SEATTLE, March 10 (UPI) -- Microsoft will be relying heavily on Titanfall, set for release Tuesday, to boost Xbox One sales and keep pace with Sony's PS4 console.
After both major console makers launched their products around the same the last year, Sony has taken the lead in sales followed by the Microsoft's Xbox. Microsoft is hoping that the new combat game will help revive its fortunes by providing buyers with a strong reason to buy their console.
"Titanfall is an incredibly important game and it's coming at an important time," said Yusuf Mehdi, head of marketing and strategy for Microsoft's Xbox group.
The game, developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts, is a first-person shooter that depicts a battle between corporate mercenaries and local outlaws in far-off space colonies. The game has already received critical acclaim and will be released exclusively for Microsoft platforms -- the Xbox One, the older Xbox 360 console and Windows PCs.
Microsoft will be using its servers to power functions like artificial intelligence of the gameplay, to allow for the console's processors to concentrate on creating more detailed animations.
As of March, Sony said it had sold more than six million consoles, whereas Microsoft said it had sold more than three million Xbox One units to customers by the end of 2013, and hasn't released any recent figures. It is clear that Microsoft would like Titanfall to give its sales numbers a much needed uptick.
“It’s very early in the race, but the danger is if PS4 just keeps building momentum, that could cause them a lot of trouble,” David Cole, a game analyst at DFC Intelligence, said of Microsoft. “The next nine months are really critical for Xbox One. Titanfall is huge in that respect.”
Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird, said that it was too early to make any sales forecasts but said the game has potential to become a major franchise if the response is favorable.
Microsoft has said it will bundle the game with the console for $500, the cost of the console alone. This is an effective price drop of $60 for the Xbox One since that is Titanfall's retail price.
[The New York Times] [The Wall Street Journal]