Will talk of Microsoft quitting consoles hurt the Xbox One?
There is a lot of talk going around about what the future of the Xbox brand may be. One candidate for the company’s upcoming CEO vacancy may actually consider selling the Xbox brand. Just a few days ago word got out that Microsoft is losing $2 billion annually on the Xbox eco-system. Add to that the fact small group of investors are actually campaigning for them to drop Xbox altogether and you may actually have a reason to worry about the future of Xbox consoles.
All of this talk sounds crazy. Whether you like the Xbox brand or not, it is hard to imagine a gaming landscape without them. Everyone tries to say that Nintendo should go third party but they’ve actually got loads of cash on hand and usually make good profits despite their losses on Wii U. When was the last time actual Nintendo investors started asking them to go third party? They haven’t, at least publicly, to my knowledge. People ignore how illogical it would be for Nintendo to quit making hardware so you’ve got to wonder how people will take this growing movement to abandon Xbox at Microsoft HQ. You can make a sound argument for why Microsoft won’t quit making Xbox consoles but that won’t stop people from continuing to speculate on it.
I must say that I don’t want this to happen at all. Even if I didn’t enjoy Xbox products (I do) I would never wish this upon the gaming industry. More competition is always good. For example, Microsoft took chances and came out swinging last generation with the Xbox 360 and caught Sony off-guard with superior marketing, big exclusives, and a superior online service. That competition caused Sony to come out swinging with the PS4 this year so its easy to see how everyone benefits from having all three console makers around.
I don’t think anything major will happen but I’m no expert. Right now these murmurs of an end to the Xbox brand don’t seem all that serious to me but what about to the casual console buyer? If Microsoft doesn’t quell these rumors soon will they have an effect on the Xbox One?
The Xbox One, for all it does right, still made a very bad impression on a lot of people initially and it is still $499. With Microsoft taking losses on the unit I’m not so sure they can drop the price significantly for a while, perhaps into 2015. If this news spreads will it effect the average consumer’s next-gen buying plans? It doesn’t seem like everyone knows about this ongoing situation yet and that works to Microsoft’s benefit at the moment.
A lot of people hear something and just keep believing it is true. No matter how many times you tell them that they’re wrong they stick to it. I’ve been telling people why the idea of Nintendo going third party is flawed but for some reason people keep thinking its a believable, viable path. If this situation continues to balloon I think Microsoft may have a serious problem on their hands. If Nintendo can’t kick the “when are you going third party bro,” with profits and a lot of cash then how will Microsoft cope with these rumors while actually losing a lot more money on Xbox?
The hard part is until Ballmer’s replacement is appointed they can’t say anything about this. They do have to listen to their investors but they seem more than willing to continue to sell Xbox consoles at a loss for years on end. They’ve done it for so long, why stop now? All of this depends on their new CEO and how much he/she gives into this internal movement to cut losses.
Does the idea of Microsoft potentially killing the Xbox brand or selling it off worry you? It doesn’t worry me personally but I can understand that people on a budget might only have enough money for one next-gen console. The mere thought that this doomsday like scenario could have a chance at playing out could keep some from buying an Xbox One.
Nothing bad may come of this but Microsoft has to step up and put it to rest. Letting this play out over the next year or so will only damage consumer confidence in the Xbox brand and may influence some buyers to stay away from their platforms for fear of the plug being pulled shortly after spending $500 on their system.