Microsoft's Second Chance to Get It Right the First Time

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Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) went first last time and paid the price. The software giant now has the advantage of firing last.

Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) revealed its PS4 release dates yesterday. The Japanese gaming giant's new console will hit North America on November 15 and roll out through Europe two weeks later.

Microsoft has only publicized that the Xbox One will hit the market in November, but now it gets to decide if it wants to hit the gamers before or after its rival's platform is available at the retail level.

This isn't an easy decision.

Microsoft can't hit the market too late in November. It can't miss the post-Thanksgiving launch of the holiday shopping season. It may generate some extra media attention if it hits the market around Black Friday as a frenzy within a frenzy, but it will probably lose the season's crown to Sony if we get to that point where shoppers have already made their big-ticket purchases.

There's clearly a benefit to arriving early, and not just because it would make the Xbox One the first of the two platforms to hit the market. Speed isn't everything. Just ask Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY  ) . It thought it would have a major advantage over its more powerful rivals by having the Wii U out last November, but it has been a colossal flop. Nintendo shipped just 160,000 units last quarter.

Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ: ATVI  ) Call of Duty: Ghosts hits the market on November 5, and it should break industry sales records as the franchise has done with every November release. Video game sales have been slipping in recent years, but Activision's combat game has been resilient.

Getting the console out in time for that game's arrival could be huge, especially since gamers may be hesitant to snap up the PS3 or Xbox 360 versions if they feel that they will be upgrading to a new console running on a new chip architecture later in the year.

However, it's simply not a matter of hitting the market during the first few days of November. The Xbox One may not be ready. There's also something to be said for waiting to see if Sony makes a miscue in its launch that it can exploit later in the month for its marketing purposes.

Microsoft was at the other end of that situation in June when Sony waited for Microsoft's big reveal to point out that it will hit the market at a lower price point and without the restrictive measures that Microsoft went on to partly reverse.

The game's afoot again.

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Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:36 PM, BobbyLite wrote:

    I'm willing to bet my Xbox one will be on my doorstep Nov 5th.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 8:55 PM, majormayhem70 wrote:

    Lets just say "At twelve O Clock Tuesday morning on the 5th day of November, I should be receiving my Xbox one from Gamestop."

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:27 PM, Green1Chaos wrote:

    Right now...I'm waiting for PS4 to be released. With Microsoft changing policies to where people can't keep up, I'm going to wait until after Xbox One comes out and the first set of updates.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 9:30 PM, moopert wrote:

    It doesn't really matter which one comes first... Most gamers' minds are made up. And the core market are the ones who buy at launch generally.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 10:01 PM, Borg03of77 wrote:

    At this point, most first adopters have already made their minds up on which system they are going to be waiting in line for no matter what the release date is anyway. For me, regardless of my like for Microsoft in the past, with all the policies they started out with, the way they talked down to their customers/gamers, and the way they are focusing the Xbox more towards a media center and away from a first games then media hub, it really turned me off. I'll be going changing it up this next gen with PS4. I have other issues with Microsoft too, and some I can look past, and I may end up getting one later in the future. But, my preferred and main system this gen will be the PS4. Thanks for reading and remember, we are all gamers first!

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 10:24 PM, Thegoods01 wrote:

    Don't get to carried away about that Nov. 5th date. Why? Watch Dogs is supposed to be an Xbox launch title and was still listed so after it was announced that it will release on the 19th of November at Gamescom yesterday. So if Microsoft wants it to be a "launch title," then expect it to come out on the 19th.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 11:06 PM, eeyyyyy wrote:

    Does a one-week difference between launch dates really matter if pre-orders for both consoles are already sold out?

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 11:12 PM, locsphere wrote:

    Microsoft has changed a lot of its policies and I am happy for that. I am happy that there is no longer forced kinect use.

    Very Happy,

    But as far as my privacy goes. I am still not convinced. My data is mine, not only must I give you permission to share it. You have to give me the choice to opt out of that data collection.

    If you do get my consent you will not comply with government requests to hand over my information unless they have provided a warrant. Charge them a fee as well.

    Also we the end user need to be notified of it within a year. If the government needs more time. They can apply for an extension.

    Privacy is a huge commodity right now and Im buying the console that sell the most privacy. Since these policies don't exist yet. That's the Playstation 4. They at least have more trust.

    Sick of having to abandon good technologies because parent companies reserve the right to snoop. Its why I don't use skype, my mic, or the old Kinect. I sold it. Its not I think your going to spy, your terms of service explicitly states you will. Its also about principle.

    Im the young generation here, willing to abandon technology if it means a breach of my rights. Maybe you as a company don't have to abide by constitutional limits. But that loop hole isn't going to last.

    As far as I am concerned the Supreme court ruled your people. And there is a federal law that explicitly states that you can't collect audio of people unknowingly and must constantly let them know that they are. Maybe since I focus on law we could make that a class action? Your a person so it applies Microsoft!

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 7:50 AM, Speedracer69 wrote:

    I won't ever give money to Microsoft after the crap they spewed weeks ago. PS4 here I come!

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 11:12 AM, stockwoodie wrote:

    No KINECT please. I don't want another brick (i.e. Kinect 1). I'd rather pay $50-100 less for a XO with NO Kinect/Brick.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 7:18 PM, cmalek wrote:


    Privacy in the age of Internet is an illusion. You can have privacy OR an Internet connected computer, but not both. Every site you access collects data on you, not because the government requires them to, but because they want it for their own use. There is NO regulations on what data private companies can collect about you. Just Google your name and find out what information about you is public.

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