PS4, Xbox One, Wii U & 3DS all need price drops in US

Microsoft claims the top spot in the April NPD results. The Xbox One sold 63% better than it did in April 2014, besting Sony’s PS4 for the first time in a non-holiday month. A large reason why the Xbox One took the April win was due to Microsoft releasing the $349.99 Master Chief bundle as well as several retailers, like Best Buy and GameStop, offering $125-$150 for old PS3/360 systems towards a new Xbox One.

Sony’s reluctance to drop the PS4’s price from $399 may have also played a role.

Nintendo didn’t fare so well. Reports are coming in that the 3DS only sold 114k, a very low number considering the New 3DS just came out two months before. The Wii U put up its worst number since before Mario Kart 8 released, hitting the low of 43k during April.

I don’t know if any of the big three will cut prices at E3 but the PS4, Wii U, Xbox One and 3DS could all use lower prices. The $199 New 3DS XL price is just a bit steep for a 4 year old handheld and the Wii U continues to be the Wii U commercially.

Microsoft would be wise to cut the Xbox One’s price to keep momentum going into Halo 5 and the Gears remaster. A $249-$299 price point would really turn things around in the US. Can you imagine if Sony stuck with the $399 price point but Microsoft lowered their price to $299? Xbox One could easily make up the PS4’s lead in the US over the holidays.

Sony could probably keep selling a respectable amount of PS4s through the holidays but a price drop to $299 would really set the charts on fire. Of course, Sony wants to keep making money on the system on a per unit basis. Still, it may be better to perform an early strike then to wait it out. $349 wouldn’t be a bad price point, especially with a good bundle but it would feel like a half-step. With Morpheus releasing in 2016, perhaps a big cut would help push more consumers over the fence on the PS4, giving it a bigger market for Sony’s VR headset.

On the other side of that argument, selling the PS4 at a profit as long as possible could help to make up for any losses Sony has on Morpheus if they decided to sell it at a mass market price under production costs.

All in all, I believe Sony’s PS4 is the most likely console to get a price cut in the near future. If Xbox One sales are up long enough I’m sure MS will try to sustain the price at $349 as long as they can before going deeper.

Nintendo just began manufacturing Wii U systems again after not making any for their past fiscal year. So they may have already cut costs on the system after a year long manufacturing layoff but whether they’ll use those savings to lower the system’s price or reap in more money is uncertain. You’d think Amiibo profits could offset some Wii U losses.

The most likely scenario is none of the big three cut any prices until the holidays. Whenever these three pull the trigger, they should consider cuts large enough to really move some units. A $249 Wii U, $299 Xbox One, $299 PS4 and $149 New 3DS all would really help each console maker. They need to hit early and hard to build momentum.