like a great time to implement this strategy. Here's how they do it:

~$399 Xbox One WITH Kinect

They have to, have to, HAVE TO meet Sony at their price point. Yes, they will lose money on the console. Historically, console manufacturers do, though. They make it up with software sales and then some. They could drop the Kinect, but I find it unwise to do so. When they meet Sony at its price point, Sony still has the more graphically advanced console, if only by a small, sometimes unnoticeable margin. Keeping Kinect would give people a console with a better user interface, more helpful apps, better games (depending on whom you talk to), and then you add in all the little things that come with Kinect. You would be offering this at the same price. This is powerful. The economy is still weak, and people are looking for huge bang for buck. The Xbox One has the best bang right now; now they need a "buck" adjustment.

~PHIL PHIL PHIL

With Jack Tretton's exit from Sony, Phil Spencer is now officially the coolest guy in the industry, hands down. He comes across as a true gaming enthusiast, and he knows how to interact with fans. He is the closest thing to a rockstar the industry has right now. If you put him up there at E3 and he delivers that news that you just read above, the crowd will go as wild as they did for Tretton and Andrew House at last year's E3. People will also be going wild watching at home. They have already kind of implemented this part of the plan, and the early returns are good. Since he's been named head of Xbox, I have seen a lot more positive press about Xbox. Microsoft, the gaming industry, and the fans can't have enough Phil right now.

~Bring Games with Gold to Xbox One, starting with Halo 2 Anniversary

Believe it or not, the PS Plus Instant Game Collection is a huge weak point for Sony right now. It was supposed to start off with Driveclub, a major AAA game. Since then, it has been nothing but $20 or less games, some of them better than others. Microsoft brings themselves equal to Sony just by starting the program, but starting out with a highly popular game like Halo 2 Anniversary would raise the game. It would be another rockstar moment for Phil to announce this. It could be any big game, really. Halo 2 Anniversary just makes sense to me: It's a wildly popular franchise, development costs are minimal since it was made 10 years ago, and it gins up excitement for the next Halo, which is the next Titanfall in terms of importance for the console. They want the Xbox One to be about games; it makes sense to Games with Gold started and with a bang. There are other things Microsoft could do to help the cause: Opening a digital marketplace to displace used digital games that have lost their luster, bringing a greater selection of indies to the platform, and I think need a continued (though lesser) focus on entertainment, as this is what makes the product unique from PS4 or even the Wii U. However, if they mean what they say about winning the console war, they need to make radical changes and they need to do it soon. If they do, I believe they just might end up on top by the time these consoles ride off into the sunset.

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