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.

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Latest comments (12)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 6 years ago
Well as a consumer, its 100 dollars less I have to spend and that is always a good thing. Especially with a product that is of great quality. It may be cheaper, but it doesnt come off to me as a poorly made product. Cheaper isnt always better. But I think SONY hit the right note between cost and value.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 25th August 2013 1:58am

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Pete Thompson Editor 6 years ago
I've always lived by the saying.. "Buy Cheap, buy twice"... Lets hope this doesn't apply in this case... Interesting to see how many games will require the PS Move camera at launch as I keep reading that a lot of games will require it for a better gaming experience....
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Ken Rosman6 years ago
The packed in game requires the camera, so how is the price 399 not 459?
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Kevin Patterson musician 6 years ago
@ken - If your talking about Playroom, thats not a packed in game, thats a tech demo that you can play with if you have the camera/
It's not a standalone game title.

$100 less is a big deal to me, as I really don't want the Kinect, I wish it was optional. I would love MS to make me desire it and want to own it, but I don't see that happening, at least anytime soon.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 6 years ago
"Historically, we've launched in japan first, so this is a pretty big change for us,"[/quote]

Although Microsoft's XB1 changes have helped keep it more in line with what Sony is doing(which has mostly just been what both are currently doing this gen) Microsoft has lead many of Sony's console business decisions during this gen and now apparently next gen as well.

Current Gen:
-Microsoft is the first console to have a global launch
-Sony(despite already having released two previous consoles in one region at a time) decides to do a global launch

-Microsoft launches with two different priced skus
-Sony(again despite having launched two previous consoles with only one sku) decides to follow suit once again and launch with two skus

Next Gen:

-Microsoft of course launches the XB1 in their strongest markets, including the US and UK(among other countries)
-Sony(for the first time ever) decides not to launch in their homeland of Japan first to better compete with Microsoft in the US

-Microsoft continues charging for online multiplayer
-Sony starts charging for online multiplayer

Sony's strategy is much more reliant on Microsoft's moves than one would initially think. And I of course can't forget this:

"but it's indicative of where gaming has the most heat right now."

What he really means is: "We got our butt kicked in the US this gen, going from first to last place in a single console generation. So we aren't taking any chances this time". Can't really blame him for thinking that way.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 24th August 2013 8:20pm

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Justin Shuard J - E translator 6 years ago
"I've always lived by the saying.. "Buy Cheap, buy twice"... Lets hope this doesn't apply in this case..."


I'd be more worried about that applying to Microsoft than Sony based on past experiences. Hopefully MS can release a console that doesn't have a failure rate of over 50% this time around.
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Richard Pygott Level Designer 6 years ago
The Kinect, after all these years, still has no killer app to demonstrate or justify its existence!

How have MS not been able to get a pack in title with the Xbox One / Kinect to demonstrate and justify its inclusion with every console and to justify the increase price of its rivals?!?

It just doesnt make sense, If MS cant take the lead and demonstrate its potential as a gaming device, how can it expect 3rd party studios to do the same?
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Steve Goldman Journalist. 6 years ago
Actually that has pretty much always been the case
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Bill Garrison Studying Student, DigiPen Institute of Technology6 years ago
Gamecube, nintendo64, dreamcast
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee6 years ago
Gamecube had the best launch price of all time, 130. They actually dropped it from 150 two weeks before launch.

I think we can add WiiU into the lowest price category for the latest set of consoles and there's definitely no guarantee it will go on to be the most successful.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 26th August 2013 2:35pm

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Eyal Teler Programmer 6 years ago
The Wii U competes with the Xbox 360 and PS3, and is definitely not the lowest priced there.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee6 years ago
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had stated that his company would be releasing the Wii U due to declining sales of seventh generation home consoles and that "the market is now waiting for a new proposal for home consoles".

Even if it does seem to cross generations in terms of games or even performance, there's not much doubt Nintendo plan to compete with the Xbox One and PS4 going forward.
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