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.

Sony
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.

sony
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.
sony
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.
  • ShikharTechLabs

    RonHewlett
    Thanks for pointing out the mistakes with regards to the editing. In
    all honesty they were typos. We welcome constructive criticism of our
    work and would try to ensure such mistakes are taken care of before a
    post is published in future.

    About the PS4 compatibility
    issue – welcome to 2013 and the  next generation of console gaming. The
    PS4 will not include backwards compatibility but like JosephRodela
    pointed out Sony will be implementing a streaming service that will
    allow gamers like yourself to still be able to play your old favorites.
    Providing BC support is still not an easy task for console makers like Sony, in fact if
    Sony
    were to provide BC support you can easily expect them to price the PS4
    thrice of its current (announced) price. Sony did consider providing BC
    support for the PS3 but with little success and hence totally dropped
    the idea so that the consumers can at least afford a PS3. Let’s face it,
    if gamers want to play games on the PS4, they will buy it, just like
    they bought the PS3 even though they had  the PS2.
    I know a
    lot of people talk about BC being an important issue, but more than 80%
    of gamers I know don’t really go back and play games they have already
    finished, irrespective of how much nostalgia might be associated with
    such games.
    With every generation of game consoles there are some
    tradeoffs that need to be considered. The PS3 didn’t have BC, but you
    could still play some PS2 games in the emulator environment (with
    tradeoffs like graphics and lag). Likewise, the PS4 will not allow BC
    but at least gamers will have the option of streaming their games (with a
    tradeoff like buying a PS3 title they already own). The fact
    remains that the PS3 still did well  despite BC concerns by gamers and
    the same is very likely to happen with the PS4, most people in the world
    (gamers included) like moving forward, all of them will still buy the
    PS4. 
    A number of people who own the PS3 will also buy the PS4
    because irrespective of how much affection they might have for their old
    games, they would still want to play new games.

  • JosephRodela

    RonHewlett to be fair, Playstation is implementing a streaming game service to the PSN that will allow for all back catalog titles for the ps1, ps2 and ps3 digital releases. The current selection of those old school games rocks, $8-10 for FF VII and most other PS1 games , and $10 for just about any Ps2 title. That seems to meet halfway at least in the disappointing non-backwards compatibility.

  • swillermann

    magnesiumk It is always smart to wait for any console. Usually get more for your money plus more games with those launch games at big discounts.
    That being said if you are a early adopter, any issues are always covered. So you do have piece of mind. The customers will be treated well this gen. Big competition plus is their even a need this premium with Steam and smart phone games at a fraction of the price? Consoles just may die if they do not adapt. Let’s hope the $60 10 hour game does.

  • RonHewlett

    I know this is off topic, but since when do the names of corporations get treated as plural subjects in English sentence structure?  “Microsoft HAS…” not “Microsoft HAVE…”.  “If Sony BLINKS…”  not “If Sony BLINK…”.  All that aside, I think Sony is making a big mistake in not building backwards compatibility into all their new PS4 models.  They made the same mistake with PS3 and it ticked a lot of people off, me included.  Now what?  We have to buy a whole new gaming console AND new versions of our games so that Sony and the gaming industry can reap the benefits?  That’s bull.

  • magnesiumk

    People are overlooking these new consoles that are rushed to market so quickly, they haven’t gotten the bugs out of them. A good example would be the first generation PS3 and Xbox 360. To take hardware into consideration. The 4th Generation Iphone 4 also had issues. So, if you are buying a new console, i suggest holding off until we’re sure the bugs are worked out.