Interviews

Q&A: Xbox One price cut and free Titanfall promo

Xbox UK's Harvey Eagle offers more info

On Monday Microsoft announced a global promotion which will see Titanfall included for free with Xbox One consoles, while stock lasts. The platform holder also confirmed a price cut to £399.99 in the UK.

We spoke to Harvey Eagle, Xbox UK marketing director, to discuss today's announcement.


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Harvey Eagle was appointed UK marketing director of Xbox in November 2012

What can you tell us about today's announcement?

As you know we're really making two announcements today and both of them are about giving gamers in the UK the best value that we can. The first announcement is that as of Friday, February 28, Xbox One will retail at a new price point of £399. The second part of the announcement is that we will include Titanfall - which is one of the most anticipated games of the new generation - in the box for no additional cost, while stocks last.

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Does this announcement pave the way for discounts in other territories, or just the UK?

It's a UK specific announcement on price but the Titanfall bundle is part of a global program that will be announced today.

How much is the price cut decision driven by Xbox One's current sales performance in the UK?

It's not driven necessarily by our sales performance. In fact, we're very happy with our sales performance. Xbox One has been the most successful Xbox launch we've ever done. I think we've seen both consoles be very successful in the UK commercially. I think that's great for the industry.

But this is an announcement that's linked to giving the best possible value we can to our fans. The reason we're doing this now is because Titanfall is coming and it seems like the right moment in time to offer an improved price point with the inclusion of the hottest game.

So you wouldn't call this a competitive move considering the strong performance of your rival console in the UK?

No it's not in relation to the competition. We're on our own journey. We're just a few months into a generation that's going to last many years. We see this very much as a marathon, not a sprint. We're in it for the long haul and this is the next phase of announcements we're ready to make.

What about those who have purchased an Xbox One recently? Can they expect any compensation in light of this announcement, or is it very much an unfortunate scenario for them?

We're hugely appreciative and we'd like to thank everyone who has supported us since launch. What I would say is that the majority of the consoles purchased since launch have included a game. Earlier we were offering Forza 5 or FIFA and this latest offer has been timed to coincide with the launch of Titanfall.

How important does Microsoft foresee Titanfall being for the early roadmap of Xbox One?

Titanfall is a special game. There are few games that come into that category but when I look back over time, I think of when Halo came out with the original Xbox, I think of Call of Duty 2 on Xbox 360... these are rare and special games that people are prepared to buy consoles to play. We think that Titanfall is one of those games. We've seen from the multiplayer beta which recently closed that two million people have been playing the game, and the response has been frankly overwhelming.

It's received over 80 awards from journalists around the world. I've been in the business for over ten years and I've never seen a game that has received so many awards in this way. It won Game of the Show at E3, Gamescom... it's a game that's highly anticipated and we're delighted to have it exclusive to Xbox.

The official line is that the Titanfall bundle will be available "while stock lasts", as was the case with FIFA 14. Will you add different titles once this deal runs out?

This is a major promotion for us so it's true that there is a finite amount of stock available and therefore I would encourage people to pre-order early if they want to get the offer guaranteed. But I would also say that this is of order of magnitude for us with the launch offers. So the FIFA and Forza launch offer was a widespread offer and this is an offer of as significant volume as what that was. We've got no further announcements to make today. Once this offer is gone, it's gone. But the price point of £399 is a new permanent price point moving forward.

You asked about the importance of Titanfall... I think great games are important to people who play consoles. When I look ahead to the great games coming I think there are three titles that are particularly hot coming out this year; Titanfall is definitely one of them and the other two I would mention are Watch Dogs and Destiny. If you want to play all three of those games, you're going to need an Xbox One.

The other thing I'd like to mention is the upcoming improvements we're making, particularly around party chat and friends. We have a March update in support of Titanfall and that is going to improve some of those live features which we know are really important to fans. Specifically things like the friends list will be available from the homepage, you'll be able to chat to people who are online at the same time as you - not just in the same game - and you'll be able to invite friends directly from inside a game's multiplayer menu. We're also adding a recent players list. All of those improvements are coming as part of the March update.

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