Did "Halo" Just Save Xbox One's 2014?

The latest round of the console wars has fully commenced, with both the Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) posting successful launches. While the Nintendo (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY  ) Wii U squandered its year-long head start, the PlayStation 4 in particular looks set to enjoy a bright future.

While launch sales and trends make for snazzy headlines, they don't necessarily provide an accurate picture of how console adoption will wind up this cycle. This generation will likely be shorter than the last, but too much can happen in the coming years and current data is too scarce to write the Xbox One off. Pricing of hardware is obviously important, but the other side of the video game value equation is about games. With Microsoft confirming Halo 5 for 2014, the Xbox One's short-term lineup just got a major stat boost. Will a strong stable of first-person shooters have the Xbox One outgunning PlayStation 4 in the coming year?

The series that made Xbox
The legacy of the Xbox platforms is closely tied to the FPS genre. The original Halo helped to propel the popularity of the original Xbox and established the series as one of the biggest names in gaming. The "Halo" franchise has a large and dedicated assortment of followers that are certain to show up for the latest installment. A recent batch of Xbox promotional materials that bore no mention of a "Halo" title arriving in 2014 had given some fans and speculators reason to believe that the title would slip into the next year. Microsoft has officially clarified that this omission comes down to the next game in the series not having a proper title and that it was still on track for a 2014 release.

Bring out the big guns
With reports of Sony's PlayStation 4 outselling the Xbox One in Europe and North America, the ability to deliver an installment in a marquee property is a large feather in Microsoft's 2014 cap. The PlayStation 4 moved over 4.2 million units in 2013, with the Xbox One pushing past 3 million units in the last year. Microsoft will need to deliver quality software to reverse this trend. Halo 5, or whatever it winds up being officially called, should be the best-selling piece of exclusive software in 2014. Sony's big games for the year, Infamous: Second Son and The Order: 1886, look rather small by comparison. Meanwhile, Nintendo will introduce new games in the "Donkey Kong," "Mario Kart," and "Super Smash Bros." franchises for the Wii U. It will be interesting to see how much sales in these franchises installments decline over their Wii predecessors and what effect they have on Wii U sales.

While Sony's box looks to enjoy pricing and hardware advantages, it would appear that the Xbox One is on track to deliver a bigger 2014 in terms of games. Multiplatform mainstays like Activision's "Call of Duty" series and new IP Destiny should do big numbers on both platforms, but console platform exclusives like first-party Halo 5 and Titanfall from Electronic Arts are going to give the Xbox One a much-needed edge. Microsoft is also partnering with Remedy Studios for the release of Quantum Break, a time-bending action game that will release alongside a tie-in television show.

And the little guns too
If the Xbox One will see more big games in 2014, the PS4 is almost certain to be the landing pad for a greater array of smaller titles. The Xbox One is set to receive its first indie games early this year, but Sony's platform launched with an array of indies and PSN games and looks to enjoy a healthy lineup of future downloadable titles. Unless a title were to come along with popularity comparable to a game like Minecraft, it's not likely that these games are going to be the driving factor behind which console winds up moving more units. They do look to substantially alter the software landscape, however, which may be problematic for retailers like GameStop.

A strong and targeted lineup
The strong list of exclusive shooters coming to the Xbox One in 2014 bodes well for the device. Pushing early adoption of a $500 gaming console relies heavily on the demographics that routinely purchase entries in these genres. Microsoft is delivering the right slate to appeal to their tastes. If Microsoft can soften the Xbox One's price sometime this year, odds are it will be very competitive with Sony's PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe.

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Read/Post Comments (20) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 6:46 PM, arealdinosaur1 wrote:

    Nice title. Came here to laugh at how bias you are towards PS4, and no life you'd be, but your just stating facts.

    Make the title more accurate, it makes it look like Xbox One was about to be a flop like the Wii U, when in reality, it is selling like crazy, even if not as fast as PS4, it is one of the fastest selling consoles ever.

    Title is obviously trying to lure people here

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:29 AM, Psu190 wrote:

    Yeah, if you read his other articles he definitely bashes the XboxOne no matter what type of good news is announced. I wasn't aware Xbox needed saving considering how good it's selling. His last article was something like 3million XboxOnes sold, see why it's not enough. What??

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 3:46 AM, ewro wrote:

    The Halo people have all moved away from Microsoft and are working on the game Destiny. Halo isn't the same it's just a yearly rehash and money machine for MS now.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 5:27 AM, Iseeclearly wrote:

    The problem is if Microsoft is really selling so much. In germany there is still xbox one inventory, you can order rven from amazon. I dont know if the reports are true but i heard american stores like target still have xbox.

    Ofc xbox 360 selling great and maybe that are just freak occurences than xbox doing great.

    Anyway it was a smart move by Microsoft just attacking Nintendo while hoping Sony goes bust because of their other divisions

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:35 AM, Expert01565 wrote:

    @Vamroc, umm no they have not moved away from Halo,, Bungie no longer makes Halo ,343 Studios does and when they remade Halo evolved and Halo 4 they were the best halo Games sold other than Halo 2, Bungie is making Destiny which will not compete with halo you have no idea what your talking

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:28 AM, virgilcole wrote:

    People who are Xbox and Halo fans are going to buy the xbox one and Halo 5 no matter what.

    People who are PS fans are going to buy the PS no matter what.

    Nintendo fans are going to buy the Wii U no matter what.

    What each company has to do right this "generation" is get the people that are just looking for fun games to play, and don't just buy a system because it's made for by their favorite company.

    I started with the PS4 this generation because it had the games that I wanted to play the most.

    Last time I started with the Xbox.

    It's all about the games for the "non fanboy" consumers.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:32 AM, hisradness wrote:

    The other day I was at WalMart, it was the first time I actually saw a PS4 AND XBox One in a store side-by-side. They also had a few WiiUs. I went back a few days later and the PS4s were gone, the XBoxes weren't touched and they had sold one WiiU. I think the only console which has a chance to actually increase sells is the WiiU(how could it go down?). The PS4 and XBox will level off if not drop till price drops next holiday season. When Nintendo finally releases some compelling software like Smash Bros. or Bayonetta, it might actually sell some consoles. I bought a WiiU bundle when the price dropped, it's an excellent machine for Nintendo lovers, I plan on buying a PS4 after their first price drop. My XBox 360 died after 3 weeks of ownership, when I received its replacement, I sold it in the box. I will never buy another XBox, ever. Halo would never entice me to buy one.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:36 AM, werdna27 wrote:

    Halo considered a big gun lol. more like a smoking gun. Halo has already shot their load. coming into todays first person shooters halo has lost a lot of it power from other titles being a lot better, like CoD, or battlefield. I hate low gravity games with overshields, and mass explosive weapons.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:36 AM, steekyjim wrote:

    All Motley Fool articles are X vs Y? Reel the fanboys in by playing on their emotions and get the clicks. Divide and conquer. Easy money.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 12:29 PM, jackofdeath wrote:

    The last Halo (Halo 4) was the best story wise out of all the Halos. @ hisradness who said "My XBox 360 died after 3 weeks of ownership, when I received its replacement, I sold it in the box. I will never buy another XBox, ever." Why would you not buy from a company that gave you another console for free? You would buy a launch PS3 that will YLOD and no warranty after a year even though Sony knows it's their fault will not give you another console. I had to pay 180 dollars to get my PS3 launch console fixed. I will never buy another Sony product @ launch. Same thing with my launch PS2. wouldn't read games (Disc read error) and Sony told me I would have to pay to get it fixed. Can't wait for the Next Halo. No shooter can even compare to Halo when it comes to story and depth. Forward unto dawn was an awesome series that lead up to the launch for Halo 4. I also can't wait for the Halo Series by Speilberg. R.I.P Cortana.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 1:35 PM, kgb33 wrote:

    Titanfall is coming out in less than two months. It's going to change the next generation console landscape. This is the original Call of Duty team, putting giant mechs that you can either pilot or have roam the stage as sentry NPC's. You can run on walls and use jetpacks to get up to rooftops in a second. It looks like an evolution of the FPS genre. But we will see soon.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:41 PM, JoeLemon wrote:

    Before the they were release all the stories here were how they were going to fail, because the Wii did. That everyone now just wants to play phone games. You made yourself look foolish, and you continue to do so.

    Bungie doesn't even make Halo anymore. And the whole hype of Titanfall, is that it is made by the original call of duty team. The whole reason I bought a ps4 is I will be able to play titanfall on my computer. I prefer shooters on a computer. Shooters take the most processing power and a computer has a huge advance over a console in that area. Plus a keyboard and mouse work so much better then a controller for it.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 3:40 PM, hisradness wrote:

    @jackofdeath, I didn't buy the 360 at launch, I didn't buy a PS3 at launch either. My PS3 has never had a problem, nor has any of my Nintendo systems dating back to my still working Super Nes(still love Street Fighter 2 sometimes). I have never, nor will I ever buy a system at launch. You have made a foolish assumption. I choose not to buy another XBox simply because it is the only system(and I've had plenty) I have ever had issue with. Glad to see a Microsoft fanboy has such a tough skin. Perhaps you should read my post again, you'll get the idea that I wait till a price drop on systems to purchase, you pay less and there are more quality titles to play. It seems that you are the one buying and losing at launch, not me.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:35 PM, moopert wrote:

    One game can't do much realisticly. Most consumers will not spend $500 on a console for one game. You'd need to be a complete Halo fanatic to do that. Titanfall isn't a real exclusive in that it's also coming out for PC(a superior FPS platform in my experience).

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:07 PM, lhardwick69 wrote:

    he thing is this sonys ps1 2 3 and now 4 will have a lot of games that the xbox don't have and never will have--microsofts praying that halo franchise will save its console but the thing is this--Nintendo has very few games that is made by them that isn't on any other console meaning pokemon games---Mario games--Metroid and Zelda games..gamers are tired of playing the same franchises over and over--

    the ps4 will push the limits of gamemakers plus keep its playstation only exclusive games--while the xbox one has halo and heaven forbid another gears of war game--Microsoft has only few exclusive games to their console that I think people will play but getting tired of same stuff over and over..

    don't get me wrong I got the ps4 and xbox one I look at both sides of the coin not just one--its just that Microsoft needs to push for more games than halo and gears of war

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 9:24 AM, Jdzspace wrote:

    First of all, One game isn't going to save Microsoft's 2014, neither will 2 (when titanfall drops).

    second, I wasn't aware that Microsoft's 2014 was in jeapordy.

    Microsoft's focus isn't on gaming, so how would release of a game save it's year? Everybody who was interested in the next Halo game already has Microsoft's new system.

    It's not like it's news that the game is coming out, it was never a question of "if" just a matter of "when". Halo isn't going to sell anymore systems than it had already sold.

    There isn't going to be someone who has neither system, hasn't played Halo, who is going to say "gee, Halo 5 is coming out, i should get the system!".

    so you logic is flawed.

    and like I said, their focus isn't gaming regardless, and they are currently having their best launch EVER for that company. So i think it's safe to say they will be just fine, now if they drop off hard in the next 5-6 months than we'll have something to talk about. until then......stands to reason that they will be just fine

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:49 PM, Dragonslayer wrote:

    Maybe this time they'll actually give the main character a personality rather than a pseudo-personality via an in game secondary "voice" via a little gnome like piece of his AI that does all of his thinking for him and also seems to have multiple personality disorder.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 9:51 PM, paintrain1 wrote:

    Last I checked XBOX was selling millions.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 12:18 AM, EcsTasteMyBr wrote:

    Oh well who cares what system is outselling who, selling 3 million systems is still damn good, and sorry people I been playing halo since 2003, halo halo2 &3 was amazing, halo reach sucked.. halo 4 is garbage why..because 343! go play the game and only see their is 10,000 or less playing it..go to cod black ops 2 100,000 hell halo 3 has more people playing now since they released it free, HALO 5 will not save XBOX, Destiny would have saved xbox, but they was smart they left Microsoft and can sell on both systems, Destiny will blow away HALO 5, BUNGIE & ACTIVISION, have been working on this game over 6 games, it will be the Greatest game out for next 3 years period.. HALO died after Bungie let 343 take over..

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2014, at 9:32 AM, eQil1 wrote:

    Wow so much hate for Halo! To each their own I say. I don't beleive a game should be judged just by how many people are playing it online. It's know that CoD will always have more online play cause of it's multiplayer. Some people still do enjoy single player campaigns which CoD lacks. I thought 343 did a good jod with Halo. Anyway, no Halo is not saving Xb1's 2014. I didn't know a system that sold 3 million units in 40 days in less markets than it's "competitor" needed saving. Why can't we just enjoy the success of both consoles?

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