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Sony Shears PS4's Price

By Quinten Plummer
Oct 12, 2015 10:26 AM PT
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Sony last week knocked US$50 off the price of the PlayStation 4, putting the console on par with the $349 Xbox from rival Microsoft.

A cost cut also went into effect in Canada, where the price dropped from Sony's recommended price point of CA$449.99 to $429.99.

Touting upcoming multiplatform games Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Star Wars: Battlefront, Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Shawn Layden asserted that there never has been a better time to pick up the PS4.

Sony is delivering on its commitment to make the PS4 the "best place to play," he said, by cutting its MSRP and putting the console within reach of more consumers heading into the holidays.

The highly anticipated PS4 exclusive, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was still "on the horizon" after being delayed a while back, Layden noted.

That delay left Sony touting exclusive content on multiplatform games, such as timed exclusivity on Black Ops 3 DLC, noted George T. Chronis, director of qualitative analysis at DFC Intelligence.

Price Point Counterpunches

Considering Microsoft's success in trimming the Xbox One's price during the holidays, it was wise for Sony to shrink the price gulf between the consoles, Chronis said.

"By comparison, Microsoft Corp. has a huge exclusive in Halo 5 and can be expected to put in place $50 seasonal backdoor discounts on bundles at retail, as has been the case in recent years," he told TechNewsWorld. "Sony really could not afford to be at a $100 price differential against a major exclusive title during the Christmas season."

All else being equal, offering a higher-price console would hurt sales during the gift-giving season, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

"Otherwise, people follow the games to the console as long as prices are close," he told TechNewsWorld. "With Microsoft reinvesting in PC games and Hololens, they have Sony bracketed strategically -- so fighting for No. 1 this year isn't that important."

The Power Behind the Counterpunch

Microsoft stumbled out of the gates with the launch of the Xbox One, and has been trailing Sony and the PS4 ever since. Though Microsoft has made up ground, Sony has held a clear lead this console generation, and moves it made earlier this year appear to have given the company the power to move ahead.

With the third iteration of PS4, Sony introduced more cost-effective components, pointed out DFC Intelligence's Chronis, so it is in a better position to slice the street price now.

"Our position remains unchanged that the PlayStation 4 will end up being the overall leader in worldwide console sales this generation," he said. "The question at the end of the day will be, by how much?"

For Microsoft's part, it has refocused and no longer aims to keep pace with Sony and the PS4.

During an interview at Geekwire Summit 2015, Xbox boss Phil Spencer recalled starting out this console generation by making statements such as "we want to win" -- but nowadays, Microsoft's Xbox group realizes that the only thing it can control is what it can control.


Quinten Plummer is a longtime technology reporter and an avid PC gamer who explored local news for a few years, covering law enforcement and government beats, before returning to writing about things run by ones and zeros and the people who make them. If it pushes pixels or improves lives, he wants to learn all he can about it.


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