Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) have got a head start over Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) when it comes to the launch of the next generation console. The PS4 will enter the market exactly one week before the Xbox One.

Microsoft have finally announced the launch of the Xbox One on November 22, which is exactly a week after Sony’s PS4 launch. This begs the question, couldn’t they have launched a week before? After all, a one week head start could prove costly to Xbox One sales, just in case the PS4 lives up to its billing and demolishes all previous generation first week console sales records. To make matters worst for Microsoft, the PS4 is also priced a good $100 less than the Xbox One.

The PS4 at E3.

The stakes have never been higher in the multi-billion dollar game console market. While both parties have had massive media coverage over the past year or so, the build up to the launch of the two most anticipated consoles ever has turned ugly. Microsoft have had their share of DRM troubles (as usual) and when they announced the Xbox One prices and features at E3 earlier this year, Sony cashed in on all the negative PR they generated by announcing the restrictions on used games and didn’t mind taking potshots at Microsoft. In fact they went one step better, by pricing the PS4 exactly a $100 less than the Xbox One.

The Xbox One is priced $499 at launch while the PS4 is priced $399 at launch.

The Xbox One supporters continue to justify the higher price by saying that Microsoft’s console comes bundled with the motion sensing camera and Sony’s doesn’t. That is a valid point but the fact remains that gamers are more concerned about games than features such as a motion sensor. Perhaps, the people looking for a complete home entertainment system might be more interested in checking out Microsoft’s motion sensing technology.

The Xbox One.

But let’s not forget the other side of the coin. Microsoft might actually gain from launching the Xbox One, a week later. What happens if the early reviews for the PS4 aren’t as exciting as expected? If Sony blink in the first week, the Xbox One sales might head for the clouds, simply because the word of the mouth is the most powerful medium in this social media age.

Microsoft could have capitalized on the launch of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, which is simply put – the biggest game release of the season. The game releases on November 5, and if the Xbox One was around, it could have definitely cashed in. But all is not lost for Microsoft because the Xbox One will be coming just in time for the holidays.

Nintendo Co., Ltd (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) which tried to beat Microsoft and Sony at their own game by launching the Nintendo Wii U, a year earlier than its rival consoles, and have suffered from the lack of third party publisher support for the Wii U, are also looking to launch a number of titles this holiday season. Just last week they resorted to a dramatic price cut strategy for the Wii U and announced the launch of the Nintendo 2DS, a strange looking console for the eight year old gamer.
The Nintendo Wii U has few takers right now.
The Wii U is now priced at $299, which means a $100 less than the Sony console and a cool $200 less than the Microsoft offering. But the fact remains that Nintendo are not competing with either Sony or Microsoft, rather they just want to achieve a reasonable degree of sales before the two console gaming behemoths storm the market.
At the moment Sony seems to have played all its cards right and is best placed among all three to tilt the consumer interest towards itself, to cut the long story short Sony start as favorites.
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