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Best Buy’s Koller shrugs off the price difference. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand for these consoles, and I don’t see price as an obstacle,” he said.
The price difference may matter next year, when the initial rush by game enthusiasts is over and more practical customer enters the picture.
“Core game enthusiasts are hardly price-sensitive,” says Newzoo’s Warman. “But price plays an important role in the second phase when Microsoft and Sony attempt to broaden the user base.”
The Microsoft store at the Mall of America demonstrated some extra things the Xbox One does besides play games.
One is to allow a consumer to simultaneously play a video game and watch TV on the same screen, said Nicole Weber, a trainer at the Microsoft store. The unit will also recognize some voice commands, such as “on” to turn the machine on, and “record that” to save a video clip of a game in progress to share with friends. In addition, a fitness app will use the Kinect sensor to measure a user’s heart rate based on color changes in the face.
Warman says game consoles will continue to be sold for years because some consumers will always want “the most immersive game experience.”
“But time and money are becoming more equally divided” between serious and casual players, he said. “That ultimately puts pressure on the current share of wallet for consoles.”
Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553