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Reaction: Xbox One's FIFA 14 Giveaway Is Smart, But Sony Should Stick to Its Game Plan

Posted by Sammy Barker

Swapping sides?

In an announcement that’s been compared to the introduction of Lionel Messi in the dying minutes of a cup final, Microsoft has revealed that all Xbox One pre-orders will ship with a copy of FIFA 14 in Europe. It’s a game changer for some, as it effectively reduces the price of the next generation console in a region where not owning EA Sports’ soccer simulation is considered more abnormal than eating your Nando's chicken without additional Piri-Piri sauce. But is it something that Sony needs to respond to, or can it ignore the last-minute incentive for the time being?

Microsoft is attempting to add value to its box, and that’s a smart move – but Sony shouldn't be concerned

It’s perhaps worth stressing that the short-term sweetener doesn’t actually make the Xbox One cheaper than the PS4. Assuming that FIFA 14 retails for around £39.99 in the UK, you’ll be able to pick up a copy of the game alongside the Japanese giant’s impending machine for less than £400, while Microsoft’s console still costs £429.99. However, the latter does come with the all-important Kinect sensor, which adds significant value to the package – assuming that you actually want the camera, of course.

The fact that it’s limited to pre-orders means that this doesn’t change a whole lot, though – especially when earlier reports had indicated that this may be a long-term move. It’s certainly a nice incentive for early adopters – and it may sway some fence sitters – but it doesn’t eschew the larger pricing issue attached to the Redmond-based manufacturer’s console. Unless it can somehow shed the expensive Kinect camera, it’s always going to be more costly than its competitor.

And for that reason, Sony doesn’t really need to act. Microsoft is attempting to add value to its already premium priced box, and that’s a smart move – but it’s not one that the Japanese giant should be overly concerned about. With the PlayStation maker already ceasing launch day pre-orders across Europe, there’s very little incentive for the firm to offer something similar for its format.

Furthermore, this perhaps gives us an indication of just how dire the Xbox One’s pre-orders are looking in Europe. Speculation suggests that Sony’s system is outselling its counterpart by 4:1 on the continent, and while those numbers remain entirely unconfirmed, a last-minute move like this suggests that Microsoft is at least attempting to improve its outlook across the important territory.

If Sony feels it needs to add value, it could always promote its free copy of DriveClub

It will certainly make the split more favourable, but we doubt it’ll have any meaningful impact on the PS4 across the region. The only potential long-term damage is that the Xbox maker is working hard to associate the massively popular FIFA series with its brand, where it has always traditionally been marketed as a PlayStation game. That perception’s not going to change overnight, but it’s certainly something for the firm to keep its eyes on.

Regardless, we doubt that the top brass at Sony – presumably rehearsing for its own GamesCom press conference as we type – will be too nervous over today’s announcement from Microsoft. If the manufacturer feels that it needs to add value to its box, it could always promote the free copy of DriveClubwhich will be available alongside PlayStation Plus subscriptions – more heavily, or even partner with retailers to create unofficial FIFA bundles. It’s a smart move by the Redmond-based firm, but it’s unlikely to conjure up a stoppage time winner.


Do you think that Sony needs to respond to Microsoft’s announcement and bundle a free game with PS4 pre-orders? Has this added incentive prompted you to reconsider which system you want to own? Let us know in the comments section below.

Should Sony bundle a free game with PS4 pre-orders? (28 votes)

Yes, it will give the console the upper-hand again

11%

It's not necessary, but I’ll take a free game

64%

No, the company should stick to its original plan

25%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (25)

8vpiper

#1

8vpiper said:

If MS is going to spend that type of money they should have just gone full tilt and got it as exclusive on next gen, that would have given them the upper hand.(don't think fifa license would allow that though)

ShogunRokAdmin

#2

ShogunRok said:

It's a smart move on Microsoft's part, but it also goes to show things aren't going quite as smoothly as it had hoped - at least in Europe. Let's not forget this is a limited offer, too.

And while the PS4 isn't going to ship with anything as huge as FIFA, it's still getting a handful of free-to-play titles like Warframe. Personally, I think the PS4 still carries the most value for money.

SuperKMxAdmin

#4

SuperKMx said:

No, it doesn't make the console cheaper, you're right. However, there's a fair few hundred thousand people who were planning on buying an Xbox One with FIFA 14 - myself included. That now means that I can buy the Xbox One, get FIFA 14 for nothing, and pick up another title for the same money. Instantly, Microsoft's effective attach rate goes up.

It also pushes FIFA into homes where it wouldn't necessarily have even been considered, so benefits EA as well.

To pick up a PS4 and FIFA will cost me £389.99-£404.99. So I'm getting the Kinect sensor for £25-40, effectively. At £100, I could see why people would baulk at the Kinect sensor being "forced" upon them. At £40? Not so much.

Of course, if you've no interest in FIFA, then... :)

RawShark

#5

RawShark said:

It should give Xbone a much needed boost, even if, as you say, it doesn't lessen the value of the PS4 at all. I have to admit I'm not that excited about DriveClub - I certainly don't think it should be the focus of any major focus other than as an added value bonus. For a start it's not the complete version, so who knows how much extra content you'd need to shell out for in order to get the full game, and the early word is that it''s no Gran Turismo beater, let alone Forza, I'm more interested in the free indie titles coming with plus... but there's no denying I'm not really into the launch line up at the moment.

ShogunRokAdmin

#6

ShogunRok said:

@SuperKMx When I first heard about this I immediately thought of Wii Sports and the Wii. It's obviously nowhere near as widespread, but the comparison is there.

SuperKMxAdmin

#7

SuperKMx said:

@ShogunRok Good point - I didn't make the jump to that, if I'm honest, but you're right, the comparison is most definitely there.

DirectAim

#9

DirectAim said:

The only issue with this for MS is that vast majority of people who want FIFA on the Xbox One will of already pre ordered the console. I cannot see this game shifting millions of extra consoles because the people who it will effect will already be sat waiting nicely with their pre order.

Sony could now sell FIFA 14 and PS4 as a bundle and STILL be a lot cheaper. With the right marketing the MS offer would pale in comparison!

ztpayne7

#10

ztpayne7 said:

I definitely don't think Sony needs to offer a free game (although I would take it!). They already have plus continuing with PS4, and as @ShogunRok mentioned, they have some great games like Warframe for free at launch.

For a console trying to win back a customer base it has obviously ticked off, I do think it was a good decision for Microsoft.

BornOfEvil

#11

BornOfEvil said:

Fifa is a pretty big deal, but I don't really feel it adds any extra value to what Microsoft is offering. Maybe if they removed the Kinect (seeing as it's no longer a necessity) and dropped the Xbone's price this could sway some people's decisions - not mine, though.

get2sammybAdmin

#12

get2sammyb said:

@RawShark It's certainly not comparable as it's not even the full game, but it's something that they can flaunt as being free* if they need to.

MadchesterManc

#13

MadchesterManc said:

So is this for new pre-orders or is it for everyone? Luckily Ive no interest in FIFA so Im still not swayed. Show me some JRPG's I cant get on Playstation and I might be swayed, oh wait, your not really bothering with the Japanese market so thats not gonna happen eh Microsoft lol What about those people who have already paid up there pre-orders for Xbone One n got a copy of FIFA14 already? With this potentially leaving quite a few unsold copies on the shelf at launch I'd hazard a guess retailers wont be too keen to have people returning thier retail copies, especially at full price too.

Its a good move by Microsoft, but as Ive pointed out, there's still some areas of concern regarding this move for customers & retailers.

@get2sammyb You guys intentionally put that GTA5 advert up? I hope its not gonna be up constantly up till launch. Some people are trying to avoid the hype so they may enjoy the game lol

ztpayne7

#14

ztpayne7 said:

@MadchesterManc My whole "this is a smart move for Microsoft" mantra would be completely taken away if this was only for new preorders. If so, then they would have potentially succeeded at alienating the ENTIRE fanbase, instead of just most =)

ZeD

#15

ZeD said:

To be honest I think it is a strange game to have as a free one. Not every one likes football games. But saying that if you have a "free" game you will try it. Right? It is like PS+. There is a lot of games I would have never touched but because they give it to me I will give it a go. Saying that, why not give each customer a voucher for ANY game on the digital store? Or even better - stick GOLD into a preorder package? Makes sense?

rykkchii

#16

rykkchii said:

Sony don NEED to respond - they are clearly winning this race, but I hope they do.. free fifa14? I aint gunna turn that down. But im not going to buy a machine to use for 10 years for ONE free game!

8vpiper

#18

8vpiper said:

@RawShark It's not a sim so no it won't beat them on that front but they have made "fun" racing games i loved motorstorm first game i picked up with my ps3. didn't they make those rally games as well on ps2??

MadchesterManc

#19

MadchesterManc said:

@8vpiper Yeah Evolution developed the WRC series on Ps2. Well worth a look, even now, if your into off-road racing or rally. WRC 3&4 were sublime, the best rally games last gen for me

rjejr

#20

rjejr said:

I can see this making a few more early sales for MS out of people who might have waited, but I can't imagine PS fans changing their minds over this.

FYI - it's a DL code in the box, not the game, so don't plan on trading it in. I suppose you could eBay the code though. And how does MS distinguish between pre-orders and day 1 sales if the code is in the box? Wouldn't it be easier for the entire 1st shipped batch of consoles to have the code in the box?

FullbringIchigo

#22

FullbringIchigo said:

the thing is that even with FIFA 14 included the XB1 is still more expensive than the PS4 when it's brought with any game so the PS4 is still the better deal money wise

Gamer83

#23

Gamer83 said:

I've been saying this for years now, but Sony has to start fighting fire with fire. It has the better first party studios and as such will have better exclusives over the long haul, however, Sony's exclusives generally do not sell consoles, and outside of Halo, MS' franchises generally don't push Xboxes, it's the third party games. And just like last gen, MS is throwing that cash around early to nab exclusive content and even full games. Timed exclusive or not, it helps MS and Sony can't just keep letting this happen. Now MS is already having give aways. I hope Sony answers back in a big way with some major third party announcements this week. I also want first party stuff, but there's plenty of other opportunities to get news out there on what developers like Naughty Dog, Bend and Japan Studio have in the works.

IAmNotWill

#24

IAmNotWill said:

Will still be cheaper to get FIFA 14 and PS4 separate at launch then then the Xbox bundle. But it's a good idea.

Ginkgo

#25

Ginkgo said:

From a marketing point of view it is a gratuitous grab and makes MS look a bit desperate. From a consumer point of view, there will be many who will gladly take them up on the offer, desperate or not. This will definitely sell some systems to people who are on the fence or don't know enough technically to make an informed decision. It won't sway people who have done their research as a console is a long term purchase and most people one by 1.

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