Research group Baird Equity reckons that the next consoles from Sony and Microsoft will cost about $350 to $400, as the two firms take into consideration the weak state of the games market, while trying to one-up each other. The firm also believes Sony will launch PS4 one month before Microsoft releases the Xbox 720.
Baird employee Colin Sebastian commented on the research in a note to investors:
Given the fragile state of the console game market, we expect the E3 trade show in June will take on added significance, most likely providing the industry with the first public opportunity to examine next-generation hardware.
Our checks suggest that next-generation console hardware will be largely built from ‘off the shelf’ high-end PC components, along with hybrid physical/digital distribution models, enhanced voice controls and motion sensing (Kinect integration with every Xbox), and broad multi-media capabilities.
Moreover, a PC-based architecture (Intel chips in the case of Xbox) should have a number of advantages over custom-developed silicon: for one, the learning curve for software developers will be shorter than completely new technology. Second, the cost of production and retail price points should be lower than prior console launches
Third, it will be easier to build online services around PC chip architecture, including flexible business models (free-to-play, subscriptions) and multi-media (over the top) content offerings. For Microsoft, this design will also allow for more integration with Windows 8 and Windows Mobile devices.
It is believed that many of Sony’s studios are already forging up launch titles such as Killzone 4 for PS4. Microsoft’s 343 Industries is readying up a Halo game, however it’s not confirmed whether it’ll be made in time for launch. We suspect it won’t. Nonetheless, third-party efforts such as the next Call of Duty and Battlefield 4 will be ready at launch, so both firms should rest easy this holiday season, although it seems as if Sony will have the edge because of its vast amount of first-party studios.