Today IGN ran an article claiming that it had gotten insider information claiming Sony got rid of the PS4 Camera to beat Microsoft at price and, with a negative tone, the article tried to paint the move as a bad thing. One could argue that the PS4 Eye would bring some great gaming experiences to the console, and because Sony decided not to include the peripheral as part of the PS4 offering, all hopes are now gone. But that’s not entirely true, as Sony is now selling it as a standalone item, and if a killer app comes out, people will flock to it. Sony could afford to drop the PS4 Camera from the overall package as its features, though integrated into the new console, are not essential for its success. And that’s exactly what the electronics giant did.
Because of this Sony is now the leader when it comes to competitive pricing, as the PS4 is a full $100 cheaper than Xbox One, and the preorder numbers are proving to be above and beyond what Sony expected. In fact the IGN article says Sony told retailers that it would no longer include the PS4 Camera with the console “months” before its reveal, but didn’t make mention of a price reduction, not wanting to tip off Microsoft.
So it’s obvious that Sony’s seeing success – but what about Microsoft? After digging itself out of the abyss by forfeiting most of Xbox One’s restrictive DRM, the software giant still face another mountain, one I’m not sure it’s able to climb. I’m referring to Kinect, every Xbox One comes bundles with one, and Microsoft has said that it’s a intricate part of their console – and they’re right! Xbox One was built around being always-connected to the internet and deep Kinect integration, and while Microsoft was able to get rid of the former, the latter proves to be more difficult – if not impossible.
“Xbox on”, a Microsoft rep yelled at the console’s May 21st reveal, “Xbox watch TV”, he added, boasting up the console’s new voice recognition feature made possible by Kinect. But that’s not all, Kinect is so deeply integrated into the console that it never goes offline and listens for cues to know when you’re around, and when you’re giving a command. Kinect is always watching, always listening and always connected. Getting rid of such features would turn the console into Xbox 180, ironically, a moniker Xbox One gained after Microsoft’s epic backtracking.
You see, contrary to what many think, Kinect wasn’t integrated into Xbox One to bring ground-breaking gaming experiences, the device was included to make Xbox One better, more intuitive and more responsive. Microsoft wagered that Sony too would include the PS4 Camera with the console, therefore pricing would be equal and no one would have the edge. But Sony had different plans, and while removing the PS Eye out of the package will not cost Sony much, forfeiting Kinect would be a disaster for Microsoft and, more pointedly, for Xbox One.
So the console will be sold for $499 until Microsoft can afford a price cut, something I believe will happen sometime next year. In the meantime however, with more powerful hardware, a big exclusive roster and most importantly a cheaper price, Sony and its PS4 are well position to dominate this holiday season.