If it’s true that videogames drive sales of consoles, then Microsoft is leaning heavily on that strategy by unveiling three new bundles today at Gamescom in Germany.
While the idea of bundles is not new, Microsoft said this year’s options are “unparalleled,” and Xbox Head Phil Spencer added that they are excited “to offer fans more choice than ever before.”
In an effort to drive strong sales during the holidays, Microsoft is putting a lot of emphasis on these bundles — and their price. The packages range from $350 to $499, making them very competitive with the Xbox One selling without the Kinect sensor for $399.
Since none of these new bundles will be shipping with Kinect either, a spokesman confirms, Microsoft is able to keep prices as attractive as possible.
Here’s the bundles:
- Available for pre-order today, the Xbox One Limited Edition “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” Bundle launches starting Nov. 3 for $499/£429.99/€499.99 at select retailers. It features a 1TB hard drive, custom console, controller and Limited Edition exoskeleton, plus a digital copy of the “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” Day Zero Edition.
- Insomniac’s Ted Price unveiled the Xbox One Special Edition “Sunset Overdrive” Bundle, featuring a white console and wireless controller, a digital copy of the game, and special Day One edition in-game items. It costs $399/£349.99/€399.99, starting Oct. 28, and is available for pre-order today.
- An exclusive “FIFA15” bundle for fans in Europe was also announced including an Xbox One Console, Xbox One Controller, 14 Day Live Trial, HDMI Cable, Chat Headset, a digital token for “FIFA 15” and an Ultimate Team Legends Gold Pack. It’s available for pre-order today, and will launch Sept. 25 for £349.99/€399.99 while stocks last.
Price has been one of the biggest hurdles for the Xbox One, which originally cost $100 more than the PlayStation 4 at $499. But since the company began selling a $399 version without the Kinect sensor on June 9 — a $100 price cut from the Xbox One with Kinect — sales doubled in one month.
“We’re excited to offer fans more choice and value than ever before,” Spencer said. “These bundles offer a great opportunity to enjoy Xbox One alongside an incredible line-up of first and third party games, making Xbox the best place to play this holiday and beyond.”
Xbox made several other software announcements today, including updates to the console’s social networking and media features.
Microsoft said a new “friends” section will be expanding to everyone enrolled in the Preview program. The friends section enables users to see the most popular games their friends are playing and a leaderboard to see who is doing the best. It also announced threaded messages, which will allow gamers to see the full conversation history with their friends.
As far as media updates, a new media player will be available soon that enables users to play media files from either an attached USB device or from a network connected home media server that supports DLNA protocols.
A new Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, which was announced last week, will enter a limited preview program in Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain), in advance of its retail launch beginning in October. And, gamers will be able to stream TV from their TV to their smartphones and tablets using the Xbox SmartGlass app. They can also pause, play and rewind as well as change channels, without interrupting gameplay on the Xbox One. This will work for SmartGlass apps on Windows, iOS, and Android.