It's not easy to get actual numbers, but it's pretty clear the Playstation 4 has been outselling the Xbox One since both systems launched last November. (Ars Technica did their own analysis of the numbers and came up with the PS4 having a 40% lead worldwide.)
Microsoft has been fighting back, hard. They've been releasing monthly system updates that add or enhance features, they've made the Kinect an optional peripheral and they've put together several bundles and special deals over the past few months.
Starting next Sunday they get even more serious about winning back market share. That's when a $50 off campaign starts. It runs from November 2nd, 2014 until January 3rd, 2015 at most major US retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop, Target, Walmart and others.
The discount applies to both stand-alone Xbox Ones and bundles. Microsoft is calling out a few specifically:
There's the Sunset Overdrive bundle. It comes with a white Xbox One, no Kinect, a 500 GB hard drive and a digital copy of Sunset Overdrive for $349.
There's also an Assassin's Creed bundle which includes the standard Xbox One, no Kinect, a 500 GB hard drive as well as both Assassin's Creed Unity and last year's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. This bundle sells for $349. There's also a version of this bundle that adds a Kinect sensor and Dance Central Spotlight for $449.
If you want more storage space, Microsoft is introducing an Xbox One with 1 TB of storage space in the Xbox One Limited Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle. It comes with a digital copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition and a custom Xbox One and controller (no Kinect).
If you've been waiting to buy an Xbox One, this might be the time. I haven't played Sunset Overdrive yet but the reviews are pretty good, and that white Xbox One is a pretty thing. That's the bundle I'd go for if I didn't already own one (keeping in mind that the Xbox One supports external USB drives so expanding your storage is pretty easy). And I'd put the $50 I saved towards a copy of Forza Horizon 2, which I have been playing a lot, and which I'm finding really fun.
It'll be interesting to see what, if any, response we see out of Sony. Will they feel the need to drop their price? Hard to say. Starting Sunday the Playstation 4 will be $50 more expensive and it doesn't come with a game; that's going to make the Xbox One the obvious choice for casual shoppers, but I'm not sure casual shoppers are even thinking of new consoles yet. Sony also doesn't have any new well-reviewed exclusives to offer at this point; Driveclub was kind of a dud thanks to ongoing connectivity issues since launch.
The only downside I'm seeing to these deals is that suddenly there are a lot of choices to make when buying an Xbox One when you consider both the bundle options and the Kinect/no Kinect decision.
So is $50 enough to get you to open your wallet or are you still waiting to see how this generation shakes out?