Ahead of the upcoming E3 2016 trade event, Microsoft has officially lowered the price of the base Xbox One unit. This means you can pick up the 500 GB console for only $299. Other bundles have seen their prices lowered $50 as well, bringing a number of the system bundles down to $319.
Here's the new prices of some recent Xbox One bundles:
- Special Edition White (500 GB) with Quantum Break & Alan Wake - $299
- Special Edition White (500 GB) with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition - $299
- Black (1 TB) with Halo 5, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Rare Replay, and Ori and the Blind Forest - $319
- Black (1 TB) with Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - $319
- Black (1 TB) with Rainbow Six: Siege, Rainbow Six: Vegas 1 & 2 - $319
- Black (1 TB) with The Division - $349
- Black (1 TB) with Elite Controller - $449
Microsoft is heading into this E3 from a position of weakness. The last time we received potential sales numbers for the Xbox One was back in January, when EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said there were a total of 55 million current-generation consoles out there. At the time, Sony touted 35.9 million PlayStation 4 systems sold worldwide - updated to 40 million a few days ago - meaning the Xbox One was holding with an install base of around 19 million.
Sony is ahead in systems sold and the PlayStation 4 gets an additional boost by being the only current-generation console with extensive support from Japanese developers. Add in the upcoming PlayStation VR and rumored release of the PlayStation 4 Neo, and Sony is looking to hold onto its lead.
Current reports have Microsoft working on two new Xbox consoles. Kotaku and Polygon have reported that we should expect a smaller Xbox One with 4K video support sometime this August. In addition to that unit, another system codenamed Scorpio is planned for a 2017 release. The Scorpio will reportedly have an upgraded GPU, 4K resolution support, 2TB hard drive, and a performance target of 6 teraflops.
That latter number would put the system ahead of the rumored Neo (4.14 teraflops), the PlayStation 4 (1.84 teraflops), and the current Xbox One (1.32 teraflops). Sources have also said that we can expect Microsoft and Oculus to continue their partnership, possibly bringing the Rift to the Scorpio. Whether the Scorpio is a new Xbox One or a completely new system is still in question. Regardless, you can expect Microsoft's unified development environment to allow for a smoother transition between systems.
If this system is Microsoft's answer to the PlayStation Neo, I think it'll be a hard road for Microsoft. The truth is that most developers will continue to support the system with the largest install base: the current PlayStation 4. The Neo benefits from playing existing PS4 games with enhanced performance. But the Scorpio has to entice new players if Microsoft hopes to catch or surpass Sony. I'm just not seeing it without Microsoft's game development improving significantly.
As it stands, the price drop for the Xbox One is about stopping the blood loss ahead of a slim version of the system.
We're at E3 next week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!