Your Titan will be ready in 15 days. That’s when publisher Electronic Arts will release the highly anticipated sci-fi shooter Titanfall for Xbox One and PC. That’s also when Microsoft is planning to shake things up for its latest home gaming machine.
Microsoft announced earlier today that when Titanfall debuts on March 11, it will release an Xbox One bundle that includes the console and a digital download of the game for $500. Since the Xbox One is currently $500 on its own, this means you’re effectively getting developer Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming multiplayer title for free in this package. In the U.K., Microsoft went even further by revealing a $50 (£30) price cut for the hardware that will go in effect on Feb. 28. The system will now sell for $665 (£399), and this is in addition to the Titanfall package that will hit on March 14 in that nation.
“I think the news reflects the importance that Microsoft is putting on Titanfall as a ‘killer app’ for Xbox One and its hope that the game stimulates higher sales and engagement,” R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian told GamesBeat. “It looks great, so why not give it the most exposure possible.”
So far, Microsoft has moved more than 3 million Xbox Ones worldwide. This makes it the fastest-selling Xbox in the company’s history, but it is falling behind Sony’s PlayStation 4. The Japanese corporation has already sold more than 5 million of its console. In the U.S. in January, the PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One by a nearly two-to-one margin.
Analysts and gamers see Titanfall as one of the first big releases for either platform in 2014. With the price cut and the pack-ins, Microsoft is obviously looking to capitalize on that buzz.
“I don’t think the Titanfall bundle is a big surprise since it’s one of the few marquee console exclusives for the Xbox platform this year,” IDC research director Lewis Ward told GamesBeat.
“I also think the 7 percent price trim in the U.K. is a sign that the Xbox team looked at the sales numbers compared to PS4 and asked themselves what they could do in the near-term to goose sales,” he said. “The result was this modest price drop. I think the goal will be to stay within striking distance of PS4 sales going into [the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show] this summer, and this price trim will help at the margins … no pun intended.”
In November, research firm IHS determined that Microsoft spends around $471 to manufacture an Xbox One unit. While the system will soon be selling for $50 less in the U.K., at current conversion rates, Xbox One will still be retail priced at $200 more than estimated production costs. This could mean the company is still squeezing a profit from moving hardware. But even if it isn’t, these small cuts and pack-in bonuses could boost unit sales.