Cheaper Xbox One In 2014? Is This A Sign Of Panic?
Normally, you don't start talking about price drops until long after a system launches.
Of course, that's assuming the system in question is relatively successful. If it isn't, if the product isn't really hitting internal sales numbers, you're more likely to see a price cut.
If the product is struggling, though, it's usually the first thing the manufacturer wants to do: Look at the last few handhelds (3DS and Vita); Nintendo and Sony really had to give consumers a price drop so each portable would be more attractive. It worked out very well for the 3DS, but the Vita is still struggling. The point is that if a system is selling, if it's doing what the manufacturer expected, there's no reason to drop the price. They've got that price worked into long-term plans.
Now, we're hearing rumors that Microsoft will produce a cheaper Xbox One, and it'll happen this year. That isn't confirmed, obviously, but what if it's true? I'm willing to bet that MS never expected to be significantly behind the PlayStation 4 right out of the gate. Hell, I bet the company didn't think they'd almost immediately lose the lead they'd spent years building. We've got a long ways to go, of course, but many analysts are saying the Xbox One's biggest problem is its price.
We also see a new promotion that makes the new Xbox only $399. It seems clear that Microsoft is actively seeking ways to make the console more appealing, and first on the agenda is to lower the price. To me, this is an early sign of panic. And I don't mean "panic" in the most literal sense; it's not like the Xbox One is going to fail. Nobody believes that. But Microsoft thinking about price cuts a mere two months after their latest and greatest launches...? That's telling, I say.
1/31/2014 Ben Dutka