2013 definitely feels like the year of the next-gen console, with Microsoft and Sony both said to be prepping their next consoles for reveal (and possible release) this year. After spending some time at CES talking to game developers and distributors, analyst Colin Sebastian of Baird Equity Research is ready to predict a price point for these incoming consoles, saying in a note to investors today that both should launch with a price tag of $350-$400 here in the US. That includes the next PlayStation, remember, which is a far cry from the $499 and $599 price points its predecessor launched at.
Sebastian goes on to make a number of other predictions in his note, saying that both consoles will be revealed before E3 and that the video game trade show will be our first chance to check out the new hardware. That seems pretty obvious given Microsoft’s countdown clock to E3, but it’s an important point to make, as Sebastian says E3 reveals pave the way for the next PlayStation to launch in October and the next Xbox to launch in November.
Even better is his prediction that both consoles will be built around “‘off the shelf’ high-end PC components.” By building these next-gen consoles from PC components rather than developing their own hardware, Microsoft and Sony will ultimately do two things: keep costs down and make their consoles much easier for developers to pick up. Instead of rough learning curves and long development times, studios will be able to get right to work on their next-gen games since many of them will already be familiar with the PC hardware used in the next Xbox and PlayStation.
This will also make it easier to offer MMO and free-to-play games on the systems, while opening them up to a level of higher integration with all of our devices – a major point Microsoft should pay attention to, considering it seems very eager to connect our Xboxes to Windows Phone and Windows OS. We’ll have to wait and see if Sebastian is right, but his predictions don’t sound absurd in the least. We’re thinking that new consoles are on the way this year too, and we should know what is precisely going on by the time E3 rolls around in June. Stay tuned.