Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has come out and said that he believes that the PS4 console will release at a price between $399 or $449. He also thinks that the smaller jump in hardware power from the last generation means that developer budgets will only increase modestly.
“We remain confident that the new console will have a lower initial MSRP than the PS3, which had a lofty starting price of $599 that we believe negatively impacted its longterm popularity,” wrote Pachter.
“The smaller jump in graphics this cycle, coupled with a PC-based architecture, should result in a smaller incremental increase in game development spending by the publishers than in prior console cycles,” Pachter added. “Although the PS4 will likely be able to play games at higher frame rates than its predecessors, we believe publishers will be reluctant to significantly increase their development budgets to maximize game frame rates, as the improvement will be largely unnoticed by many gamers.”
Meanwhile, EEDAR vice president Jesse Divnich thinks that Sony was right to take the wraps off their next console months before E3 at their own private event. “It was wise of Sony to announce the hardware and key features early in the year,” he said. “By announcing early and at an isolated event, it allows Sony to capture 100 percent of the attention of gamers, technology enthusiasts, and industry insiders; whereas historical hardware announcements would occur at E3, which often created a mind-share battle between others announcing new technology. Sony’s announcement now gives publishers plenty of time to prepare for E3 and it shifts the focus of the show to the software, which ultimately is what gamers look forward to the most.”
“There are pros and cons to both announcing early and potentially being the first market, but what it comes down to is the current sentiment in the market,” added Divnich. “If the market is vibrant, thriving, and innovation is still occurring, you generally want to abstain from being first to market with a new technology. In our current climate, console sales have stagnated. We’ve squeezed nearly every bit of innovation out of the current platforms and consumer interest in high-definition gaming is waning. Sony’s timing was perfect.”
While many details were revealed, there was no form factor for the PS4 and no precise launch date or price was given. Still, the console is coming this year, and there’s plenty of time and opportunities (like E3) to reveal things like the look and price of the console.
“Sony’s best chance at changing momentum is being first to market,” said Divnich, before adding, “For competitive reasons, I am not surprised that pricing was not discussed. I think Sony learned a valuable lesson with the launch of the PlayStation 3 and I wouldn’t expect the same mistakes to be made next generation. We wouldn’t expect pricing announcements until closer to launch.”