Who on earth wants a “premium” $500 Xbox One X console when every other system on the market is selling for $100-$300 cheaper than that?
A lot of people, it turns out.
It’s starting to seem like the fanboys were right. Early sales numbers for the Xbox One X are trickling in, and the console is surprising everyone with rock solid debut numbers. Many in the press were skeptical of its chances at that price (myself included) and even Microsoft seemed to be downplaying how it expected the Xbox One X to perform compared to other consoles and its own Xbox One S, always pushing the idea that being a “premium” product and price was obviously going to suppress sales to some degree.
But these early numbers are encouraging. The Xbox One X has sold 80,000 units in the UK in its first week of release, according to GamesIndustry.biz. That is not only pretty high for the region, given the PS4’s popularity in Europe, but it’s also a figure that took the PS4 Pro fourweeks to hit last year.
That report was retweeted by Microsoft’s head of Xbox Games Marketing, Aaron Greenburg, who also added the following:
“Huge thanks to everyone for their support of @Xbox One X. Great initial results not just in UK, but seeing similar results across Europe. NA #s much bigger, amazing first week!”
It’s almost worded like a Trump tweet, but the message seems pretty clear, the Xbox One X is performing not just well in the UK, but in the rest of Europe and in its home base of North America as well. We don’t have the figures from other regions yet, but I would expect them to be similarly high, and surpassing metrics set by the PS4 Pro.
So how did Microsoft pull this off? A few thoughts:
- Analysts have been underestimating this console generation from the start. There was a fear that the Xbox One and PS4 would fail to reach the heights set by their predecessors, but they’re on course to surpass them. There was a fear that Nintendo’s Switch would fail like the Wii U, yet it’s poised to be one of the company’s biggest hits ever. In short, whatever you’ve been predicting about video game hardware in the last generation has generally been wrong, and it seems that may be true about the Xbox One X as well.
- The Xbox One X may be outperforming the PS4 Pro by this severe of a margin because it’s…a better console? I mean, it just is. Leaving aside PS4’s exclusive games roster, the Xbox One X is flat-out 40% more powerful than anything else on the market. A clear leap above Xbox One and PS4, and also more than the Pro itself. That kind of skip forward makes it more coveted by fans who desire power above all else. A slight power edge was in part why PS4 dominated Xbox One at launch, and now the tables might be turning (though it’s unlikely MS can catch Sony at this point in terms of total sales).
- I’m also willing to bet that in 2017, we’re seeing more and more people finally pick up 4K TVs, as it’s really the only way to go if you’re in the market for a new set. 4K is such a huge part of the Xbox One X experience, and the difference is noticeable. PS4 Pro may even have helped push that along because if people were saying how great games looked on the Pro in 4K, now we’ve arrived at an even more powerful system that can use your TV to an even greater extent, and so the choice to pick up an Xbox One X was easy if you owned a set.
I don’t know, those are probably not all the reasons, but they’re the ones I can think of that make the most sense. It’s frankly miraculous that Microsoft has done all this without any big exclusive titles this year (Forzaaside), simply acting as the best place to play third party games, and wowing people with great-looking, Xbox One X-patched titles like Wolfenstein, Assassin’s Creed and Battlefront.
I am very curious to see Microsoft release more Xbox One X sales numbers, which I am sure they will be bragging about soon enough. It’s been a long time since Xbox sales were anything to celebrate, but it seems the Xbox One X has defied expectations and the odds. People want power, plain and simple.