Microsoft has done a massive u-turn with its Internet 24 hour check in, and game sharing policy after reactions from the general public. However, it would be ignorant to believe Microsoft’s actions are reactionary as opposed to something pre-planned or at least signs they had a contingency for the expected consumer outcry. Well until E3, no one knew the pricing of the Xbox One or PS4 and it was a guessing game to suggest what prices the two consoles would hit the market. Sony’s PS3 was initially very highly priced, and Microsoft has in the past had to deal with stepping into market with a too high a priced product (the original Xbox). The $499 and $399 pricing seemed about right, but the gap of $100 between the two is perhaps too great for Microsoft to be competitive against a rival product offering similar services and features.
In light of today’s announcements and the clear fact that Sony has gained popularity simply by offering a machine $100 cheaper, could Microsoft aggressively counter this price by not necessarily going lower, but by matching it?
Within a week or so, the DRM, Internet check in restrictions for Xbox One will be a thing of the past, but the pricing will still be a hot topic looming over the console’s future. There are s0lid financial reasons for gamers to choose a PS4 over Xbox One at the moment especially as nothing has been shown of Kinect which has upped the starting price of the console. With Microsoft acting aggressively in the market, and showing commendable signs of flexibility, an evenly matched console (including the Kinect camera) becomes a far more interesting prospect and perhaps enough to sway deserters and some newcomers into the fold.
The ball is very much in Microsoft’s court right now, but today of all days seems to have had impacts for both companies. Sony was quite smug during the E3 presentation, and yet now that Microsoft has changed its policy, the gap between the two is far less and the competition is heating up. With both companies vying for consumer interest and spending come November, it will be interesting to see how both adapt to each other.