The Playstation 4 has won the first battle in the next generation console wars for 2014. January sales estimates by NPD released on Friday say that Sony's console beat the Xbox One by a nearly two-to-one margin. This doesn't mean that the console wars are anywhere close to over. Since both companies released their devices in later winter there is still quite a bit of ground that could be made up by Microsoft or quite a lead to be built by Sony.
So why did the Playstation 4 do so well in the first part of the year? It seems that price is the biggest factor. The PS4 is $100 cheaper than the Xbox One and that seems to have made the difference at the beginning of this year at least. It doesn't help that Microsoft thoroughly botched the rollout of its console. There was initial excitement over several features of what has since been dubbed the Xbone. The always on feature could have been something that the company stuck to its guns on and illustrated why it would be a net gain for gamers. Instead Microsoft pulled several features that made its newest Xbox stand out from the 360 and that dampened enthusiasm among customers.
There is also a perception that the PS4 simply offers most bang for your buck. That was augmented thanks to the new approach to the Playtstation Plus program. While Sony made a move away from the free online service to one that required a fee it rolled out features that make gamers actually want to enroll. The Playstation Plus program is more than a fee to play online. The service allows gamers to get deep discounts on some of the most popular games on the market and even gives users select games absolutely free.
Microsoft had actually done this first with its "Games with Gold" service and actually did it better, since Sony will not allow you to play the free games you download if you cancel your Playstation Plus membership. Xbox 360 users get to keep any games they downloaded with Xbox Live Gold even if they cancel their Gold package. The problem, once again is Microsoft managed to botch the rollout for this when it comes to the Xbox One. While the company promises it is coming to its next generation console soon, its not here yet and its been five months now.
All of these reasons have teamed up to help the Sony Playstation 4 fire the first sales salvo of 2014 and while that doesn't mean its going to win from here on out, it gives it a nice jump start.