After 7 long years, the next round in the console wars has arrived with Sony's (SNE) PS4 hitting shelves today and Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox One coming out next week. As Michael Pachter of Wedbush sees it, Sony has the edge coming out of the gate thanks to its $100 lower price point.
In the attached video, Pachter notes that Sony was late to market and priced higher than the Xbox 360 when it came out in 2006; two mistakes Sony seems determined not to make this time. Mission accomplished in terms of getting to market first and cheaper, but there's more to the story in terms of Sony winning over the masses.
Related: Game Over: Dan Loeb Wins Console Wars
The Xbox One costs more because of its motion-detecting Kinect add-on. In demos Microsoft hypes the Kinect as a way to realize the dream of controlling your TV through hand motions. That's silly. There's nothing wrong with remote-control technology. No one really needs to change channels by waving their hand as opposed to moving their thumb. The Kinect isn't for changing channels. The Kinect is a personal trainer. It's a link between gaming and physical activity.
Would you pay $100 for a console if it could change your kid from doughboy to jock? Microsoft has 24-million reasons to think you will.
The Forgotten Kinect Revolution
It's easy to forget that Nintendo's (NTDOY) Wii easily outsold the PS3 and Xbox360 for the first few years after release. In fact the Wii easily outsold both consoles overall before it was discontinued, and did so despite inferior graphics and a line-up of games centered around a 30-year old ethnic stereotype in the form of Mario. The key was that the Wii made your kid move. "I'm not enabling a couch potato," dads everywhere exalted, "I'm tricking the kids into exercising!"
The Kinect wasn't released until late 2010, a full 5 years after the Xbox 360. Reviews were gushing. Writing in the New York Times now, Yahoo tech guru David Pogue gushed that "Kinect's astonishing technology creates a completely new activity that's social, age-spanning, and even athletic."
Reviewers weren't the only ones losing their minds. Despite being priced $149 when the base unit Xbox 360 had already been marked down to $199, the Kinect went on to sell 24-million units and pushed the Xbox 360 ahead of both the Wii and PS3 in consoles units sold for 2011 and 2012. Wanna win a bar bet? Ask someone to name the fastest selling consumer electronic device in history. It's not the iPhone or iPad, but the Kinect which sold 8-million units in its first 60 days on sale.
The Xbox One's Kinect makes the original look primitive. It's going to take a few months for them to get to market, but game developers are working overtime on software that will incorporate motion capture technology in a comprehensive way. Microsoft is meeting the challenge of mobile gaming by setting gamers in motion. Sony is offering souped-up graphics and a $100 discount. There's no competition.
For years consoles have been selling games with increasingly realistic and muscular athletes controlled by ever-fatter children. The Xbox One is the first game console in history where mastery will require gamers to move their entire bodies. It's literally a game changer. The PS4 is just a cool toy.
Game over, man.
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