Whether it's the latest iPhone, a new HDTV or a flashy Mini Cooper S, anything shiny and fresh off the shelves comes with a price. With Smartphones costing up to £600-900 over the life of the 24 month contract, is £349.00 for a state-of-the-art-console with a five-six-year lifecycle, 500GB HDD, 8GB Ram, Blu-ray player and a bespoke designed processor really a lot to pay?
Throw your memory back to the launch of the original PlayStation. Remember the iconic marketing phase, “Never underestimate the power of PlayStation,” or “…and conquer worlds”? PSOne launched at, what seems a bargain in today’s money, £299.00. However that’s 1995, an epic 18 years ago. In today’s money using the Retail Price Index that would be £448.00 (rising to £528.00 if taking into account average earning increases). So with this in mind, is £349.00 a lot to pay for a new generation console? Personally, my money’s already saved and waiting.
The Gadget Shows Jason Bradbury (an absolute Legend by the way) Tweeted a few days ago, “If anyone can spec a PC to Xbox One standards for under £500 I’d be interested to c it,” and while I agree it would be interesting, is a PC with Xbox One or PS4 specs a direct comparison? I don’t think so. Having all the right components is only half the job. How they fit together/communicate with each other is a big factor as well as how the UI integrates and complements the hardware.
Although based on PC technology i.e. processors, graphics cards etc, a console is a completely different beast and offers a different angle to gaming than a high end PC does. Architecturally the modern console has a fixed and embedded gaming engine while having a virtual user interface enabling amazing rendered graphics but still being able to run applications like Netflix and VidZone.
I suppose this comes down to a few factors. It’s a case of want vs. need, desire vs. practicality I suppose. If you are an early adopter who “needs” the cutting-edge in modern gaming then you would possibly pay more, like in the days of the PS3 launch. If you want a new console but feel your current-generation machine fills your gaming and entertainment void then you’ll probably wait and have a second peek a few months down the line. Personally I’ll be taking into consideration how much added value I get from a new generational leap in electronic entertainment. I feel a ‘new-gen’ console will add a value proposition to my TV (i.e. now almost becoming a “Smart TV”) continuing to serve me as a Blue-ray player and catch-up TV supplier, it adds value to my entertainment world with Netflix and no doubt a few new applications. It will smarten up my smartphone with the PlayStation App, as well as re-invigorating my PS Vita. Remote play is set to enable you to play games from your PS4 to your Vita; it’s these kind of features that really get my attention.
PS+ also now gives us a new angle. I’ve already downloaded £500+ worth of digital content for my PS3 and PS Vita (Dead or Alive 5, Hit Man Absolution, littleBigPlanet 2, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush and more recently Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, God of War HD collection and MotorStorm Apocalypse. Also Battlefield 3 coming July too). On the PS4 the ability to play online multiplayer will be chargeable via PS+; however my above statement makes it clear that I feel the PS+ service is amazingly good value AND on the PS4 a PS+ version of #DriveClub will be available at launch, so who wants a 1st party title free with your new console?...Yeah, me too.
Shying away from all the super positive for a paragraph there is a small niggling in the PlayStation 4 message -- this being the absence of the PS camera in the PS4 bundles. At around £44 the PS camera will offer new augmented reality games and added functions to the PS4 including DualShock4 tracking, voice commands and software titles such as “Play Room” which is looking decisively cute and highly addictive. But is this leaving Sony with the ability to rake in a few more coins in via peripheral sales? I feel not – I’m betting a few of the Xbox One consumers are wishing that £50 could be knocked off their intended purchase were it only for the Kinect 2.0 to be missing from the bundle. If asked, I’m betting that a high percentage would be more likely to have a £50 software purchase (of choice) than being forced to have a piece of occasional hardware.
So let’s come full circle. I/we paid £425.99 for the PS3, were being asked to pay £449.99 (£500+ including software) for the Xbox One and a little under 16 years since the £299.99 PS One we’re only being asked to pay an extra £49.99 (£349.99 for a true ‘Next Gen’ machine). With DriveClub thrown in I’d say that’s pretty much deal of the century.
PS4 is due for release in holiday 2013. Have you got your pre-order in yet?