How Should Sony Price the PS4 Relative to the Wii U & Xbox 720?
Next generation is right around the corner for Microsoft and Sony, as Nintendo has already released their next generation system. The PS4, Wii U, and Xbox 720 will all host great games, but one of the keys to being successful in the console market is Price. Unsurprisingly, price can dictate a console generation and swing an unfavorable console at the beginning (PS3 2006), to a favorable spot by the generations ends (PS3 2013). Sony has clearly learned their lesson from the initial launches of the PSP and PS3. However, for the PS4 the price needs to be right. The Wii U is already nearing 2 million units sold, and the Xbox brand is immensely popular in the US. Although we don’t know the final specs or features of the PS4 or Xbox 720, where do you guys think Sony needs to price the PS4 when stacked up against the competition?
The Wii U is selling very well, Microsoft has momentum with the Xbox 360, and Valve will be entering the console race in 2013, to directly compete with home consoles. The competition of having four consoles in business is great. We will only see better prices, games, and features, as the console makers try to entice consumers to buy their system. I love this competition. I feel competition breeds excellence as we quickly saw Sony add many features to the PS3 to respond to what the Wii and Xbox 360 had (motion control, achievements).
Pricing will be key
Sony earned enough bad press and stalling sales when they announced the price of the PS3 at E3 2006. This should not happen with the PS4. If the rumors are true, the PS4 is ditching the cell processor and going with a GPGPU architecture like the Wii U. This should cut out the headaches of developing for the cell processor, while making it more developer friendly. There was a patient Sony filed for a controller that breaks apart into a PS Move controller. That controller, if made, might jump the price up of the PS4. However, knowing Sony, it will probably be an optional control method for their games, still opting to go with the dual shock controller as standard.
Sony needs to be mindful of the Wii U. Although the PS4 will be more powerful than the Wii U, the system is no slouch like the Wii was. Sony should not price PS4 more than $100 over the Wii U’s initial launch price. By the time the PS4 comes out, the Wii U will be over 8-9 million unit sold, with a solid lineup of exclusives like ZombiU, Bayonetta 2, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Finding a price that works for consumers should be Sony’s number one priority. A sweet spot for most gamers will probably be around $400-$450, but that is a little to high for the mainstream consumer. It will be interesting to see the final price of the PS4 and the effect it has on the rest of the gaming industry.
Sony needs to lock down the European Market
The one region Sony has an overwhelming advantage on is the European market. The Wii U is not selling as well nor is Nintendo allocating many resources to Euro market. Nintendo is clearly focused on America and Japan. Microsoft is non-existent in Japan and has a huge advantage in America. While Microsoft does have a Euro presence, Sony Clearly has the advantage in Europe. Sony Should focus on expanding the Euro market. Sony’s mindset should be that nobody will want to buy a Xbox 720 or Wii U after the PS4 comes out. Sony can achieve this by brokering a deal with EA Sports to get exclusive content for FIFA on PS4, similar to what Sony did with Assassin’s Creed 3 on the PS3. While it seems Sony has shifted away from the Japanese market a little bit by allowing Nintendo to snatch up the Monster Hunter and Dragon Quest franchises, Sony is bringing out new games like Soul Sacrifice on PSVita to attract more Japanese gamers. Hopefully, Sony will spend more resources on the Japanese market. The PS3 had a handful of big budget shooters like Killzone, Resistance, Starhawk, and Uncharted. Not exactly the type of games Japanese people like to play.
Although I have still have my concerns with the next generation, I am still optimistic and excited for 2013. Nothing is better than new hardware to brandish new ideas, graphics, and gameplay. Hopefully the Steambox pushes Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to step their game up. Competition is what makes each one of these companies harbor so many fans. Sony has learned from their mistakes, I fully expect to see a powerful machine at a reasonable price. I also expect them to dominate the Euro market and make a strong push to convert Xbox 360 fans to PS4 purchasers. What do you guys think? What should the price be for the PS4 relative to the other systems on the market? What are your thoughts on Sony’s pricing position. Please list them below.
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