No convention is complete without some speculation regarding hardware prices. It’s hard to believe that this time last year, the PlayStation 4’s recommended retail price was very much still up in the air, with many expecting Sony to plump up for a more costly figure than its nearest competitor. As it happens, the Japanese giant actually undercut Microsoft, announcing that its next-gen system would sell for $100 less than the Xbox One. Seeing its system slip behind in global sales, the Redmond-based firm has since adjusted the asking fee for its format, announcing a $399.99 model that ships without the Kinect camera included. But does the PlayStation maker need to adjust to this announcement?
There’s no doubt that a lot of the PS4’s early success has stemmed from its more attractive price point. While many contend that the company had intended to bundle the PlayStation Camera with its device, it’s actually found a lot of success by keeping it separate; the optional peripheral has gone on to sell out in parts of North America, while the system itself has already surpassed seven million units globally. That number is likely to have increased to eight million at the time of typing, with an updated figure almost certain to be shared at E3 next week. Alas, with next-gen price parity now achieved, many are pondering whether the platform holder may need to reduce the cost of its console in order to maintain its current trajectory.
With the cheaper Xbox One set to go on sale on 9th June, it would definitely be a huge coup for Sony if it were to announce a PS4 price reduction on the same day. However, while this scenario is certain to get forum fanboys frothing at the mouth, we’re not convinced that such a move would make good business sense. For starters, there are currently no signs that its next-gen system’s momentum is going to slow, and it will want to analyse its competitor’s numbers before making any sweeping changes. Moreover, price drops tend to provide much bigger boosts during the holiday shopping season, so we’re not convinced that the company would even consider making a change so early in the year.
Indeed, this is where being the current industry leader is advantageous. While it’s true that the generation won’t be won in its first year, the Japanese giant has the breathing room to bide its time. Much like Microsoft did with the Xbox 360, the PlayStation maker can simply wait to see what kind of impact the reduced Xbox One has on its business over the summer. If it sees the momentum of its machine start to slow significantly, then it’ll be able to respond ahead of the holiday season, and make the kind of changes required to give it the advantage heading into Christmas again. As a result, we’re not convinced that a price drop of any kind is likely, but we can see more cost effective bundles becoming an option.
Specifically, value added packages certainly seem possible, with bundle candidates including Knack, Resogun, or even the DLC heavy Killzone: Shadow Fall. Popping download codes for any of these titles in its console’s box wouldn’t cost the company much, but would give it an advantage over the similarly priced Xbox One. Given the existing momentum of the machine, this may convince fence sitters to stump up for the PS4 ahead of Microsoft’s alternative option. Other possibilities could comprise temporary subscriptions to PlayStation Plus, with Sony seemingly eager to lock players into its online ecosystem moving forwards. Three months would certainly be enough to get adopters invested in the Instant Game Collection, and accustomed to other subscription exclusive benefits.
Whatever happens, though, we think that it’s important to remember that Sony will adjust the price if it feels that such a move is necessary – but it absolutely won’t panic while it’s in the driving seat. Armchair analysts are all too eager to point to the Japanese giant’s dismal financials, but seeing as it’s already profiting from its next-gen system’s hardware, it has the option to make a change if the timing’s right. We reckon that it will see out the summer first, so you’re probably not going to hear anything at E3 next week. Either way, Microsoft’s pseudo-price cut means that the next-gen war is certain to remain fiercely competitive for the foreseeable future. And, in honesty, that can only be a good thing for consumers.
Do you think that the PS4 will get a price drop at E3? Is it too early for any changes, or do Sony need to react to Microsoft’s recent Xbox One adjustments? Share your battle strategy in the comments section below.
Will the PS4 get a price drop at E3 2014? (66 votes)
Yes, Sony needs to maintain the machine’s momentum
Hmm, I’m not sure
No, there’s no need to change anything at the minute
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