It didn’t take very long for Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) to erase the $100 price premium it charged for the new Xbox One compared with Sony Corp.’s (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 4. All it took was a good excuse and that showed up with the release of Titanfall, the new shooter game published by Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA).
When Titanfall was first released it cost $60 as a standalone purchase or it came free with the purchase of a new Xbox One, effectively reducing the price of Microsoft’s new console from $499 to $439. On Friday, big-box retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) began selling the same bundle for $449, effectively lowering the price of the new console to $389. The PlayStation 4 costs $399.
Microsoft claims that it has not lowered its suggested retail price and that the Walmart and Best Buy price cuts are special promotions offered by the two retailers. A Microsoft spokesman also said the company did not lower its wholesale price to either Walmart or Best Buy. According to nowinstock.com, the $449 bundle is out-of-stock at Walmart, but according to Engadget.com the discounted price is applied at checkout time. The price also applies to the bundle purchased at the physical store.
Availability of the PlayStation 4 is much spottier, with stores like Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) shown as out of stock. Only Best Buy among the big-box stores appears to have the PS4 in stock, although two bundles priced at $576 and $635 are available from Walmart.
Since both new game consoles were launched in November the PlayStation 4 had sold more than 6 million units by early March while the Xbox One is estimated to have sold somewhere around 4 million units. Neither company has updated those figures yet, but the gap is expected to have closed since the introduction of Titanfall.
Sony introduced a new game for PS4 on Friday as well: inFamous: Second Son. Like Titanfall, which is exclusive to Microsoft, the new game will be an exclusive on PS4.
Microsoft’s stock posted a new 52-week high of $40.94 on Friday before sinking with the rest of the markets to close at $40.16. Microsoft stock has not closed above $40 since July 2000.