A lot of you won't put up with other people's opinions and a lot of you simply have your own and won't be swayed, which puts you in the same bracket as myself in a way.
I scan various news outlets in the gaming world and listen to points of view and try to incorporate those views into my own, even if they conflict on drastic scales. Why? To build views from different sides of the fence, to see things from developers points of view, as well as consumers, marketing strategists, trends and straight forward lives of persons I know.
The point of these exercises, is to keep a flexible mind towards other opinions that relate to some of the most successful gaming devices on the market today, to try to pre-empt what will happen, why and when.
Therefore when I read an article I simply cannot agree with and at the same time cannot disprove, it's time for me to write an article that is in fact also an opinion piece and possibly a pure guess, as to the next move Microsoft will make, with possibly the most interactive console ever made for offline and more importantly online. However, we are talking Next-Gen.
Here is what I remember from when the Xbox 360 came out back in 2005.
Consoles fell into short supply within a matter of weeks and were being touted on eBay for up to £1000.
I paid £300 for a console that should have been less than £200.
Xbox Live did not enter into the equation, when purchasing an Xbox 360.
Add-On's were not a reason for purchasing a console whatsoever.
Three of these reasons in 2013, no longer hold any water based on trends and consumer market shift. Yes you would pay £300 for the Xbox Durango / 8 / 720 / next, money is worth less due to inflation and market strength and development has grown exponentially along the path of the 360's lifecycle. Xbox Live has played a major factor in this.
Before the times of Skype, website chat in it's current form, high costs of phoning on a mobile or landline, you had to appreciate that the Xbox was free to chat to anyone on. You certainly didn't pay for Live just to chat. It was a by-product that simply strengthened the 360 over time as online communities developed. Once these solidified and teams were built during the Modern Warfare days, the true potential of the Xbox was realised by it's entire community.
There are, as always with Microsoft, lessons to be learnt.
So put yourself in the position of 10 people for example, factor in different ages, they may work, be at school or University or unemployed, may be receiving the next console as a present from a loved one… what would be the ACTUAL best time to release a console that not only has to fill the boots of the 360, but needs to do it for an entire lifecycle against newcomers such as next-gen PC gaming, HD mobile devices, iOS and Google based platforms, Valve's Steam Box, Nvidia's Shield, Tablet gaming and recent Kickstarters such as the Gamestick?
You not only have to be able to predict supply and demand for the console and likely surpass those targets, but also have to choose the ultimate launch window for that blessed day 1 event.
I have found myself spending a lot of time researching these variables and have come to the conclusion that a christmas release would probably be the stupidest thing that Microsoft could do in 2013. Forget Black Friday, forget presents, these factors can be ruled out with a little vision. We are talking about the biggest console release we will likely ever see PERIOD. I mean no disrespect to the Sony faithful with that statement, however Sony's position has weakened incredibly throughout 2012.
Q. So why have you ruled out christmas 2013?
A. Quite simply PRE-ORDERS.
Pre-orders are themselves somewhat under-rated yet have been growing in strength at a dramatic rate through the previous twelve months. Some titles likely broke even or made a profit just via this selling technique as this phenomenon has taken a grip. It's not all about what someone bought you these days, it's about getting what you hoped and dreamed for and pre-orders certainly fit that bill. I predict Microsoft will allow up to 3 months preordering on the Xbox (Next). Certainly, we are almost if not already close to that figure on games alone and this is a much bigger statement than a solitary game. This is a whole new world of gaming.
At this point you are possibly hoping I will cut to the chase and announce the date I believe would be perfect for launch. Yes we are much closer, only I want you to understand the reasoning behind my thoughts after countless stat trolling. Let me for a second show you a few scenario's that I believe are true to life, before I drop my opinionated release date.
A. Little Timmy can't afford the new console, so GrandMa and GrandPa are clubbing together with his parents to buy him one huge gift this year. He won't receive his Grandparent's cheque until christmas day, but all the banks are closed and it takes a few days to clear. They also live in another country and the post is horrendous at this time of year within the UK let alone from America. It will take at least until the 7th of January 2014 due to the holidays for it to clear even if it arrives on time :/
B. Steven's been working hard doing overtime in his job because his girlfriend hates him being on Xbox. As they live together, she kicked off big time when he said he was spending £300 on the new Xbox and started a huge row, so they compromised and he took on a second job to pay for it. Luckily everyone needs extra staff at Christmas and he will have enough when payday comes at the end of January so it's all good. No arguments and he gets what he wants at the end. Damn recession.
C. Julie is in the middle of her Uni degree and is potless. She is a hardcore gamer and can't stand the thought of not shifting to the next console. She is an avid Elite fan and runs with an all girl Elite clan called GGG. She hates some of the sexual innuendo she receives on xbox live but if you think that's going to stop her, think again! Those boys are getting what's coming to them no matter what. She is working part-time luckily there are loads of extra shifts at the store she works in due to increased trade and staff that need to use up their holidays and she intends to take full advantage. Roll on 2014! It's killing time on a new platform. Her boyfriend has already pre-ordered his but can't afford to buy two. Shame.
These sound like 3 similar people, yes they are manufactured, but there is one thing in common and thats christmas. Now unless they are breaking the law and getting paid cash in hand weekly, there is no way in the world they would be able to pull the money together for xmas. There is however, the possibility to land and bank that money at the end of January.
By this point, xmas is out of the way, any presents they wanted could have been converted to cash, cheques would have cleared, wages would be paid etc.
That's why the release date I am going for is Tuesday February 4th to 7th depending on if they release based on UK or US game release dates. Considering that most trends point towards the US release date, I believe February 7th 2014 is the prime date for most sales.
I appreciate that some will disagree, I cannot confirm this date myself either so there truly is no point arguing. However, I do believe it to be (logistically) the best date Microsoft could choose to release it's Next-Gen console.
I hope you will consider this a sound judgement, if not ah-well each to their own. I just wanted to open your eyes to my point of view (and I could be so off the ball here)
Then again, if you let your partner down at xmas, it isn't half close to valentine's day to make it up to them (14th feb).
Thanks for reading.