Here's Why Titanfall Won't Help Xbox One Sales


Sales of Microsoft's  (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Xbox One have fallen behind Sony's  (NYSE: SNE  ) rival PlayStation 4 console. Xbox One had an early advantage with a better spate of launch games, but most of the subsequent top-selling games were available for both consoles. Microsoft is betting big on the recently released Titanfall, and gamer anticipation crashed Xbox Live on launch day. But will the title help boost sales of Xbox One?  

Titanfall is a sci-fi-themed, multiplayer, first-person shooter that allows players to take on the role of either the hero -- soldier types called pilots -- or the gigantic, enemy-squishing robots fighting against the soldiers. The game comes from publishing Goliath Electronic Arts and is exclusive to Microsoft platforms. Early reviews were positive, with gaming site IGN awarding Titanfall a score of 8.9 out of 10.  

But while Titanfall should boost Microsoft's sales in general, the title is not likely to help bridge the gap between the One and the PS4. 

Titanfall's Xbox One boost
Microsoft released new Titanfall Xbox One bundles that have created a substantial sales boost. The Guardian reports that sales of the One console in the U.K. went up 96% the week of Titanfall's release. And 70% of all Ones sold that week in the region were the special bundle. But sales of the PlayStation 4 were up more than 72% in the same week, partly due to console shortages that are creating sales spikes once back in stock.

So while Titanfall's release is going to help Microsoft improve its own sales numbers, it won't skyrocket sales to the point that the Xbox One will pull ahead of the PS4. Sony's console has simply had too large of a head start. 

Xbox One sales fall behind
Microsoft had the early advantage, as the Xbox One bore a more impressive spate of launch-day titles than the PlayStation 4. But most of the top-selling games released in the interim were sold for both consoles. And that allowed PlayStation 4 to gain a substantial lead due to a combination of player preference and pricing.

Source: VGChartz 

At the time of writing, the Xbox One sold about half as many consoles as the PlayStation 4. The PS4 has also already outsold the Wii U, which was released in late 2012. 

But the newer consoles didn't release with an avalanche of games. And neither console is currently backwards-compatible -- the Xbox One can't play Xbox 360 games and the PS4 can't play PS3 games. So the companies rely on console-exclusive titles to reel in more buyers. 

And that's where Titanfall's problem arises. 

Titanfall crosses platforms
Titanfall is a Microsoft exclusive but will release for both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. And the older console remains popular, since it has dropped to a reasonable price and currently has a wider assortment of games available. The Xbox 360 has nearly matched sales of Sony's older console, PlayStation 3. 


Source: VGChartz 

So Microsoft will suffer a cannibalism problem with Titanfall. The company tried to delay the inevitable by having Electronic Arts postpone the release of the title's Xbox 360 version until mid-April, supposedly to give the game designers more time to work.  But less than a month between release dates won't prove wide enough to drive all the Xbox 360 owners into console upgrades.

Foolish final thoughts
Titanfall is proving wildly popular, and Microsoft has reason to celebrate. But the game won't create a large enough boost to Xbox One sales to catch up with the PS4 -- not even with the Xbox 360 release delay. 

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Read/Post Comments (14) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 1:07 PM, JTPort07 wrote:

    Man does Motley have a hard-on for PS4, but xbox is only available in 13 countries whereas PS4 is available in like 40 i think.............less than half the countries and behind by less than half the total..

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 1:38 PM, SEADRIVE wrote:

    I would agree in the fact that Titanfall will not cause a massive catch-up to the PS4 at this time;however, there has been so much negative press regarding the new console that many gamers are picturing the Xbox One as a multimedia machine and not a true gaming rig...sort of reminds me of the CD-i. Titanfall, and hopefully many great games after this, will slowly start to provide more confidence to gamers that this indeed a great gaming rig...and I have to tell you from experience I have already had a couple of behaviors from my PS4 that look like heating issues compared to the Xbox One that I don't think can overheat this time with the larger case. And as a closing remark , titles such as Second Son released the other day, will keep PS4s coming off the shelves.



  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 3:01 PM, NoPityMe wrote:

    I think Microsoft should publicize a feature of Titanfall that I find persuasive. I'm not a "hard core" gamer and so I'm the type that would fall into the repeating cycles of death and respawning that Call of Duty multiplayers often suffer. I haven't played Titanfall yet but I'm tempted to buy it because I understand that even new players can have fun and don't usually die in a few seconds.

    So this fact alone might help sell the Xbox Ones because a family would more likely have members that aren't great at FPS games but would like to try one and would also enjoy the other features of the Xbox One. I was impressed with how I could practice Yoga and the Kinect would check my form and tell me how I was doing. Hard core gamers seem to hate the Kinect because the games they like don't use it to any great advantage.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 3:40 PM, Xboxfan wrote:

    I personally think you're wrong. Titanfall has already boosted xbox one sales 96%. (I know you covered on this, but I think it is giving the xbox a fighting chance) Walmart and Best Buy have started selling the xbox one, Titanfall bundle for 450$ which makes the xbox cheaper than the ps4. It may not help xbox pass ps4 sales, but with the shortage of ps4's and price jump in Canada, the xbox one will definitely be catching up in my opinion. I had a ps4 at first, I was a loyal xbox fan from the first Xbox. But all the negative press got me thinking the ps4 was better this time around. Well I started playing my friends xbox one, and started to like it better. I also think the actual console looks way better. It might be bigger, but the ps4 is ugly, and long, it didn't fit in my entertainment stand because it would poke out the front. Also, Ps4 has never been able to provide exclusives like xbox has. Titanfall, the birth of a new franchise, halo. Halo 5 will definitely boost sales. I think the Xbox is going to pull right up next to the ps4 and flip it off before passing it.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 4:32 PM, shawn02155 wrote:

    Microsoft won't beat Sony with this title... Microsoft will beat Sony with better technology, advances in software and the infrastructure.

    Before everyone screeches about faster memory and better hardware... Hardware is accessed by software. Hardware is used to it's max by drivers and software.

    Every single other generation the Sony fan boys spewed hate - about their Sony hardware being better... And yet ultimately every time their consoles failed to beat Microsoft.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 5:26 PM, NoPityMe wrote:

    I agree at this point, that good games and exclusives will sell the PS4s and Xbox Ones. But to say Sony's 1 or 2 million lead is too much of a lead for Microsoft to catch up with is absurd. If there are about 80 million PS3 owners and about 80 million Xbox 360 owners - that is a combined 160 million people who might purchase the PS4 or Xbox One. How can one or two million be to large a lead?

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2014, at 7:29 PM, Spilly42 wrote:

    So title says that Titanfall won't help Xbox One sales, then article states how sales have risen 96%...

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 2:45 AM, prof25 wrote:

    wow this site is foolish..they stay hating on the xbox one...every week a new article on how bad the xbox one's for attention..because let's brake it down..the ps4 is great hardware that's pc would smash it...and next gen..i want more then just a graphic upgrade..that's all ps4 offers,,really..because the xbox looks just as nice..oh yeah they also upgraded..made a system that is different..and they are catching up..the ps4 should be up by 10 million from the advantage of more places in the world...if the xbox was 399.00 and sold in the same markets as the ps4 globally..the xbox would smash the ps4 in sales...oh yeah lets not forget..that xbox live is better more stable then ps network...i play all systems..and im more impressed with the xbox go write another hate story on microsoft tell some how it will take you 2 day's to beat infamous second

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 5:51 AM, Interventizio wrote:

    I agree with the thesis.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 11:28 AM, wookietim wrote:

    Just to mention... When the Xbox One sales jump 96% with the release of the game, I'd argue that it already HAS helped Xbox One sales. So the premise of the article is incorrect simply because it's already been shown to be wrong by the real world.

  • Report this Comment On March 24, 2014, at 3:55 PM, wyt3dr4g0n wrote:

    Just my two cents here on the notion of one month between the release of the XB1 version vs the 360 version not being enough time... The games are not cross-platform multi-player compatible. So that means all those who waited until next month to get the 360 version will NOT be able to play with their xbox one friends who bought it for the new console. This strategy of Microsofts of not allowing cross-platform multi-player compatibility is brilliant on that note. It's of course based on lies when they say it's technologically incompatible, of course it's compatible, they own the Xbox Live network, there's no reason why one cannot work with the other except that they don't want it to. You have 10 people that play together regularly online via 360, but then the xbox one comes out and say 2 or 3 of them buy into it.. they also get a new title that all 10 friends would love to play together, but not everyone has the newest console... So this encourages everyone to get on board with the new console that their friends are adopting so that they can play the same games with those friends. It's true viral marketing, infect the lives of one or two gamers, and they'll sell the product for you to all their friends... This is the exact scenario that led to me buying the xbo, and I'm completely happy with it's capabilities.. Far more than anything the PS4 offers.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2014, at 3:06 PM, damienvox wrote:

    Reading this and the comments makes me wanna bust out laughing practically. I even thought this would be a catch up atleast for this month but it came short of that actually surprised me. But these comments make me want to laugh. You guys complain the fool is spreading hate on Xbox One and yet PS4 hate than gets spread by those commenters.Hypocrites much?

    If your going to whine atleast find a leg to stand on cause just saying Xbox or PlayStation does more doesn't mean it does proove it go deeper than just one comment like your a boss. Ha!

    Besides I in ways can't blame the fool for this ms and their Xbox One have done little more than screw up and piss people off these past months I wouldn't blame anyway for not being willing to trust them right now seeing as their so two faced on just about everything. But that isn't to say write only hate fool you can write better than this we all know that.

    Well peace out.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2014, at 9:26 PM, bozone88 wrote:

    Brandy Betz must be in the same bed as Sam Mattera.... Both have the same article.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2014, at 9:25 AM, pwolf wrote:

    @bozone88 LOL

    It's quite creepy and distrusting how blatant, polarizing, and bias the Fool writers have become on this topic.

    I'm now very hesitant to subscribe to Motley Fool One because of that alone.

    However, I still find it amusing to see "They think you're an IDIOT" in a big bold headline right below the writer's profile on the top of this page. Enjoy it while it's still there.

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Brandy Betz

Brandy Betz has written for The Motley Fool since 2011 and primarily covers health care, ETFs, and dividend stocks. You can follow her on Twitter @BrandyBetz.

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