Gaming, Consoles, & Holiday 2017

Life is more fun if you play games - Roald Dahl 

Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have some interesting things on the way much of which will come down to the home(s) with the necessary discretionary income to spend on these specific devices...not everyone can have multiple. So before diving in here's the important definition of  discretionary income, 

the amount of an individual's income that is left for spending, investing or saving after paying taxes and paying for personal necessities, such as food, shelter and clothing. Discretionary income includes money spent on luxury items, vacations, and nonessential goods and services.

I. Nintendo Switch

There are many theories behind the new Nintendo system that as of this writing remains a mystery due to its battery life as well as how much it would cost. To say this piece of tech is impressive is an understatement as the video below highlights and shows off the console and how it navigates into our lives. Interestingly enough the video didn't show kids playing this thing rather it showed an older generation, millennial-xillennial. 

The first party software may not necessarily heighten the sales of the device but the intriguing moment of the eSports-like scene at the end with Splatoon could be a significant driver. It's genuinely fun, it's not the darkness that is Destiny or the level of Overwatch it's something else all on its own. 

Though the questions remain mainly behind the quality of the battery and how you're able to take your content with you (it did seem there was either a cartridge slot or SD card reader). There's also the need for a 3DS in their future, how will mobile app content apply to the Switch if it does? And will Nintendo take seriously the concept of having a comprehensive online identity with the device? It seems like the MiiMoto could be that bridge though it remains to be seen.  

As for the price which is another interesting element likely in the neighborhood of $299-399, considering the ability of taking a tablet like device with considerable power around wherever you go, that price area is reasonable. Though the question of "who" will buy this I somewhat answered earlier it's still too soon to tell a March release is ideal as the PS4 Pro comes out November 2016 and XBox Scorpio likely November 2017, this flushes right in the middle. Would  regular customers have the desire to spend their discretionary income on this device? This is an essential question, and though immediate reaction online has been positive it remains to be seen.

II. PS4 Pro/PSVR Holiday 2017

2016 has shaped up as an interesting one so far, XBox One S sold considerably better than the PS4 Slim for a quarter and that doesn't mean Microsoft won't be able to keep up the momentum though it remains to be seen with the PlayStation VR out and PS4 Pro coming in November. There are arguments to suggest that the the XBox One S is the better buy because of its 4K Bluray player, this is to make the assumption that a majority of households have 4K televisions and actually care about seeing any movie at that quality when in actuality most don't have one due to its cost (👆🏾discretionary income/spending) and most simply don't care. 

The question coming Holiday 2017 will be, how can Sony package a PS4 Slim with a PSVR to equal the likely cost of an XBox One Scorpio and make a margin that's reasonable? It's not far fetched and it's possible that if Sony doesn't do it Best Buy & Walmart will. As of October 2016 the PS4 Slim is not a $299 console at most it should be at the $249 price point, at best $199, but this is a reflection of the margins Sony is capable and comfortable with taking. The cost of PSVR should see a reasonable decline by next holiday as well so could a bundled 500GB PS4 Slim & PSVR priced at or around $499-549 match the likely price of an XBox One Scorpio coming in at price points in the neighborhood of $449-599? Which would be the better buy for most of the consumer population across the US, UK, and Japan?

It's important to understand these companies aren't trying to do what they've done years ago in selling consoles at a loss, it's not what Nintendo has done, it's no longer the desire of Sony obviously, and Microsoft isn't run by Steve Ballmer so that assumption of doing so is out of question. Sony in all likelihood will drop the price matrix of their ecosystem by $50-100 next holiday to compete while making a profit. Their marketing has to sell their ecosystem to the masses insuring that the Pro is specifically for the hardcore base with the necessary equipment to bring about its graphical capabilities while expressly stating that the PS4 Slim is a worthy buy, this will be interesting to see what's pulled off. Content is key when it comes to Sony and Playstation VR, the question on Sony's end is can they increase the available content to make PSVR a viable and desirable platform for customers.

III. XBox Scorpio & Play Anywhere

No other gaming console can lay claim to having an overall OS wide ecosystem allowing a customer to buy the ready made and developed system to play with and against those who've built their own PC, this is Microsoft under Satya Nadella and not Steve Ballmer, this is also a company who won't necessarily sacrifice margins ritually as they may have done before. But this doesn't mean they won't come out and not try to compete. 

Its been reported that the system will run inhouse developed games in native 4K and other partners may or may not pull off the same feat, different from the upscaling that will he performed by the PS4 Pro. A gaming system with a 4K bluray player running games in native 4K is not going to come in at a price point under $399, it's laughable to suggest that it will when Phil Spencer has already expressed that the system will be priced at a premium. If you're aiming for meeting the necessary margins for such a system (yes they actually do care about this) you're going to ensure it meets logical expectations from management and hardcore gaming consumers with the necessary 4K televisions to enjoy the content. 

Play Anywhere is another initiative from Microsoft that is intriguing of itself playing with or against friends with an XBox Live ID across multiple games while on PC and XBox hardware is something many have wanted for quite some time. Sony likely won't do this and this is something Microsoft will undoubtedly capitalize on as the evaluate third party and gamer reception. Though the XBox One Scorpio will be costly it'll be interesting to see their marketing push. One can surmize that the XBox ecosystem will look somewhat similar to Sony's only they can't bundle a Microsoft built VR system with their Scorpio (unless they're building one that coincides with the Hololens). Pricing from the XBox One S through the high end of Scorpio could conceivably range from $199 to potentially match Sony at the low end through $599 for a 2TB Scorpio, the play Microsoft is missing is VR and it's highly probable the company will partner with Oculus or Viive for their platform.

IV. Holiday Pricing 2017

Next year we'll see three different platforms from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo offering consoles at pretty significant pricing barriers. New televisions offering 4K at a lower cost could also become widely available at discounted cost leading to the decision making by the populace at large, purchasing a 50+ inch 4K television with an average cost of $400, making way for the decision behind the specific console that's desired, get a PS4 Pro ($299-349) with upscaling and a PSVR ($299-349), an XBox One Scorpio ($449-599), or a Nintendo Switch ($299-399)?

A consumer will potentially spend around $1,000 for home entertainment and the question will be based on their social environment, networks their friends belong to, as well as what's viewed as the better value, if pricing holds true based on sales from Sony, a PS4 Pro and PSVR could considerably be the better value. Let's also consider that a 4K television simply isn't necessary, grabbing a PS4 Slim at $199 and a PSVR at $299-349 would still be the all around better purchase.