OPINION: Xbox One poised to unwrap pole position in Australia this Christmas

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SONY has confirmed that the earliest date it can guarantee PlayStation 4 shelf-stock for Australians is February 2014. So what does it mean for Microsoft, whose console is available right now, in the lead-up to Christmas?

The February wait, now confirmed, is consistent with a story we broke several months ago when EB Games issued an email to customers hinting at an early 2014 availability for new PS4 pre-orders.

Sony has naturally spun the story to argue that it illustrates insatiable demand for its console. And it’s a great machine – I love mine.

But yours truly discovered at my local EB Games midnight launch of the PS4 on November 29 that a lack of available stock could be giving Microsoft’s console a surprising sales edge that is not consistent with pre-launch hype that suggested PS4 would significantly outsell the Xbox One.

A Victorian EB Games store confirmed to customers at that launch that it had pre-sold its entire allocation of 60 PS4 consoles the week after E3 in June.

Conversely, it pre-sold its Xbox One consoles at a much slower rate, but was taking pre-orders up until the November 22 launch. In total, the same store took 160 Xbox One pre-orders.

What I couldn’t discover was how many PS4s were on backorder. However, I highly doubt it would be 100.

With Christmas upon us, the superior availability of Microsoft’s console could certainly give it the sales edge downunder.

Just today, Microsoft offered a Forza 5, wireless controller and Xbox Live Gold package for just AUD$199, making the leap to next-gen even more tempting.

The only package for PS4 – which includes a console and the brilliant Killzone Shadowfall game – were pre-sold before they could even touch the shelves.

My day job is public relations and communications, so I can see the benefit in scarcity as an impression-maker: to the average consumer, there’s something perceivably hot about the PS4 given it’s tough to get a hold of.

But the timing isn’t conducive to the idea that you receive something on Christmas Day.
So, to the keen gamer who wants a next-gen experience on Christmas Day, right now only Killzone and a handful of free-to-play MMOs separates the two consoles from complete homogeneity, making the Xbox One an attractive consideration.

The blockbuster third party titles are all on both platforms: FIFA, NBA 2K, Madden, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty.

Sony’s concern should be fulfilling demand as quickly as possible. February is but a month and a half away, but the lure of the Xbox One can not be ignored.

The great news for anyone owning a PS4 is that Sony now has to work a lot harder than first thought if it plans on besting Microsoft this generation. And that’s great for competition.

What do you think? Sound off below-ho-ho!

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