For a number of reasons I believe the pricing of the Playstation 4 will be obvious and even fair to boot. It goes without question that the 599 dollar fiasco of the PS3 launch won't be repeated. But despite off the shelf components being used this time, it still won't be cheap due to amongst other reasons, the usual heavy initial investments needed to be recuperated. However, it seems completely logical, obvious and fair that the following pricing strategy will be implemented:
€399,- for a bare bones box-set comprising of just the basics: the console, ps eye, headset & 1 controller. It's crucial they go as low as possible and dipping below the 400 mark into the 300's simply looks way more attractive than say 429. It's worth any potential extra losses that need to be incurred just to get to that magic number.
€499,- for a more complete package with larger hard-drive and perhaps all of the following: a flagship must own game, an extra (move) controller and a period of ps+ subscription. This is for the die-hards who want to feel like they're getting the best option. And Sony should have a larger profit margin on this bundle. Win-win.
I also believe it to be wise if a €599 premium deal was offered, including a PS Vita, as it has been shown that Sony intends it to play a pretty solid supporting role for the console. Plus it would help the adoption rate of the staggering handheld immensely when people see the enormous value this complete package represents and buy it in droves; a chance for Sony to sell and have a large number of people own its entire gaming eco-system in one stellar purchase! I mean come on.. an iPad 32gb or a PS4 + Vita for the same price?!
Finally, with xbox having tested the entirely sane idea of a mobile contract style price-supplemental offer using xbox live, I think it would be a fantastic idea if Sony did the same. Let the hardcore audience buy the system at the higher price for the first year and then after the second holiday season of its existence, introduce a low irresistable price point of €299,- tethered to a 2 year subscription to ps+ for everyone who finds that the seductive number to dive in. Maybe introduce it sooner if system sales start to lag and need a boost.
I think a strong start is pretty much guaranteed, but that a slump in momentum which could lead to analysts labeling it a failure, should be avoided at all costs because Sony has everything riding on the success of this product. They can't take any chances and need to make it a success and keep it that way with all the effort and smart decisions they can muster in order to make PS4 the appealing proposition it promises to be. An apple-like pricing range going from 299 to 399 to 499 and 599 gives consumers the clear choice they want and Sony a wider access to sell through to the different key demographics. Seriously, is there any other way to price it more effectively? So much potential here, it's hugely exciting!