The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun is reporting that Sony has set the minimum price point for the unannounced PlayStation 4 at ¥40,000 yen — which converts to approximately $427 at current exchange rates. Assuming the paper’s sources are correct, it is unlikely that Sony will directly convert the yen price point for the next generation PlayStation. This means that the U.S. MSRP could easily exceed $449 or more, depending on the number of SKUs that Sony is planning to release at launch.
Previous rumors have suggested that the PlayStation 4 will support Ultra HD 4K resolution, and come with a controller that incorporates a touch panel interface (akin to the Vita) and biometric sensors on its grips. That amounts to a considerable amount of expensive tech. Assuming these rumors were correct — and the price point mentioned by Asahi Shimbun holds true — this would seem to indicate that Sony is planning to sell the new machine at a loss.
This is hardly a surprise, since the company has traditionally launched hardware at a loss. Additionally, Sony is most likely planning to put as much distance as possible between the PS4’s price and the initial $600 price tag that devastated early PS3 sales.
Asahi Shimbun also claimed that the PlayStation 4 will abandon the Cell chip (a rumor that has popped up before), and make use of the cloud technology that Sony picked up in their acquisition of Gaikai in August 2012. This last claim about the cloud tech is by far the most solid bit of speculation in the report, because so far we have seen very little from the acquisition that would justify its $380 million price tag.
Asahi Shimbun did not provide any evidence to support any of their claims, so all of this should be considered a rumor until Sony makes their official announcement concerning the PlayStation 4. Fortunately we won’t have to wait long, as the company is expected to debut the console at an event on February 20th.