Today the news broke of the PS3 price drop, and immediately following, rumors spread and questions flew about when Microsoft’s Xbox 360 price drop would hit. According to an analyst with EEDAR, the Xbox 360 price drop will happen within a week.
That’s right, the Xbox 360 price drop will no longer be rumor or speculation seven days from now, says EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich. Instead, the Xbox 360 price drop will be reality within one week’s time — and maybe within the current week.
For more on the Xbox 360 price drop — which to be clear, has not been confirmed by Microsoft — we’ve pasted below the complete commentary from Divnich. But if Divnich’s analysis and inside information is accurate, the Xbox 360 price drop is going to make the gaming landscape a whole lot more interesting this holiday season and into next year.
We have added emphasis below to those sections that we believe you’ll be most interested in hearing.
“EEDAR is pleased to see that the PlayStation 3 has finally dropped in price. The new PlayStation 3 pricing scheme finally makes the Sony console a much more competitive product, relative to its closest rival, the Xbox 360. In terms of value, the PlayStation 3 is a superior hardware product in comparison to the Xbox 360; however, this is not to suggest that hardware sales will suddenly shift to Sony’s favor — a superior hardware system is only one variable in the equation for next-generation success. Nevertheless, the PlayStation 3 price cut will act as a positive catalyst that will close the sales gap between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This price drop also places the PlayStation 3 at a competitive price to the Wii (retail MSRP $249). While the target audience for the two platforms varies greatly, some consumers will face a tough decision to purchase the Wii with outdated processing power or the PlayStation 3 with a built-in Blu-Ray player. However, the market size of those actually debating between a PlayStation 3 and a Nintendo Wii is relatively small.
“Additionally, we do expect Microsoft to make an official announcement, in the next week, regarding the elimination of the Xbox 360 Pro SKU (retail MSRP $299) and the reduction in the Elite SKU pricing to $299. However, we just consider this a pseudo price drop. It is no different from Lexus introducing their 2010 models at the 2009 prices and clearing out their 2009 inventories. Sure, there is a better value, in comparison to the 2009 models, but a consumer still needs to be in the market for a luxury car to reap the benefits. A consumer shopping for an entry-level sedan will not suddenly upgrade to a Lexus just because the 2010 models have been released. EEDAR does expect the Xbox 360 to get a small boost in sales in the short-term, but considers any Xbox 360 sales lift to be a positive byproduct from additional marketing and retail circular placements.
“As a cautionary note, since we do not know the full extent of the upcoming Xbox 360 promotion, there is a possibility that one of the systems could have a larger hard-drive at the $299 price. EEDAR, however, does not believe any disparity in hard-drive size will make a noticeable difference in how consumers value each product. Most consumers would not be able to tell you the true difference between a 120GB hard-drive and an 80GB hard-drive in terms of movie/music/game capacity.
“Additionally, EEDAR does not expect these price cuts to increase software sales significantly through the holiday season. Even if the price cuts from both systems increase hardware sales by over 1 million units through the next six months, that would likely add an additional $200 million to the software bucket and would only increase 2009 sales by about 2% over current trend; hardly a significant boost. The true benefit to software sales from a hardware price cut are typically realized in the long-term, over the short-term.
The Holiday Showdown
“In the past, declaring which console was truly ‘a better value’ was difficult due to the disparity in pricing, but given that both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 will share a similar pricing structure this holiday season, the sales results will answer the crucial question: ‘which console is a better value to consumers?’ Few will argue against the common belief that the PlayStation 3 has superior hardware and multi-media capabilities; while the Xbox 360 has a deeper software library and superior online services. Consumers, through their purchases this holiday season, will send a clear message to the gaming community. This is truly a Hardware vs. Software showdown.
A New Standard
The $299 price point will likely become the new standard for the next-generation consoles for the next year. Both Sony and Microsoft are acting like 12th round boxers, so exhausted (in this case, financially exhausted) over the three year battle for next-generation supremacy, that neither are likely to deviate from the $299 price point for some time. It is possible that both consoles may reach a $249 price point 12 months from now, but that will likely be the lowest prices will get in the next two years. Going forward, both console manufacturers will focus more on delivering differentiating products and services to increase the value of their consoles. Both will continue to increase the size of their hard-drives and likely add additional hardware and software features to appeal to consumers. It would not be out of the realm of possibility for Microsoft to include Project Natal as a standard attachment with all Xbox 360 systems in 2011. The same goes for Sony’s new motion controller that is currently in development.“