Xbox Series X Pre-Order Mixup
And how it’s indicative of Microsoft’s iterative console strategy.
With preorders becoming available on September 22nd, the Xbox Series X ran into a problem that likely didn’t surprise many people. During pre-orders, sales numbers on Amazon.com went up more than 700% for the Xbox One X, Microsoft’s distinctly current generation console.
With similar images for each console, the mistake is an easy one to make. The listing on Amazon for each machine features a black console with a controller leaning up against it. Although the consoles have a different design from each other, even a seasoned gamer would likely need a second glance before confirming their purchase. To make matters more confusing, like Sony’s own problems with their PlayStation 5 preorder organization, Microsoft’s new console has been flashing in and out of stock since its initial offering five days ago. When searching Amazon for “Xbox”, the user is confronted by a slew of gaming offerings from the rest of Microsoft’s current lineup in various colors and skus. It’s no wonder that those who find themselves jumping on preorders as soon as there’s any hint of a new stock would wind up purchasing the wrong console.
There have been some rumors going around, perhaps more hopeful than based in any fact, that this increase in sales numbers for the older Xbox One X consoles are at the hands of greedy bots that intended to scoop up the Series X, but got lost somewhere along the way.
In reality, it’s probably a combination of over-eager consumers and less-than-robust bots that have boosted Microsoft’s sales of their older console, but it does speak to the strategy that they’re looking to take as they move forward with their consoles.
The confusion here may not be entirely unintentional by Microsoft, and not in a way that they are looking to make a few more sales on unsuspecting customers. Microsoft’s strategy to move away from traditional console cycles and instead embrace a more incremental approach to new hardware has certainly manifest itself in the naming conventions for these consoles. Given the similarity between “Xbox Series X” and “Xbox One X”, it is far beyond any oversight by the teams at Microsoft, who put in endless hours of work to name these consoles precisely in a way that invokes their iterative approach.
Much like Apple’s “Pro” and “Max” tags that they attach to their phone upgrades year after year, the same seems to be occurring with Microsoft’s gaming offerings. With their approach moving away from exclusivity and more towards creating an easy ecosystem for gamers, Microsoft embodies the principle that hardware changes shouldn’t matter. And although this year will bring an upgrade to their console offering, it seems more than likely that they will iterate on their machines far sooner than Sony will with theirs.
It seems that Microsoft is moving away from the traditional console cycle in favor of incremental updates that will occur more frequently. The preorder mixup we’ve seen at the beginning of Microsoft’s console launch is likely only the beginning and is a clear indicator at the unique new approach that Microsoft is taking with its gaming division.