This E3 is going to be one of the most exciting ones in recent memory. Microsoft and Sony will be focusing on their new consoles that will ship later this year. Sony also has to give gamers a reason to care about the PS Vita, promising to have some heavy hitters for their handheld at the conference.
Nintendo isn’t holding a traditional keynote this year but nonetheless they will have to find a way to make a good impression on consumers too. The Wii U is in dire need of a sales boost while the 3DS continues to deliver hit after hit. With all the new tech being spoken about this E3 a lot of people are wondering if any consoles that are already out on store shelves will get price reductions in light of new hardware.
We’ve decided to grade the chances of each game system getting a price drop at E3. Some are much, much more likely than others. First up, we’ve got Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console.
The Xbox 360 hasn’t had a real price cut since 2008. That’s when the $199 low-end model with a $299 higher-end model became standard. Honestly it is a huge accomplishment for Microsoft to maintain profitability like that for so long. This year, with the next Xbox due out during the holidays, is the year the 360 gets another big price drop.
I’d wager that we could see a $199 250GB Xbox 360 by the end of the year. While Microsoft could drop the price of the 360 at E3 in order to give consumers another reason to buy one instead of holding out for their next-gen system, I think they’ll wait a few more months. It’s the best selling console in America right now a price drop just before the holidays makes sense. Whether they drop the 4GB altogether or reduce its price to $99-$149 will be the most interesting part of this.
Sony’s struggling handheld is the platform most likely to receive a price cut at E3. It is no secret that it has been selling terribly for a long time now. Japan got a price drop on the handheld in February but that reduction never made it to the west. I’m sure Sony will spend more time at E3 focusing on the PS4, but a PS Vita price drop to $199 with a good bundle of Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate is very likely if you ask me.
The Wii U is struggling too, if not only a little bit less than the Vita. Nintendo recently stated at their annual fiscal earnings report that they don’t want to drop the system’s price anytime soon. They didn’t want to do so for the 3DS in 2011 but they had to. While I think the system would benefit if the 32GB SKU was the standard $299 option, I can see Nintendo sticking by their recent statements about not dropping the price.
Nintendo will wait until after their first party line up hits stores. Pikmin 3, New Super Luigi U, Wonderful 101, Rayman Legends and others will carry the system throughout the summer all the way into late September. I’d even bet on the system staying its current price until Wind Waker HD in October. If sales don’t pick up that much with all of those first party games (and a few good third party ones) I’d say the Wii U will get a price cut by at least $50 during the holidays alongside whatever key first party holiday releases Nintendo has planned.
Each month in America the PS3 consistently falls behind the 360 and 3DS in hardware sales. I believe that Sony is very likely to reduce the PS3′s price at E3, probably dropping the 250GB SKU to $199. They’ll have a good bundle, perhaps with a collection of Uncharted or InFamous with 3 months of PS Plus. They’ll do this to push some more PS3 units as the system has a solid line up at the end of the year, highlighted by Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls. Dropping the PS3′s price will not only make it a hard bargain to pass up, but the combination of a lower price and a library of quality exclusives just might push the console into 2nd place for this past generation of consoles.
There is no chance Nintendo drops the 3DS’s price at E3. If they’re losing money on each Wii U sold they need the profits from the 3DS to help make up for that. In addition to this reasoning, the system’s sales will explode later this year with Pokemon X/Y and Zelda. There is literally no reason to drop the system’s price now or anytime in 2013. Sure, the 3DS is set to fall behind the DS in sales very soon. It sold about 110k last month in the US. It could benefit from a price reduction but 2013 is not the year for it.
Pokemon and Zelda will sell systems so much so that I’m willing to bet the 3DS will be the best selling gaming device this holiday season. If Nintendo is taking losses on the Wii U they can’t afford to trim their profit margins on the 3DS this year.
Chance of price cut E3: 0%
Those are our predictions for what platforms will receive price cuts at E3. Some of these may come true, some of them may be terribly off. We’re likely to see some major price changes in current systems in the coming months, regardless of them happening at E3 or not. A new generation of gaming is upon us and with it comes cheaper current generation consoles.
Is their a particular console you’re dying to pick up but just need it to be a little bit cheaper? What price drop would you like to see at E3? Let us know in the comments below!