The Sony PS4’s uncontested run in the market is likely to make up for its pricing

It would appear that Microsoft’s loss is Sony’s gain. The Playstation 4 will officially be available in India starting January 6 next year (I say ‘year’, but in fact, it is barely a few weeks away). If its fiercest competitors only launch their now-new flagship product, the Xbox One, in November (this again is sort of a biggish ‘if’), the PS4 will have a relatively long, uncontested run at retail for a large part of 2014. The only potential problem? Its price point of Rs.39,990.

Not light on the wallet?

At nearly Rs.40,000, the PS4 is not inexpensive. In fact, if you’re actually looking to put it to use, you’ll probably have to spend at least another Rs.9,000 — say, on a game (first party titles are set to be priced at Rs.3,999) and an additional controller (the DualShock 4 will cost you Rs.5,000, as will the Playstation 4 Eye Camera). Sony has not announced any game bundles for India, with the first lot of consoles arriving on Indian shores all set to be standalone units. The pricing of games does not come as a surprise, however. Indian consumers were subjected to drastic price increases (at the time attributed to dollar price increase and import duties) only a few months earlier for PS3, Xbox 360 and even PC games — priming gamers for the inevitable coming of the next generation. It’s now here, and if chatter on social media and gaming discussion boards is any indication, nobody’s particularly happy about the pricing of the console. This isn’t unreasonable, but personally, I’m more worried about the prices of games, which are getting pretty ridiculous.

The beautiful, expensive game

If you thought matchday tickets at The Emirates or Etihad stadiums were expensive, think again. In what seems like an effort to virtually simulate the real world problems of football fans in certain parts of the world, FIFA 14 will attempt to slightly torment Indian consumers with the nice, fat price tag of Rs.4,499 (taking our overall spend to Rs.50,500, if you’re still keeping score). Similarly all other retail copies of EA games will be available at the same price point (Battlefield 4, Need for Speed Rivals). Indian consumers might just be forced to purchase digital copies of games online (faking their identity and location whilst violating several dozen international laws in the process, no doubt) to get their fix. Then again, doing that comes pre-packaged with its own list of cons (downloading one game will probably exhaust your data limit as per your ISP’s “fair usage policy”, for one). On a positive note, some third party games for the PS4 will be priced between Rs.2,499 (Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition & LEGO Marvel Super Heroes) and Rs.3,499 (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag).

Unchallenged

But the fact that the PS4 will be the only new console available in the market is sure to work in its favour. The only real challengers come in the form of Sony’s own PS3 (which is roughly around half its price) and from outer space, in the form of gaming PCs. While the PS3 could potentially cannibalise sales of the newer unit, the target audience will remain drastically different. The gaming PC argument is also moot when a side-by-side comparison is drawn because it’s literally impossible to assemble a PC as powerful as the PS4 for a budget of Rs. 40,000 — from a pure hardware standpoint. So there you have it, the PS4 is unquestionably a powerful device, and in all fairness is the only next generation console worth getting right now (it’s not like you have a choice in the first place).

EA has announced that its PS4 launch titles will be priced at Rs. 3,999 (reduced from Rs.4,499).