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Pachter: PlayStation 4 to sell for $349, Xbox One $399

Bill of materials for new hardware $275 - $325; subsidised Xbox One likely

Investment firm Wedbush Morgan has suggested the PlayStation 4 will retail in the US for $349, significantly lower than the PS3's starting price of $599.

In an E3 preview note to investors Michael Pachter, analyst at the company, estimates that the PlayStation 4 has a bill of materials at around $275, while Microsoft's Xbox One costs around $325. As such, Wedbush is expecting the new Microsoft console to cost $399.

"If the Wii U's popularity does not improve by the end of the year, many third-party publishers may pass on producing games for the console"

But while Microsoft's new hardware may be priced higher initially, it's also more likely to be available at a subsidised price to the consumer through a subscription contract from a broadcast, cable or ISP provider.

"We believe the ability to watch live TV from a cable, telco, or satellite set-top box through Xbox One could entice an MSO to drive subscriptions through a subsidised box in exchange for a multi-year contract. The 'always connected' requirement for the Xbox One likely means that a broadband connection will be required, suggesting to us that ISPs may have an incentive to offer a subsidy as well.

"In addition, Microsoft could conceivably subsidise the Xbox One through prepaid Xbox Live Gold subscriptions (as it has done on a limited basis in the past) or premium Skype functionality as well. Similarly, Sony could subsidise the PS4 through prepaid PlayStation Network subscriptions, but unlike Microsoft, it does not have a history of doing so," he added.

Looking at Nintendo, Pachter suggested the company needs to prove to consumers at E3 that it has an enviable line-up of titles for the rest of the year.

"Nintendo risks losing additional share to its console competitors if the quality and volume of content available for Wii U does not pick up markedly in the near-term.

"In addition, if the Wii U's popularity does not improve by the end of the year, many third-party publishers may pass on producing games for the console. We note that EA recently announced that it had no Wii U games in development, and it remains a possibility that the publisher will abandon the platform entirely. Should other third parties follow EA's lead, the Wii U could be relegated to a first party only platform."

While all eyes will be on the new console generation, Wedbush Morgan is also expecting a round of price cuts on the current generation technology. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are likely to have another $50 shaved off their prices, with the Wii dropping to $99. As well as a Vita price cut from Sony, there's also the possibility that Nintendo will try and boost Wii U sales with a $50 price cut or new software bundle.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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