Microsoft has finally revealed pricing on the upcoming Xbox One – a steep $499. The price for Microsoft’s next generation gaming media/entertainment console is higher than most analysts had anticipated. The current Xbox runs at $299, and the thought was that Microsoft would price the Xbox One between $300-400.
Meanwhile, Sony has released pricing on the Playstation 4 – a more modest $399.
For Sony, the $100 price difference should be a tremendous incentive for gamers to at least consider the Playstation 4. Also, Sony has announced that it would not have any restrictions on pre-owned games, nor would it require users to regularly authenticate their machines via the internet to allow games to continue to be played. That is in contrast to Microsoft, which has introduced limitations on who consumers can buy second-hand titles from and is going to require a user to connect to the Internet once every 24-hours to play on the Xbox One.
The price point set by Microsoft makes the Xbox a premium piece of electronics – and the early adopters will likely only be hardcore gamers. This goes against the goals of Microsoft, who is trying to woo casual gamers and techies by making the Xbox One more than a game console. In fact, Microsoft seems to know that the Xbox can’t survive simply as a gaming console – which makes the steep price a bit of a head scratcher. We had expected Microsoft to be willing to take a lose of the hardware in order to gain market share. Instead, Sony gets a bit of a gift as the battle for gamers re-ignites with the release of the new consoles.
In addition to pricing, Microsoft did reveal some exclusive game titles to go with the Xbox One, including ‘Minecraft’ and a new ‘Halo’ game. Both will be released in 2014. Among the exclusive titles introduced for the PS4 was ‘The Order: 1886’, a steampunk-styled shooter set in the 19th century.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.