Tretton: "The lowest priced system isn't always successful"
SCEA boss plays down the importance of PlayStation 4's price advantage
Sony's Jack Tretton doesn't believe that the PlayStation 4's price will be decisive in the outcome of the next generation, arguing that there are more important factors at play in winning over the consumer.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the SCEA president claimed that the PS4's one million global pre-orders represent "just a fraction" of the actual demand for the console. However, while Tretton believes that its release in November this year will be the biggest launch in Sony Computer Entertainment's history, the $399/€399/£349 will not be the deciding factor in who emerges as the victor.
"Obviously you'd like your competitor at a higher price than a lower price, and I've lived on both sides of that spectrum," he said. "I think, ultimately, the gamer looks at 10-year product life-cycles, they look at the software offerings, they look at the value proposition. The lowest priced system isn't always successful."
The Xbox One will retail for $499/€499/£429, and the gulf between its prices and those of its rival is widely seen as the most significant competitive difference that remains following Microsoft's various policy amendments. Public perception of Xbox One has improved dramatically in recent weeks, and Gamescom has been largely positive for Microsoft: it detailed its policies around indie self-publishing, announced a deal that will see FIFA 14 bundled for free with Xbox One pre-orders, and the exclusive Titanfall looks likely to be the most admired game at the show - just as it was at E3.
Certainly, Sony is clear about where the battle-lines have been drawn, shifting its focus away from its home territory - where PlayStation platforms have traditionally launched first - and towards Xbox strongholds in North America and Europe.
"[PlayStation 4's launch in] Japan is to be determined," Tretton said. "It's obviously a really important market for us - it's the home market - but the battle for next generation hearts and minds is being waged in the west right now.
"Historically, we've launched in japan first, so this is a pretty big change for us, but it's indicative of where gaming has the most heat right now."
To read Rob Fahey's take on the new state of play, click here.