After the so-called “Xbox One-80” today in which Microsoft completely reversed its used-game policy, online check-in rules and DRM strategy for the Xbox One, the console manufacturer saw its Xbox One pre-orders race to the top spot in the Amazon.com battle, beating out the PS4 for Amazon’s top pre-ordered console. Before today’s reversal of Xbox One policies, Sony had been enjoying far brisker sales of its PS4 — to the point that the only way to get a PS4 at launch is now to pre-order a PS4 launch bundle.
Perhaps even more interesting than the hardware’s new-found momentum has been the turnaround in Amazon’s Xbox One game pre-orders, which have seen a dramatic uptick since today’s announcement from Microsoft’s Don Mattrick. For instance, the Dead Rising 3 Day One Edition for Xbox One is now ranked #29 in Amazon’s video game section, while the Ryse: Son of Rome Day One Edition has risen (pun not intended) to the 39th spot and Forza Motorsport 5 Day One Edition has raced all the way to the 25th slot. Xbox One pre-orders for Call of Duty: Ghosts, meanwhile, are up to the 36th place, actually leaping one spot ahead of its PS4 counterpart. Technically that #36 ranking isn’t all that impressive considering the COD franchise’s traditional run at retail, but there’s plenty of time for Ghosts to pick up steam.
On the whole, there’s still a notable gap between most cross-platform games, with gamers still seeming to bundle up more for PS4 than they are for Xbox One. For example, where Watch Dogs for Xbox One currently holds the 97th spot, its PS4 version holds #19. Whereas Battlefield 4 for Xbox One is ranked 45th, its PS4 SKU is ranked 35th. Where Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag now ranks 225th in all video game pre-orders for Xbox One, it ranks a staggering 68th for PS4, showing a clear differential between the two consoles. Activision’s Destiny shows a notable gap as well — #80 for its Xbox One version and #18 for its PS4 version — but with all of Sony’s promotion of Destiny as a PS4 title, that may simply be an related to overall awareness rather than specific platform preferences.
With all this pre-order ranking talk, it’s important to note that Sony still has the lead in terms of overall pre-order volume; the PS4 just isn’t in the top pre-order spot any more. For instance PS4 Standard Edition pre-orders still hold the #3 spot, while the PS4 Watch Dogs Launch Day Bundle holds spot #4, the PS4 Battlefield 4 Launch Day Bundle holds spot #5, and the PS4 Killzone Launch Day Bundle holds spot #8. So, it’s not like Microsoft has completely derailed the train of requests for Sony’s next-gen system. But it will be very interesting to see how the pre-order battle continues to unfold as more consumers learn that Microsoft has changed its Xbox One DRM strategy and used-game policies.
For instance, a Sony representative earlier this week appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night TV show to showcase the PS4, and in the process took a not-so-veiled swipe at the Xbox One’s confusing used-game policy. Fallon himself fueled that fire with some subtle pro-Sony commentary, at which point the audience began clapping. Now that those policies have been reversed, will Fallon acknowledge the change in any way (perhaps even comically take some credit for it?), or will his millions of non-hardcore-gamer viewers still think the Xbox One policies are intact and thus a deterrent? If the uptick in Xbox One pre-orders on Amazon this afternoon and evening are any indication, the word will get out rather quickly, putting increased pressure on placing your pre-order soon if you want to get your Xbox One at launch.