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Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), Sony Corporation (ADR) (SNE): Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Makes a Play with Xbox One FIFA Bundle

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is an American tech giant best known for creating the Windows operating system and ushering in the computer revolution. The company also produces video game hardware under the Xbox brand and is set to release its new Xbox One console this holiday season.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

The Xbox One received a scathing reception upon its unveiling, prompting Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to implement a number of changes to the product. Recent news and the extent of these changes suggest that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is scrambling to preserve its cut of the market.

With the assist
Hot on the heels of the announcement that the Xbox One would no longer require its Kinect camera to function and that every box would come with a headset, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has finalized a deal with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA)  for an exclusive software pack-in. A download of EA’s FIFA 14 will be offered as a pre-order incentive for Xbox One in European territories. Both the standard and bundled SKUs will retail for £429.99 in the UK and 499 euros in the rest of the continent.

The move was revealed at the Gamescom convention and comes after rumblings of low European pre-order numbers for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s system. In light of the terrible press that has surrounded the Xbox One, it must be viewed as a move of desperation for Microsoft. The company needed to improve its value proposition if it hoped to compete against the cheaper and, at this point, more popular PlayStation 4 from Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE). Early pre-order data from The Netherlands indicates that four times as many people are queuing up for Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s system.

While Europe has traditionally been dominated by Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s platforms, the United Kingdom chose the Xbox 360 by a significant margin. Taking a look at the 13 countries, down from the initial projection of 21, in which the Xbox One will launch, shows where Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) believes its most valuable markets to be. Eight of the launch countries are in the Eurozone, where soccer and the FIFA series are immensely popular. I take bundling of the game to be an indication that Microsoft has access to tracking numbers that are painting a grim picture for its soon to be released product.

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