Analyst Colin Sebastian reckons Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles will hit shelves for $350-$400.
Sebastian’s estimate comes following off-the-record meetings with “a number of companies” at CES last week, which peg the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 at around the $400 mark.
Unsurprisingly, the Baird Equity Research analyst also expects June’s E3 event to play host to the first proper showing of the new platforms.
"Given the fragile state of the console game market, we expect the E3 trade show in June will take on added significance, most likely providing the industry with the first public opportunity to examine next-generation hardware," said Sebastian.
"Our checks suggest that next-generation console hardware will be largely built from 'off the shelf' high-end PC components, along with hybrid physical/digital distribution models, enhanced voice controls and motion sensing (Kinect integration with every Xbox), and broad multi-media capabilities," he added.
"Moreover, a PC-based architecture (Intel chips in the case of Xbox) should have a number of advantages over custom-developed silicon: for one, the learning curve for software developers will be shorter than completely new technology.
"Second, the cost of production and retail price points should be lower than prior console launches.”
"Third, it will be easier to build online services around PC chip architecture, including flexible business models (free-to-play, subscriptions) and multi-media (over the top) content offerings. For Microsoft, this design will also allow for more integration with Windows 8 and Windows Mobile devices."
Sony caused quite an uproar back in 2006 when it launched the premium PlayStation 3 in the U.S. for $599. Xbox 360 meanwhile released a year earlier for $400, though reports indicate that Sony’s machine has surpassed its rival in global shipments as of Dec. 2012.
Sebastian added that Xbox 720 is likely to be released this November, while PS4 will turn up slightly later due to "early production issues."
Stay tuned for more news on PS4 as we get it.