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PS4 vs Xbox One: the $100 canyon

Sony and Microsoft have both laid their next-gen cards down at E3 2013, and VG247's Dave Cook is currently considering a switch in his core console as a result. Discussion inside.

On Monday both Sony and Microsoft whipped out their shiny next-generation dicks and displayed them so we in the gaming press could compare sizes. Come Tuesday morning the internet was ablaze with debate.

I've seen scores of gamers now rallying behind PS4 thanks to its lower £349 / $399 price-point, grunting technical specs, open used game policy, a 'let the publisher's decide' approach to used DRM, an almost revolving door policy to indies and an impressive pre-E3 conference in tow.

By comparison Microsoft's showing offered a few tantalising game announcement and trailers such as Titanfall from Respawn, that very lovely Metal Gear Solid 5 trailer and a Halo 5 teaser. It wasn't a bad show from an IP perspective, but one problem continues to linger in the mind.

At £429 / $499 It's quite expensive.

There's a $100 dollar difference between PS4 and Xbox One in the States and while that might seem like a small gap in the grand scheme of things, for many gamers it is a canyon that will ultimately decide their format of choice moving into the next-generation.

The console hobby isn't getting cheaper, even as the volume of free-to-play titles and affordable digital games rises. Here in the UK boxed games are launching at an RRP of £44.99 in many cases, and then there's additional add-ons like online activation codes, DLC expansions and your monthly Xbox Live Gold subscription on top of that. Don't even get me started on the price of some full console games online.

Sure, no one's forcing games to lay down on all of these option extras and I day-in, day-out on this site I see people complaining that people should vote against paid DLC and micro-items by simply not buying it. But here's the reality; some people really get attached to an IP enough - as an honest-to-god fan - that they will pay for more of it, no matter what the extras are.

It's called brand loyalty, and it happens often. I guarantee you all that despite fears surrounding the Xbox One's restrictions and asking price, people will still buy Microsoft's console. It's not because they're mindless peons who are so indoctrinated they'll eat any steaming s**t Steve Ballmer serves up on their plate, no questions asked.

Want to see what happens to me next? Pay for it.

Instead, it's because they love games like Halo. They will buy the new Xbox to continue the Master Chief story in Halo 5. The same goes for Forza, Killer Instinct and to be honest Titanfall looked f**king weapon didn't it? Who are we to hurl barbs at people who are simply enjoying something that they love?

Perhaps these people aren't happy with Xbox One, and if it means seeing a franchise to its end then maybe they're happy to tolerate the issues at hand for now. But again that $100 difference is causing people to shift sides, among other things.

If rumours are to be believed then the price of games might also increase, and yes, I'm aware that games today are as as expensive as they have been at various other points in history. Regardless it's still getting more expensive to be a console gamer, and if we're to pay a pre-owned activation fee for Xbox One titles then that cost will surely rise.

At present, no publisher has stepped forward and openly admitted that it's going to adopt the activation fee, but rest assured whichever company does it first is going to have an online shitstorm to quell.

The point is that today, even Sony has started charging for use of its online mulitplayer service, and it's indicative of an industry that will now look at every possible way to make you pay more for the things you love. It's nothing personal, it's just business, because that's what a large part of this industry is about; making money.

For me personally, I play both PS3 and Xbox 360 today and I will play PS4 and Xbox One going into next-gen. I mean, I kind of have to in order to do this job, but right now Xbox 360 is my most-used machine as it's the one most of my mates play with online.

From what I'm hearing this week I think that will change in the next-generation. They're mostly pre-ordering PS4 right now, so I may have to make a switch in my core console in order to keep up with them.

So back then to the $100 question; Will Sony make a loss on PS4's generous pricing, and if so, will it use paid-for multiplayer as a way to recoup that money? On the other side, has Microsoft actually priced Xbox One correctly so this loss doesn't happen? Has it actually got the number right, or is the company just pushing its luck?

Over to you folks.

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About the Author
Dave Cook avatar

Dave Cook


Dave worked on VG247 for an extended period manging much of the site's news output. As well as his experience in games media, he writes for comics, and now specializes in books about gaming history.