When Microsoft hits the market with the Xbox One in November, its US$499 price point is going to stand out against Sony’s PS4 at US$399 and a deluxe Wii U bundle at US$299. Fans of the Xbox console franchise will argue that it’s worthy of a premium. They’ll say the Wii U is for kids. They’ll point out that the PS4 was able to undercut Microsoft’s machine by leaving out the motion-sensing camera that’s included with the Xbox One. That may all be true, but history hasn’t been kind to the higher-priced console. That was the PS3's role last round, and Sony’s market leadership position in this country suffered as a result of initially pricing its machine at least US$100 higher than the competition.
Microsoft probably thought it had this generation in the bag when it announced its pricing and release strategy in kicking off the annual E3 gaming powwow back in June. It couldn’t have imagined that Sony would turn heads a day later by unveiling a lower price for its PS4 and taking shots at the Xbox One’s restrictive ways.