5 Reasons Why Those Quick Xbox One X Pre-Orders Are Meaningless

Xbox One X
Xbox One X pre-orders are off to a strong start, but that may not mean much. High prices, low stock and lack of games could impact the hardware's long-term success. Xbox One X releases Nov. 7 for $499. Microsoft

Xbox One X pre-order numbers were greater and sold out faster than any other Xbox console, according to an Xbox Wire post from August. Windows Central glowingly reported that the system was already selling faster on Amazon than Sony’s PS4 Pro. While these are nice accomplishments for Microsoft, here are five reasons why they aren’t a solid indicator of future success.

1) We Knew Hardcores Were Going To Buy It: The Xbox One X is a hardcore console for the most passionate Microsoft fans. As much as the need for a 4K TV and the $500 price may be deterrents for the masses, there was always going to be a sizeable contingent of consumers interested in this product regardless.

Especially as the negative press started to roll in about the unit’s high cost and the possibility that it may not have a market, that only emboldened the class of fan that would consider buying on day one. This console has been marketed to those folks from the start, and the messaging landed loud and clear.

2) The NES Classic Vastly Outsold Xbox One X This Year: The NES Classic was notoriously hard to find to the point that only about 2.3 million units sold over the course of 2016 and 2017 combined. The vast majority of the stock dried up in 2017, and yet it’s still placed about 30 ranks higher on Amazon’s best-seller list than the Xbox One X.

Even if the NES Classic sold a million units this year, probably a generous estimate, that comparison could put Amazon’s Xbox One X allotment closer to 5,000 or 10,000 units. That’s a good amount to sell through, obviously, but it’s not exceptionally large.

3) The Wii U Had A Great Start Too: Despite being unanimously regarded as a failure, Nintendo’s Wii U had a pretty great start too. The number commonly tossed around in 2012 was 890,000 units over a period of six weeks. Ars Technica broke that data down even further, to 400,000 in its first week in the U.S. alone. That was substantially better than the first weeks for PS3 and Xbox 360.

Wii U
Nintendo's Wii U sold more in its first week than the PS3 or Xbox 360. Photo: (c) Nintendo

While the Wii U was a totally new console and the Xbox One X is just a mid-gen refresh, the narratives are close enough to be compared. Just like the Xbox One X, the Wii U appealed to the hardest of harcore members of its fan base. They gave the console a strong start, but obviously that didn’t pan out in the end. What this tells us is that opening stats mean nothing if you can’t go the distance.

4) That Price: The $500 price point of the Xbox One X has been analyzed to death, but it simply can’t be ignored when pondering the console’s potential long-term appeal. The hardcore fans have their pre-orders locked in, but that tag won’t sit well when it comes time to sell to anyone else outside that niche.

With no game included, an Xbox One X plus some software costs as much as a standard PS4 bundle and a Nintendo Switch combined. Both products have more buzz behind them right now, and cost way less. If you’re a 4K enthusiast, the PS4 Pro could be $100 cheaper or more by the time the holidays arrive. The Xbox One X is undercut in cost by all of its closest competitors. Power is great, but value speaks volumes.

5) A Limping Lineup: Another aspect that will ultimately hurt the Xbox One X through 2017 is the lack of new games. We’ve seen the analyses of patched Xbox One X titles running in native 4K and we were super impressed. That being said, these aren’t new experiences. Forza 7 is the biggest Xbox One X headliner there is, and there’s no way a racing game can do what Breath Of The Wild did for Switch.

If you can’t give the mass market a truly stellar reason to buy an Xbox One X beyond playing old games at higher settings, it’s not going to get much attention when the Switch and PS4 have a different kind of positive momentum behind them. It’s unfortunate Crackdown 3 was delayed because it really hurt the messaging for the X.

Xbox One X releases Nov. 7 for $499.

Do you think it matters that Xbox One X pre-orders broke records? Will this system be a success? Tell us in the comments section!

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