While the video gaming industry prepares for a huge amount of news on future releases arriving at the E3 convention this time next week, the focus will be on the new consoles due to hit shelves by the end of the year, so with release dates for the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One likely to be revealed at the event, analysts who want to will seek to get their predictions on each product’s price in before that time.
Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan (pictured) is one of those people, and he has this week arrived with the suggestion that adding to the long list of off-putting features that the Xbox One has so far, ‘higher price’ will be added to it, with an estimated $399 (£261) compared with the PS4’s $349 (£228).
While he notes that the PS4 can also afford to be cheaper due to its cheaper ‘bill of materials’ estimate (around $275 (£419) compared with Microsoft’s hypothetical $325 (£213)), Pachter is of the belief that the Xbox One could be sold at a lower price on account of smartphone-style ‘subscription’ charges.
This method would see Microsoft team up with any of the broadcasters or internet service providers that they work alongside to offer a combined console/service deal at a reduced rate for the hardware, in an effort to latch on to existing subscribers or attract new ones with an integrated deal.
Speaking to GI.biz, Pachter stated: “We believe the ability to watch live TV from a cable, telco, or satellite set-top box through Xbox One could entice an MSO to drive subscriptions through a subsidised box in exchange for a multi-year contract. The ‘always connected’ requirement for the Xbox One likely means that a broadband connection will be required, suggesting to us that ISPs may have an incentive to offer a subsidy as well.
“In addition, Microsoft could conceivably subsidise the Xbox One through prepaid Xbox Live Gold subscriptions [as it has done on a limited basis in the past] or premium Skype functionality as well. Similarly, Sony could subsidise the PS4 through prepaid PlayStation Network subscriptions, but unlike Microsoft, it does not have a history of doing so.”
A further prediction made was that existing hardware such as the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Wii U could be forced into offering price cuts in order to keep up with the competition, which would be a fairly predictable direction to take considering the big names emerging, and while the PS4 and Xbox One could be cheaper than anticipated if Pachter’s figures are correct, will they have enough quality and ‘improvement’ on predecessors to justify whatever cost they choose?