Microsoft has tied the success of the Xbox One to the highly anticipated game, Titanfall. The Xbox One has been losing the console sales battle to the Sony’s Playstation 4 and is relying on Titanfall to give the Xbox One a boost in demand. Titanfall has collected positive early reviews and Microsoft is thinking this valuable game will result in a competitive advantage over the PS4.
Titanfall has been receiving comparisons to Microsoft’s flagship game Halo. Both are science-fiction shooters that outfit soldiers with a variety of weapons in a space-world setting. The characters fight to protect themselves on a corrupted planet. The most exciting action for players is when soldiers hop into giant robotic suits.
The Halo comparisons are important from a financial standpoint. Halo has sold 60 million copies since released in 2001. Microsoft is forecasting the same success for Xbox One as Titanfall is tied exclusively to Microsoft’s three platforms, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
Creative chief of Respawn Entertainment Vince Zampella headed the development of Titanfall. Zampella is regarded as a talented developer supported by his viral success with the Call of Duty game series. The game series has generated $9 billion in revenue over the 11 years of availability.
Zampella and Jason West co-founded Infinity Ward together. Infinity Ward is the studio behind Call of Duty. Activision acquired infinity Ward in 2003, but in 2010 legal complications occurred between Infinity Ward founders and Activision causing Zampella and West to start their own company.
Respawn is the new company and is headquartered out of Van Nuys, California. Microsoft contracting with an independent game maker is an unusual move, but could not resist Zampella’s pedigree.
Zampella realizes that his decision to exclusively partner with Microsoft will sacrifice millions of copies in sales on ps4, but Microsoft is financially compensating him for the decision. Zampella also states that the deal is beneficial on a marketing level. Microsoft needs Titanfall to hit a homerun with gamers to compensate for the $100 higher price than PS4.
The $500 dollar price tag compared to $400 for the PS4 has significantly hindered sales. The additional $100 is for the Kinect Camera and microphone sensor in an effort to differentiate their console. Xbox One games this far have not highlighted the differentiated console features limiting customer justification of the higher price.
Titanfall does not highlight the unconventional controls of Kinect, instead the focus is on high-definition gaming, according to executive vice president of EA Studios Patrick Soderlund. Another benefit for Xbox One customers is the discount realized when purchasing a bundled package of Titanfall and the console. Customers can get Titanfall and an Xbox One for $500, the same price as the console individually. Technically the bundle is $60 discount, the cost of the game.
The global sales count of PlayStation 4 to Xbox One sales is six to 3.9 million. Sales in January alone were two to one in favor of PlayStation 4. Microsoft has tied the success of Xbox One to Titanfall through marketing and financial techniques. Titanfall’s release date is Mar. 11.
Opinion by Niles Olson