The PS4 and Xbox One’s console cycle has been well-documented over the first two and a half years of its life-cycle, but when you take a look back at the PS3 and Xbox 360’s beginning, there are some interesting tales to tell.
Former Xbox boss Robbie Bach was at Microsoft when the Xbox 360 launched and certainly remembers the moves Sony made that year at E3 2006. Before then though, Microsoft had major some serious plans for when they were going to release Xbox 360, years in advance, serious plans.
“The year later didn’t surprise us. Originally, when we knew [when we were launching], I mean we chose this date in 2002, so at that time we didn’t know what [Sony] was going to do [with PS3]. We just said it’s a five or six year cycle, this is when they launch, so the earliest they’re going to launch is 2005. We have to be there when they launch…So that’s what got us to 2005,” Back told IGN.
This goes to show you the type of planning that can be involved with something as major as a new console. The Xbox 360 launched during 2005 and it turned out to be an extremely successful console for Microsoft. The company had an entire year under their belt before Sony even came to market with their new console, the PlayStation 3.
Sony brought their beast of a system to E3 2006 and announced a price there. Microsoft understood that Sony had an expensive system on their hands, but they just assumed the company would eat the costs and serve up a system with a comparable price to the 360’s.
“As we got closer, we weren’t surprised [PS3] was going to be 2006 just because of the complexity of the cell processor and what they were trying to accomplish. That part didn’t surprise us at all. I’ll tell you the single moment I knew we had real upside was when [Sony] announced their pricing at E3…[It was] a total shock, total shock. We knew their bill of materials was going to be too expensive, but we thought they’d suck it up,” Bach said.
As history went on to tell us, Sony priced the PS3 at $499 and $599 for the two models they were selling at launch, which shocked a lot of people in the industry. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 launched with two models that were priced at $299 and $399, so needless to say they had the advantage. Eventually, Sony dropped the price down and PS3 went onto be a very successful console.