The Xbox One’s $499 price tag might not just be a lot to ask of gamers eager to embrace the next generation of video game consoles, it might be flat-out “dangerous.” Microsoft has had a rough couple of weeks following the debut of the Xbox One. The console’s controversial game-sharing and used game policies have drawn a great deal of criticism from bloggers and gamers alike, and even Microsoft’s exciting new Kinect sensor is drawing fire. But everything else aside, one industry watcher believes it’s the Xbox One’s price tag that will scare away a large portion of Microsoft’s potential customers.
“The Xbox One will retail at $499 when it releases in November, and that could prove a very dangerous price for Microsoft’s new console,” Forbes contributor Dave Thier wrote in a recent post. “That number is so dangerous to Microsoft because it won’t play with casuals, especially not in year one. It is a price aimed directly at the core gaming community.”
He continued, “Hardcore gamers are the only people who spend that much money on new consoles — they’re the ones who need to experience the biggest, newest games, no matter what the cost, and they’re the ones who can prop up a system until it grabs a large enough install base. But they’re also the people who have been most vocal about their displeasure with Microsoft Xbox One’s used games policies. To say that the Xbox One is unpopular in the forum communities right now would be an understatement.”
Thier argues that at a lower price, Microsoft would have been able to lure “the casual consumer, interested in fantasy football and TV integration, but less concerned about DRM and the philosophical implications of always-online.” At $499, the broader audience will probably be scared away.
Microsoft is expected to offer a lower-cost Xbox One option at some point, but it is unclear if it will be made available shortly after the new console launches in November or several years down the road. While some like the new Xbox’s odds thanks to the innovative new Kinect sensor and the intriguing home TV service integration, the high price tag may certainly be a barrier.