Yesterday, both Microsoft and Sony finally revealed the launch prices of their next generation video game consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, respectively.
Microsoft moved first and announced that the Xbox One would make its debut for $499, exceeding the launch price of its predecessor by a substantial $199 and matching the launch price of the notoriously expensive PlayStation 3. When the news of the new Xbox's hefty price tag broke, there might have been some audible cheers in Sony's headquarters in Tokyo. Because hours later, Sony took the stage at E3 to announce an opening price of $399 for the PlayStation 4, dealing a major blow to Microsoft in the first round of the next-generation console wars.
After Microsoft had initially impressed many with the Xbox One's extensive entertainment features, yesterday's events appear to have turned the momentum back in Sony's favor. Not only did Sony manage to undercut the Xbox's price by $100, but the company also masterfully exploited the Xbox's most apparent weaknesses, namely its restrictions on used games and its online requirements. Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, was obviously enjoying himself when he announced that the PlayStation 4 would be free of the limitations Microsoft had previously disgruntled gamers with. Sony even published a fake instruction video on how to play used games on PS4, openly mocking the new Xbox's most criticized feature.
With a significantly lower price tag, no used game restrictions and no always-on requirements the region-free PlayStation 4 will be the console to beat as the battle for the living room continues.