We’re probably going to keep seeing bundles for the rest of this generation.
Publisher Electronic Arts confirmed that approximately 1 million of the 13 million copies of Star Wars: Battlefront sold into retailers (meaning not all have sold through to consumers) were bundled with a PlayStation 4 console. This is a significant number, and it shows the power that big game releases have when it comes to selling hardware. This is why we’ve seen both Sony and Microsoft hustling to offer bundle after bundle to consumers in their effort to capture as much of the $30 billion console gaming market as possible.
Bundles work. This is why we saw so many games packed-in with hardware from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo this past holiday season. Microsoft had bundles with Fallout 4, Madden NFL 16, Halo 5, and more. Sony had Destiny: The Taken King in addition to Star Wars. And Nintendo had Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario Maker bundled with various incarnations of the Wii U.
And those bundles, that essentially give a game away with consoles, did not prevent people from buying games. During the holidays, it was the exact opposite.
“December 2015 was the best month on record for PS4 and Xbox One, and the second-best for the Wii U in terms of new physical software unit sales,” The NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan told GamesBeat earlier this month. “This also meant that it was the best month of total new physical software sales [for this generation].”
This is evidence for why everyone is on board with bundles. Electronic Arts is happy to help Sony pack-in Star Wars: Battlefront with PlayStation 4s because they know that this’ll get more people buying more games. And the benefit for console makers is clear: They sell more PS4s, Xbox Ones, and Wii U systems.
This is leading to a market where consoles that don’t come with software are increasingly rare.
Back in June, NPD confirmed that 82 percent of all consoles sold were a bundle. At that point, the average for the year was 67 percent, which is an already-high number. People can’t resist a deal, and — again — this deal is benefiting the hardware companies, third-party publishers, and the gamer.
So, yes, expect more bundles.
Microsoft got right back into this trend to kick off 2016. It is going to release a bundle for Ubisoft’s multiplayer shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division, which is due out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8.
With this, gamers looking to upgrade from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will have another great entry point. Microsoft, in this case, will have a great deal to get players into its ecosystem. And publishers will have another current-generation customer to sell games to.