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Xbox 720, PS4 could start at $350, says analyst

January 14, 2013 5:41AM PST
By Eddie Makuch, News Editor

Robert W. Baird industry watcher predicts next-gen console prices, believes "lackluster" Wii U launch and holiday sales a concern.

According to one analyst, the cost of entry for next-generation consoles will be lower than prior system launches. Robert W. Baird industry watcher Colin Sebastian issued a note to investors today, predicting the Xbox 720 andPlayStation 4 could debut at $350-$400.


The Xbox 360 launched in 2005 at $400, with the PlayStation 3 debuting in 2006 beginning at $500.

Sebastian's estimations are based on conversations with a range of game developers and distributors held last week during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. Sebastian explained that these conversations yielded "interesting takeaways with respect to next-generation game development and more broadly, the intensifying battle for the living room."

Sebastian also predicted that the Xbox 720 and PS4 will be built using existing "off-the-shelf" high-end PC components. Other features may include a hybrid physical-digital distribution model, "enhanced" voice controls and motion sensing, as well as "broad multimedia capabilities."

What's more, Sebastian estimates that the PC-based architecture of the new consoles will carry a range of advantages, the first of which is a shorter learning curve for developers compared to existing technology. In addition, this will allow developers to more easily build online services and capabilities, including free-to-play and subscriptions.

Regarding the PS4 specifically, Baird said some production snags may limit the console's launch quantities or timing. According to field checks, these production issues could negatively affect the console's launch, though Baird said these snags are "not necessarily fatal, or even unusual."

As for when the Xbox 720 and PS4 may be announced, Sebastian believes Sony and Microsoft will hold dedicated events prior to the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (June 11-13, 2013) to finally unveil these machines. If all goes to Sebastian's prediction, Sony and Microsoft will hype the consoles during E3 2013 itself before shipping the systems to retail during October and November, respectively. This timetable is in line with previous predictions.

Also in Sebastian's note to investors today, the analyst said Nintendo may be facing an uphill battle with its recently launched Wii U. He predicted that Nintendo will shift to a "niche category," and is concerned that the console will lack broad appeal beyond the dedicated fans.

He said following the Wii U's "lackluster" launch and holiday sales (the Wii Udid not outsell the 2006 original Wii during the period), Nintendo must release major first-party games, including the rumored Wii U Zelda title. This would be the only way to "retain the support of key third-party developers and reduce marketshare loss."

In the bleakest of scenarios, Sebastian said Nintendo would be forced to lower the Wii U price point earlier than it would like and even give consideration to releasing first-party titles--like Mario and Donkey Kong--on other platforms.

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The PS4 needs to have a prie of 399 or even 449.


High-end components for just 350 isn't very appealing considering you're stuck with it for several years.

Lets just hope its not $599 US dollars again. I think the ps4 will be about $350-450. and the nextbox will be $300-400.

$350 for a new gen console would be fantastic. If Sony and MS make the subscription model available from day 1, these consoles could very well sell for $99.

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would be fantastic but doubt it..I'm thinking 399

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Both will start at 399 or within a $50 range of that, up to $100 losses on lower end model

$350, would be the sweet spot.

The Xbox 360 started at $300 when it launched, a detail that the author of this article missed.

And Nintendo will go third party, looks like everything is right in the world again.

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

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$399 is just about the sweet spot for what higher end consoles need to be. With 4-8GB of Ram, SSD or really large HDDs, 4K tech, and gimmicks of their own(Kinect 2.0 and VirtuoVisor), its the best we could hope for.

I would like them even more if they came with one game, thats something that truely helped the Wii that Sony and MS seemed to forget. People like when they can start gaming right out of the box. Then again, this supposed Subscription subsidizing I've been hearing about could really lower the prices even more.

I think many gamers will not forget what went down this generation. Many were fooled by MS's supposed lower price(when in reality it cost just as much or more when adding in all the mandatory peripherals) and the Wii's low price masking lackluster performance as a full fledged gaming machine outside of first party. Consumers will be far more hesitant. WiiU might not be able to seduce the casuals like the Wii did as they were never committed gamers to begin with, another reason I say the 3 should have never invested so heavily in them. PS4 might be set to be the most attractive again.


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