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Sony chose not to pre-package camera with PS4 to lower price, decision comes with consequences

26 June 2013

Over the past several weeks, the PlayStation 4 has received considerable praise because of its $399 price point, a cozy $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. Multiple sources indicate, however, that the lower price tag came at a large cost: Sony had originally intended to include the PlayStation 4 camera (formerly known as the PlayStation 4 Eye) with every console, just as Microsoft has done by integrating the ever-watching Kinect with the One. This move by Sony was made quietly, informing retailers of the removal of the device without hinting at a lower price, thereby giving it a chance to undercut Microsoft with a considerably lower base price for the PlayStation 4.

Although many consumers are willing to sacrifice the camera for a cheaper console, the decision came with some pretty serious implications for the DualShock 4's new, built-in LED Move tracker, rendering it prone to potentially less attention from developers. 

As IGN reasons, in the past, hardware like the PlayStation Eye and Kinect only received a fraction of the attention developers put towards traditional releases. Why? Because the hardware had to be purchased separately, and therefore the audience for Kinect and Move games was considerably smaller than the market for the traditional controller-based titles. Moving forward into the next generation, Sony and Microsoft had the equal chance to end this disparity, prepackaging the additional hardware with its consoles and merging the motion-based and traditional video game market into one. It would appear that only Microsoft took this leap.

As a $59.99 accessory to the PS4, the PlayStation 4 camera will depend upon developers who are willing to risk releasing titles for a drastically smaller audience and Sony's ability to demonstrate the high-quality nature of the software it provides for the camera--a demonstration that can only be appreciated by those who already own one.

The LED Move tracker, without the camera, will solely serve by blinking red when low on health in certain games and indicating the user associated with each controller. Thankfully, IGN speculates that there is no major concern that this will hinder battery life, but the potential for unified hardware may be something of a dream for developers looking into creating Move-based games. Of course, Sony's ten-year plan for the PlayStation 4 has endless implications for how this decision could be mended in the future, and what can be demonstrated to convince gamers to pay the additional $59.99 for the camera.

Thankfully, Sony can still say 'Even if you buy the camera, the PS4 is still roughly $39.99 cheaper than the Xbox One.'

What are your thoughts on this news? Would you have preferred Sony prepackage the camera with the PlayStation 4, or are you pleased that they opted to make them separate purchases for the sake of a more affordable unit? Let us know in the comments section below.

Steven Chaffin, Jr. is an American editor for PlayStation Universe. You can find more of his work on his blog, and by following him on Twitter @steven_chaffin.

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