Okay, so Michael Pachter is, by his own admission, frequently wrong — this is the guy who once said that the Xbox 360 and PS3 would be the final generation of consoles, and that the PSP would outsell the iPod and that Sony would be bigger than Apple — but his latest round of predictions regarding the launches of the Xbox One and PS4 seem pretty plausible.
According to Pachter, the Xbox One will launch at $399, a price which he says “makes sense given that the Xbox 360 Pro debuted at that price point in November 2005.” Pachter also believes that Microsoft might subsidize the Xbox One’s price by offering the system at a lower price to customers who sign a multi-year subscription contact for Xbox Live. It wouldn’t be the first time that Microsoft has tried that strategy — the company previously sold 360/Kinect bundles for $99 to customers who signed up for two years of XBL.
Pachter expects that PS4 will launch at the slightly lower price of $349, since Sony is still blaming the PS3’s incredibly high launch price of $599 for the system’s first few years of lackluster sales. Again, a lower price point for the PS4 wouldn’t be surprising, considering a number of Sony executives have openly admitted that the PS3’s initial premium pricing was a big mistake.
Pachter also predicts that the Xbox 360, PS3, and original Wii will all get some substantial price cuts within the year, which again, just sounds like common sense considering their generation is at an end. He also thinks the Wii U and the PS Vita will also get price drops (or value-priced bundle packages,) which again wouldn’t be particularly surprising, considering that neither system has been selling particularly well.
Sure, Pachter’s predictions are often about as accurate as Harold Camping’s doomsday prophecies, but all of his statements about the next-gen consoles’ pricing seems like simple common sense: Microsoft experienced a lot of success with the Xbox 360’s $399 launch price so I doubt they’ll go higher than that, and Sony learned the hard way that being more expensive isn’t better, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to under-cut the Xbox One’s price as well. Of course, any info about the Xbox One or PS4’s pricing is pure speculation at this point, and I don’t think Microsoft or Sony will give us a final price for either system until sometime after E3.
UPDATE – Pachter was wrong. Again.
I doubt the PS4 will be less expensive than the Xbox One. Perhaps the same price, but not less. Just because Sony charged way too much for the PS3 doesn’t mean they’re just going to give the PS4’s away. So I think Pachter is wrong on this point.
I think it’s also worth mentioning the fact that both systems will likely have a cheaper, subsidized console to purchase as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if either the PS4 or Xbox One came out with a $250 console that required a two-year subscription to PSN or Xbox Live. People are willing to pay more if it means paying a little bit less at a time.
Aside from that, I think $400 is right on the money for the “standard” edition of both consoles.