If Titanfall doesn't push the needle... I don't know what will. I don't mean to be doom and gloom, and will freely admit that there could be something that comes out that changes everything that we don't know about (I don't think anyone foresaw Monster Hunter saving the PSP, for instance). But, looking at the trajectories of both systems and the release schedules for both systems... Titanfall is the biggest exclusive this year for either platform. If it doesn't push the needle and keep the needle pushed for a sustained amount of time I think there's a real danger of Microsoft falling far behind (which... I don't think they are far behind yet, for the record).
Microsoft doesn't need to "win" to make money. Microsoft wants to sell services. They will make money with XBLG. They will make money with Skype. They will make money with NUADs. They will make money with the NFL deal. They will make money with TV stuff. They will make money with Forza/Halo/Gears/etc. They don't need to be in first to do that.
But... and this is where if I was microsoft I would start shitting myself a little bit. They aren't the "cool" console currently. The PS4 is sleeker. The PS4 is more powerful (and early adopters are making it known via social media to the more casual gamers that this is the case... something that didn't exist 10 years ago). PS+ is beloved. And the PS4 is $100 cheaper. The xbox one is a big, bulky box. The Kinect hasn't caught on (I like it far more than I thought I would... but let's be serious, the gaming public's general sentiment about it is "i don't want it."). XBLG is looking like a rip off at $10 more for less stuff than PS+.
Microsoft has a very real image problem right now. And if Titanfall doesn't help correct that there isn't any reason to think anything will this year. Forza Horizon 2 will be awesome and I can't wait to buy that game but racing games are fairly niche. A big niche... 2 million sold, sure... but it's not going to move units. Halo 2 anniversary will be the biggest HD remake ever but as of yet there is no proof that a HD remake does much more than make a company some easy money.
The biggest problem is that when you add all of this stuff up, it's hard to think that MS will stay at the same trajectory. Like I said before, they don't need to win, but they do need to keep selling so they are a somewhat close second place. But when Watch_Dogs comes out and it's different resolutions that's another chink in the armor. I was told last night by a guy at MS that Batman is being preordered, in the US, to the tune of 4 to 1 in favor of the PS4 currently. If the xbox keeps getting the shit kicked out of it I think less people want to buy it as we go forward. It becomes so much more expensive for them to buy exclusives. The system is thought of as uncool (see: wii u).
Marketing guys project that Titanfall has already helped sell around 1 million Xbox Ones. This is based off of things like upticks in sales after every major titanfall announcements. They don't know if it will move 200k more at this point. The titanfall bundle is selling less than Microsoft projected (but they are still hopeful for a big swing come tuesday). If titanfall doesn't turn around the sales... and the image problem - what will? Direct X 12 unlocking the magic secret gpu when it releases in 1.5 years? Even if that bullshit is real the system would be buried by then.
As for "get rid of the kinect" i agree with Pachter that it won't be this year. Well, it can possibly be this year, but later this year. I think his reasoning is the same as mine... because the people I talk to say "We literally cannot unbundle it, we have contracts with parts suppliers that are yearly or multi-year." Mattrick really fucked them with that device. If you do see microsoft announce a kinect-less bundle early, like at e3, keep in mind that means they are eating A TON of money. And that has to be worrying for a division that certain people would like to see sold off...
I dig my xbox one but they have serious hurdles to overcome. I also love my Vita and it had serious hurdles to overcome... and it didn't. It needed Gravity Rush or Soul Sacrifice to become a Monster Hunter-like phenomenon and it didn't happen. So for the rest of its lifespan it will be a niche device. Shit happens.