We all know why the Xbox One is more expensive than the PS4. At E3, when both companies showed their hands concerning the price of their next-gen hardware, Microsoft stunned audiences with a rather high price point of $ 499, only to have Sony reply with an extremely attractive #399. The sole reason for this difference comes down to the Kinect, and the mandatory inclusion of the camera in every Xbox One package. Funnily enough, Sony were very close to doing the same thing.
Apparently, in the months leading up to E3, Sony caught wind of the inflated price of the Xbox One and made the drastic decision to just the PlayStation 4 Camera from the package in order to undercut Microsoft in terms of price. Additionally, Sony made this change very quietly in order to keep Microsoft in the dark, informing retailers that the camera would no longer be included while making no indication of a price drop. That was left until E3 to announce.
It’s both a strategically brilliant and risky move, because it’s a rather essential piece of hardware that has now been dammed to the “accessory pit” Unlike the first Kinect, The Xbox One will require Kinect 2 in order to function, assuring developers that everyone with an Xbox One will have one. This allows them to take less risks with motion controlled or enhanced titles as now they no longer have to worry about developing features for a small portion of their market. Having this insurance could allow them to focus on more integrated and streamlined Kinect enhanced features, as well as (hopefully) much better motion controlled titles.
In addition to this, there are some neat console features that can be included with the Xbox One because of this inclusion. Having voice chat, video calls, dashboard navigation and more come standard is probably a big plus to those looking to use their Xbox One more socially than most others, and those who are fans of split-screen multiplayer titles will probably take advantage of the Kinect’s ability to sense where you are in the room and split the screens accordingly. The point is, having the Kinect mandatory opens up a lot of doors while raising the price, so another equally calculated risk.
With Sony removing the PS4 camera, they have created a more attractive looking console in terms of price, but have damned the camera in the process. Now, much like the first Kinect, developers will be taking risks when developing for the device, because not all PS4 owners will have a camera. Motion controlled titles or enhanced experiences will probably be far less common on Sony’s console, and a few features that the company boast about during their reveal can no longer be implemented.
For example, the DualShock 4′s integrated LEDs are now good for little more than visual flair. At first Sony planned to use the Dualshock 4 as an integrated Move tracker, meaning that you’d no longer need a separate set in order to play motion controlled titles. Instead, the LED’s no stand as a constant reminder of an idea that didn’t exactly pan out as expected, but whether this effects anyone is still up for debate.
Because the resounding question around all of this is, who really cares about motion controlled gaming? Well, we know some people do, because both the PS3 Move and Kinect sold units. It may not cater to the hardcore market, but we’ve known for a long time that not only hardcore gamers buy consoles anymore. There’s a lot of casual players that love motion controlled titles, and having camera enhanced titles was shown off rather well during Microsoft’s E3 conference, especially during the gameplay demo of Ryse.
So who got it right? Depends what you’re looking for really. Or, better yet, what plans each company has for the future.