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Sony's PS4 Has 7 Days to Beat Microsoft's Xbox One

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After months of hype, the new consoles are coming. Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) PS4 hits the market on Friday. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) follows with its Xbox One just seven days later. 

Tactically speaking, Sony would seem to have the advantage. Its console is $100 cheaper than Microsoft's entry, though it did sacrifice the motion-based camera -- making it a $60 add-on accessory -- to get to that price point. Most would also agree that earlier is rather than later, especially since Microsoft isn't giving itself a lot of wiggle room by releasing its platform just a week before Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season. 

However, there are plenty of things that could go wrong for Sony with its seven-day lead.

  • The first wave of reviews can be unflattering, leading gamers to wait a week to get an early read on Xbox One critiques.
  • It could be buggy. This is naturally a risk for any new platform.
  • There could be negative backlash for PlayStation Plus. Unlike earlier Sony consoles where multi-player games could generally be played without paying up for a subscription, that ends with the PS4 and its PlayStation Plus offering. Microsoft's been getting tens of millions of folks to pay up for Xbox Live Gold for years, but Sony may be taking a chance with this premium requirement.
  • Sony could get hacked -- again. It may be shrinking away in the rearview mirror, but Sony's networks was hacked twice in 2011. It's probably not a coincidence that Microsoft's Xbox 360 kicked off its impressive monthly streak of being the country's top-selling console after that.
  • A shortage of availability may send gamers to rival consoles. We don't know how many systems Sony and Microsoft will have at launch, but this isn't a case where scarcity will help drum up demand. No one is going to bid these systems up if a rival is available. That may not extend to Nintendo's (NASDAQOTH: NTDOY  ) Wii U. It is cheaper and in ample supply this month. However, the specs and games don't necessarily align with the typical PlayStation or Xbox user.  

Naturally, things could also go the other way. Reviews can be tremendous. Supply may be plentiful, or at least trickling in at a healthy enough clip to keep potential buyers patient. These setbacks can also trip up Microsoft a week later.

A successful PS4 rollout will also benefit the fledgling PS Vita. Sony's handheld system hasn't fared as well as Nintendo's entry, but a neat feature of the PS4 is Remote Play, allowing gamers to stream their PS4 games on their PS Vita via WiFi. The whole "second screen" trend didn't really help Nintendo's Wii U, but if a PS4 owner was ever on the fence about paying up for the portable gaming system, this would seem to be a good enough reason to send more money Sony's way.

Sony has a week during which it will be the only relevant name in gaming. It had better not mess this up.

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 8:57 AM, moopert wrote:

    The supply of both consoles will be virtually nonexistant in stores. If you it wasn't preordered, pretty much the only recourse is Ebay.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 10:35 AM, djtetsu wrote:

    Sorry, this article says nothing, if it isn't outright false.

    It might of been too long for you to remember what it was like being excited for a new gaming console.

    You become a fan.

    Shortage of supply, it being hacked or buggy, or even bad reviews (all highly unlikely) won't detour you.

    The lower pricing point also has a big reinforcement on your decision.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 11:06 AM, Q2fast4u wrote:

    The PS4 has nothing to beat because it has already won. Have you forgotten about what happened at E3? Microsoft shot themselves in the foot this round. It is true that those idiotic restrictions were dropped due to public backlash, but being $100 more, and having inferior hardware really does make a difference. And last but not least, when we're talking about worldwide sales, in Japan for example, sales for the 360 and the original Xbox were never as high as the PS3 or the Wii.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 11:09 AM, AlexJLong wrote:

    How about the rest of the world, where the Xbone is going on sale a weak earlier than the PS4?

    The world doesn't end outside the US' borders, and both the Xbox360 and PS3 sold more consoles outside the US than in it.

    Seems like the release dates cancel each other out, and will simply come down to which is the better console/has better games.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 12:13 PM, MajorPainfull wrote:

    well if its going to cost to play multiplayer on PS4 then Im out its the main reason I have a playstation and also why doesnt anyone get that the early releases are always buggy and junk it takes a year or 2 when they come out with the new fixed and slimed down version ps2 and ps3 had that going on and both of mine crashed and burned quickly dont buy now or at all if you have to pay to play.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 12:15 PM, MajorPainfull wrote:

    If I have to pay to play anyway I might as well go over to Xbox and try that a while its a loser for PS4 not to keep as free as possible.

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