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Consoles

Xbox One bundles to offer free Assassin's Creed games

Two different packages of the Xbox One gaming console -- one with the gesture-controlled Kinect setup -- include Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

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YouTube/screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft is trying to lure more Xbox One buyers for the holidays with two different editions of the gaming console aimed at lovers of the game Assassin's Creed.

On sale at select retailers starting Sunday, November 2, the two different Xbox One bundles will include a copy of Assassin's Creed Unity and throw in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Developed by Ubisoft, the Assassin's Creed series has proved to be one of the world's most popular game franchises, with sales of more than 77 million units over the years.

Selling for $499, the Xbox One Assassin's Creed Bundle with the gesture-oriented Kinect controller will come with a digital download code for Assassin's Creed Unity (available for predownload; available for play on November 11), a download code for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and a code for Dance Central Spotlight. Also included in the package is the standard Xbox One console and Kinect sensor, the standard Xbox One wireless controller, the standard Xbox One chat headset and one month's worth of an Xbox Live Gold membership.

Selling for $399, the regular Assassin's Creed bundle comes with the same items as the $499 version but without the Kinect and without the code to download Dance Central Spotlight.

The Xbox One with Kinect normally retails for $499, while the version without the Kinect sells for $399. So buyers are essentially getting not just one, but two Assassin's Creed games for free.

Microsoft is clearly hoping the popular game series can help boost Xbox One sales. And the free-game strategy might just be the ticket. The Xbox One has traditionally trailed Sony's PlayStation 4 in sales since the two consoles hit the market last November. But one analyst thinks the Xbox One outshone its rival last month.

In an investors note picked up by VentureBeat, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said he believes Microsoft sold 325,000 new Xbox One consoles in the US in September, while Sony sold 250,000 units of its PS4. If that proves true, it would be only the second month in which the Xbox One outsold the PS4 since both units launched.

And just how would Microsoft have pulled off this feat?

"From September 7 through [September] 13, Microsoft offered a free game with the purchase of a new Xbox One at participating retailers," Pachter said.

Microsoft is also promising more up its sleeve for the holidays to try to rev up Xbox One sales.

"This holiday we're focused on offering fans the best games, with unprecedented choice and value," Microsoft Corporate VP Yusuf Mehdi said in a statement. "We've lined up an incredible set of bundles to support the launch of some of the most anticipated game launches of the year, including Assassin's Creed Unity, Sunset Overdrive and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Combined with our award-winning games lineup this holiday, it's an incredible time to play on Xbox One. Over the next two months, we look forward to celebrating with fans every week as we launch new games, new bundles and a few surprises for Xbox One."