With the Xbox One and PS4 set to bring a raft of new multimedia capabilities to their gaming foundations, a leading retailer has suggested Microsoft and Sony risk ‘alienating core gamers’ with their next-gen consoles.
Focussing as heavily on becoming fully fledged home entertainment devices as much as next-gen gamers, high street giant John Lewis has hinted “both Sony and Microsoft need to be careful” in order to keep their base, gaming clientele on board.
“When it comes to launching new products as all-encompassing entertainment devices, rather than strictly gaming consoles,
He added: “This audience will be the first to buy the new PS4 or Xbox, and while the extra functionality will certainly be a bonus, it is not going to influence their buying decision as strongly as it might the mass market.”
As well as running the risk of alienating their core gaming base, Hennessey has suggested that Sony and Microsoft’s collective move to produce more general entertainment units has forced the manufacturers to offer more competitively priced consoles. During E3 2013 earlier this month, the PS4 price was officially set as £349, £80 cheaper than the £429 Xbox One price.
“The need for competitive pricing in the gaming console market is becoming more prevalent as manufacturers are embracing digital content and beginning to market their products as entertainment hubs rather than one dimensional gaming machines,” the John Lewis buyer stated.
With the Xbox One set to offer satellite and cable TV capabilities as well as movie downloads and music store access through Xbox Live, gamers were outraged at the Microsoft console’s intention to block pre-owned and borrowed game use through DRM restrictions. Following much vocal outcry, Microsoft was recently forced to backtrack on its monetisation plans for pre-owned Xbox One games.
“Microsoft’s U-turn on second hand purchases last week also demonstrates that an early boycott of the console is not something either company can risk,” Hennessey told us. “Therefore manufacturers need to make the pricing and features relevant for both demographics from the outset.”
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