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Analyst: $500 Xbox Series X will take wind out of Microsoft's sails

Analyst Michael Pachter predicts the cheaper next-gen console will prevail, and a $400+ price tag is a mistake

Derek Strickland | Jan 5, 2020 at 6:42 pm CST (13 mins, 0 secs time to read)

Next-gen dominance will come down to the age-old equalizer: The retail price tag.

Analyst: $500 Xbox Series X will take wind out of Microsoft's sails | TweakTown.com

Reports indicate the PlayStation 5 could be weaker than the Xbox Series X's 12TFLOP GPU, with a possible shrunken MSRP to match. By all accounts the Xbox SX is a beast that "eats monsters for breakfast" that could carry a monstrous price tag to match. Analysts are starting to weigh in on sales predictions, with most agreeing on a $400+ price point for both, but what happens if there's a price difference? If the Xbox SX is more expensive, the PS5 could win.

"You know what's going to take the wind out of Microsoft's sales? Charging more than $400. That's a problem. I think far more relevant to the success of both boxes is if there's a price differential. If they're priced the same I think they have an equal chance of thriving. If they're priced vastly different, the cheaper one's going to win," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said in a recent episode of The Pachter Factor.

Analysts like IHS Markit's Piers Harding-Rolls thinks the PS5 and Xbox SX will be priced similarly, which could hint at a $499 standard MSRP for both.

"I also expect pricing of both PS5 and Xbox Series X to be similar, and I think it's more likely than not they will be higher than the PS4 launch price point of $399," Harding-Rolls said in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

Reports also say Microsoft will release two next-gen Xbox consoles in 2020: The enthusiast-grade Xbox Series X that targets 4K 60FPS, and a cheaper digital-only system with pared down specs called Lockhart that targets 1440p 60FPS.

Pachter weighs in on this multi-SKU price range too:

"I think $500 for the top box is the maximum they can charge. Knowing Microsoft, I'd say a $100 difference between the more powerful and less powerful, but the problem's the specs on Lockhart. Lockhart better be more powerful than an Xbox One X, and I don't know if they can differentiate those two. So I'd say $500 and $400."

This pretty much aligns with our predictions that a $399 PlayStation 5 will absolutely dominate next-gen. There's just one problem: We don't know if the leaked Oberon specs represent final performance or not. They likely don't, and it's possible the PS5 will shoot past the leaked 9.2TFLOPs of GPU perf to match the Xbox SX.

Even still it's likely the PlayStation 5 will still win when it comes to sales simply because it supports PlayStation 4 backward compatibility. We'll see hundreds of millions of games carry forward to the next-generation as millions of current PS4 owners buy into the new ecosystem.

Luckily Microsoft is prepared for such an event and doesn't necessarily care about console sales. For Microsoft, the real money is in services, subscriptions, and games. Console sales aren't everything and Microsoft has made a killer business on its massively lucrative and engaging webwork of services--something that Sony hasn't refined nearly as much.

Xbox Series X is due out by Holiday 2020. No pricing has been announced.

Check below for confirmed specs and details, and a huge content listing of everything we've heard about Xbox Series X so far:

Xbox Series X confirmed details (Formerly Project Scarlett):

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • Navi GPU on RDNA architecture
  • Highly customized 7nm SoC from AMD
  • GDDR6 memory
  • 2x Xbox One X's 6TFLOPs of GPU perf
  • 4x CPU power of Xbox One generation
  • Can deliver up to 40x more performance than Xbox One in specific use cases
  • Adaptive sync supported
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • Supports 8K resolution (likely media playback)
  • 120FPS gaming
  • Variable refresh rate (adaptive sync/FreeSync)
  • Variable Rate Shading
  • Raytracing confirmed with dedicated raytracing cores
  • Backward compatible with thousands of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games
  • New controller with a dedicated share button
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories

Lockhart (Unconfirmed lower-end Xbox Series hardware)

  • 1440p 60FPS
  • No disc drive
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC w/ scaled-down 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHZ and Navi GPU
  • Lower GDDR6 memory pool (Possibly 12GB)
  • ~6-8 TFLOPs of power?
  • Aims to rival PS4 Pro/Replace Xbox One S
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • Cheaper MSRP

Anaconda/Xbox Series X/Project Scarlett

  • 4K 60FPS
  • Disc drive with 4K UHD playback
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • 7nm AMD SoC with 8-core, 16 thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz and Navi GPU
  • 16GB GDDR6 RAM
  • 12 TFLOPs of power
  • 2x GPU power as Xbox One X/aims to replace Xbox One X
  • Full backward compatibility with all Xbox One games
  • More expensive MSRP

Xbox Series X coverage:

Last updated: Jan 6, 2020 at 06:11 am CST

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Derek Strickland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Derek Strickland

Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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