The pricing of Sony’s next console the PlayStation 4 has been an interesting topic in gaming lately. There have been rumors that Sony could actually release the upcoming PlayStation 4 at a price lower than PS3’s launch which is sure to have wallets around the world rejoicing. This comes as Sony VP Michael Denny stating that the company has learned from its prior console launches.
As you may remember, the PS3 was released much higher than it should’ve been at $500 for the 20GB version, $400 for the 40GB, and a steady $600 for the 60GB and 80GB. The retail price was high due to the cost of parts and manufacturing the consoles. Unfortunately, Sony overestimated how much gamers were willing to pay for a console and games to go with it. This resulted in the PS3 bringing up the rear for a while until the Wii’s power started to wane. By that time though, Nintendo and Microsoft had already made off with the loot.
That isn’t to say that no one was purchasing the console—the sales have actually gotten much better now—it’s just that Sony should’ve really won this generation on the sales front when they exited the gate. They should’ve at least taken second place. The PlayStation 3 was everything that the PS2 should’ve been when it came out only more powerful and embracing the online marketplace approach that is popular now.
Looking back, the PlayStation 2 was very powerful for its time and delivered on a great catalog of games. Unfortunately there were things missing that consoles in the previous generation of Nintendo 64 in the fifth generation and the Dreamcast, Xbox, and Gamecube in its own generation brought to the table. I’m talking about multiplayer out of the box. You didn’t need an attachment for the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Xbox, or Gamecube. It was excusable for the first PlayStation even though it was obvious that local multiplayer would be a big deal and they should’ve been ready.
When the PlayStation 2 steps on the field it’s sans multiplayer out of the box. You had to run to the local game store and get an attachment to enjoy sports titles and shooters that allowed for four player action. During this time Sony were also handling their popular—at the time—EverQuest MMORPG franchise. It’s obvious they had the idea that playing online with your console was a good one. I for one logged so many hours and so many $10 or $15 game cards into their EverQuest Online Adventures and EverQuest Online Adventures: Frontiers titles in the early 2000s.
However Sony didn’t include ready online play—an internal internet adapter, modem, or something—with the PlayStation 2. The Dreamcast, Gamecube, and Xbox in its own generation featured ready online play and there was nothing extra to purchase. So you make another trip to game store a year or two later to pick up another add-on. The travel wasn’t too much of a hassle since you were going to head to the game shop anyway, but having to pay for it when the other three consoles had it already really made it look like something was missing. Especially when you consider that Dreamcast was the first in on the sixth generation.
Of course, you can kind of say that Sony made up for it later on with the PS2 by have solid online multiplayer, but you should’ve had it out of the tin. This brings up to the PS3 which got everything right, except for the price. Most were way off on the pricing and most didn’t want to pay the amount given when there was an inexpensive console—which had many of the same titles as the PS3–and a much more inexpensive console floating about.
So it would definitely benefit Sony to release at a price lower than that on the fourth time around. The other thing is if they released the PS3 at the price they’re possibly planning for the PS4, it would’ve warranted pricing the PS4 at the actual PS3 launch price. The PlayStation 4 has so much going for it that it would’ve made sense to price it higher.
Then again with Sony losing money all around, it’s probably best that they have the price at a readily affordable range just to move units and software. It would look great for Sony to offer the console at a lower price especially when Microsoft’s Xbox 720/Durango is looking more and more unsavory by the week when it hasn’t even shown the design yet. While Sony most likely won’t be shooting for a super wallet friendly price like Nintendo tends to, it will be priced competitively.
On top of that competitive pricing will be a good launch of games, something the PS3 wasn’t particularly strong with unless you’re a fan of sports titles. Actually, it could’ve been similar to the case of the Nintendo 3DS’ release where it had very few interesting titles to warrant it’s pricing at that time. Immediate launch titles tend to be in the range of mild-to-unimpressive compared to entire launch window of titles. You might have two or three top tier titles, a few sleepers, and the rest being bargain bin. Don’t forget about the amount of ports of titles you probably already played on the last console.
That can’t be the case with PS4 this time. There will be ports and so on, but with blockbuster titles and FPS being big in the last generation of consoles and studios already working on games for both the PS4 and the next Xbox, it’s a given Sony will be looking at something along those lines to really showcases the PS4’s abilities and technology.
What do you think Sony will price the PlayStation 4?