Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has boldly claimed that we will see Microsoft's Xbox One on sale for $399, and that Sony's PlayStation 4 will end up being price-competitive at $349.
In a note to investors ahead of E3 next week, Pachter estimated that the costs of production for Sony's next-gen console will come to around $275 per machine, while costs for Xbox One total $325. He adds that he predicts the Xbox One will be sold at a subsidised price to consumers, through cable or ISP subscription contracts. Given the Xbox One's TV angle, it makes sense.
"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," Pachter wrote. "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."
As for Nintendo, Pachter noted that if Nintendo's new console doesn't pick up the pace soon, publishers could leave it in the dust and it will face a greater challenge against Sony and Microsoft when their hardware launches later this year.