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Price Cuts for Older Consoles, New Games to Be Top Topics at E3, Analysts Say

6 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

Look for price cuts to the last generation of gaming consoles, a huge emphasis on new gaming software, and more solid details about Sony’s streaming PlayStation Now service at the June 9-12 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, according to analysts.

Through April, life-to-date sales of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have more than doubled the combined sales of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hardware through their first six months of sales, according to data from The NPD Group.

“Microsoft and Sony won’t rest on their laurels, and this E3 will be more focused on all the great next-generation software,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. “These new consoles need to continue to impress consumers with enhanced graphics and gameplay to further build their install base.”

Because Microsoft already slashed the price of its Xbox One, introducing a $399 version that does not include Kinect, neither Callahan nor Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities, see any price cut announcements for the new generation of consoles. The same can’t be said for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

“We expect price cuts for the Xbox 360 and PS3 in order to jumpstart hardware and software sales,” Pachter wrote in a note to investors. “We believe current-gen weakness has been the primary driver of industry declines over the past 18 months. As a result, we expect Microsoft and Sony to drop current-gen console prices by at least $50, and to introduce new bundles featuring first- and third-party content.”

Whereas last year gaming companies made a big push with their connected features, this year will see more emphasis on new games, Pachter predicts, including Fable Legends, Forza Horizon 2, Halo 5: Guardians, Quantum Break and Sunset Overdrive for Xbox, and DriveClub, Helldivers, The Last of Us Remastered, The Order: 1866, PlanetSide 2 and Uncharted for PlayStation.

Callahan also sees Sony offering more details for its PlayStation Now game streaming service, an offering Microsoft has yet to match with the Xbox One platform. However, Pachter said gamers shouldn’t get too excited about the service.

“That’s what they will focus on, but like Netflix, they are going to have trouble getting recent content,” he told Home Media Magazine. “Unlike Netflix, which has 2-year-old content via its Epix deal and 1-year-old TV content, there is not going to be a lot of recent content available for Sony, and games have a very limited shelf life.”

Heading into the show, Sony had already announced that the PS4 was already proving profitable, and Microsoft announced it was beefing up its app offerings, including the launch of Encore Play, Epix, Crunchyroll, Frightflix, iHeartRadio, Starz Play, Syfy Now, Target Ticket, MoviePlex Play, MTV, NBA, NHL and Popcornflix in the United States.

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