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$400 price point for PlayStation 4 and next Xbox, analyst suggests

Plus, PS4 release date could come last due to "early production issues"

The next generation systems from both PlayStation and Microsoft will retail at the $350-$400 range, a games analyst has claimed.

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Basing his numbers partially on off-the-record meetings with "a number of companies" at CES 2013, analyst Colin Sebastian of Baird Equity Research said the new consoles will likely sit around the $400 range.

In 2005, Microsoft retailed its Xbox 360 premium bundle at $400, while one year later Sony was at the centre of controversy for offering the premium PS3 system at $599. The rumoured next-gen price points, if accurate, would imply that both Sony and Microsoft are willing to sell their systems at higher losses to appear to an increasingly diversified market.

"Given the fragile state of the console game market, we expect the E3 trade show in June will take on added significance, most likely providing the industry with the first public opportunity to examine next-generation hardware," Sebastian wrote in his notes.

"Our checks suggest that next-generation console hardware will be largely built from 'off the shelf' high-end PC components, along with hybrid physical/digital distribution models, enhanced voice controls and motion sensing (Kinect integration with every Xbox), and broad multi-media capabilities," he added.

"Moreover, a PC-based architecture (Intel chips in the case of Xbox) should have a number of advantages over custom-developed silicon: for one, the learning curve for software developers will be shorter than completely new technology.

"Second, the cost of production and retail price points should be lower than prior console launches.

"Third, it will be easier to build online services around PC chip architecture, including flexible business models (free-to-play, subscriptions) and multi-media (over the top) content offerings. For Microsoft, this design will also allow for more integration with Windows 8 and Windows Mobile devices."

Sebastian said that the Xbox 720 release date is expected for November, while the PlayStation 4 release date may be later than November due to "early production issues".

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