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If you had asked me in January which console would be the best performing of 2014, I might have hedged my bets, but in all honesty I would have been leaning towards the PS4.
Sony handled the launch of its new next-gen console a million times better than Microsoft did the Xbox One.
In fact Microsoft made so many mistakes and handled the PR so poorly when launching the Xbox One, that I did wonder if they would ever recover, in much the same way that Nintendo’s Wii U underperformed in terms of sales.
I am absolutely and wholeheartedly pleased to say that I was wrong. Very wrong in fact.
This November, the Xbox One outsold the PlayStation 4 (in the US and the UK) for the first time since the release of both consoles. And although the PS4 still holds a sales advantage over the Xbox One in terms of sales since launch, there’s no doubt that green is slowly catching up to blue.
But why did the Xbox perform so badly initially? It’s quite simple really – the Kinect.
Now although the hardware wasn’t actually bad in any way, although it did suffer from a few glitches, the primary issue was the price. Because the Kinect was forced into the system in order to make the Xbox One work, the price was substantially more than the PlayStation 4.
In May of 2014 however, Microsoft announced a price drop and the removal of the Kinect as an integrated part of the system. This meant that they could offer consumers two bundles, the higher priced Kinect option and the lower priced version without the Kinect. For those gamers who didn’t care about the motion control integration (which lets be honest, is most gamers unless they’re partial to dance games), this means that both consoles are competitively priced and the race to win the console war is not yet won.
With this in mind I would happily label the Xbox One as the Best Console of 2014.
Why you might ask? Partly because of the reasons mentioned above, but also because of Microsoft’s willingness to listen to its consumers.
The company has not only revised its business strategy in 2014, but also picked up a number of exclusives that have really motivated gamers to purchase their console, whether instead of or as well as the PlayStation.
The PlayStation released with a lower price, as a solid gaming machine that didn’t try to do anything particularly fancy other than offer a better version of the PlayStation 3.
It offered improved graphics, speed and (finally) a better controller, but it didn’t focus, like the Xbox, on things like TV. This helped contribute to the fact that the PlayStation outsold the Xbox One exponentially in initial sales.
While we can’t compare directly in South Africa as we only received a September 2014 release of the Xbox One, international sales reports indicate this.
While Sony has maintained a solid presence in the console arena, offering an excellent gaming experience all round, none can deny that the Xbox One’s ability to revitalise itself and remain in the game, gives it the additional edge that earns it the title of Best Console of 2014.