JUNE 22, 2015 • Less than a week following the close of E3, Sony Computer Ent. is now announcing several new PlayStation 4 hardware models. The first is a 1TB model slated for Europe and other PAL markets (CUH-1116B). This is otherwise the same hardware specification as the current 500GB model in these territories (CUH-1116A). SCEE is not disclosing the MSRP on the 1TB model, yet is confirming that the unit will arrive on July 15. This is not the same hardware as the 1TB PS4 certified with the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month. That hardware had an identification number of CUH-1215B, or the third series of PlayStation 4s – the first two series started with CUH-10XX and CUH-11XX. In Japan, SCE today announced the first 12-series PS4, the CUH-1200, a new 500GB model available in black and white. The major difference with previous PS4s is more efficient components. Sony says the new model weighs 10% less and uses 8% less power. The CUH-1200 comes with a smaller 230-watt power supply, the same unit specified with the 500GB CUH1215A and 1TB CUH-1215B certified with the FCC. The 12-series PlayStation 4 will appear first in Japan at the end of June for ¥39,980 ($324), and will arrive in North America, Europe and other Asian markets later. Sony is pricing the 12-series model at the same $399 and €399 as existing 500GB hardware in these territories. As for the 1TB model in North and South America, SCEA told DFC that it is not announcing it in SCEA regions at this time.
Impact: Why these hardware introductions were not announced last week is a head-scratcher for us. We cannot fathom a reason how Sony could know something different about these new SKUs today that the company did not already know last week when it had the benefit of worldwide industry and mainstream media assembled. That said, the small details in these announcements are fascinating. On the same day that the mothership in Japan is highlighting the rollout of a new hardware series, the European branch is touting a 1TB model based on the last series. That is at the same time the 1TB model we know about for the North American market is from the new series. We could understand this better if there were some obvious delay in production of the 12-series for PAL markets, yet Sony is up front in pricing the latest hardware specification in Euros, suggesting there will not be a significant delay in shipping these more efficient PS4s. This suggests to us that there was an excess inventory of 11-series PAL PS4s that could easily be converted to 1TB systems. The next enticing detail is pricing. Sony appears comfortable in ceding a $50 price advantage to the 500GB Xbox One, despite new components that presumably cost the firm less to procure. We understand the corporation overall has significant balance sheet issues, but why take the pressure off Microsoft on price? And what of the 12-series 1TB PlayStation 4… are we to expect that SKU will retail for $449? With this many questions, it probably was safer for Sony to make the announcements when its staff could not be flooded with questions in person at E3. Regardless, it is obvious that Sony believes that consumers consider the PS4 to possess higher value than the Xbox One. We’ll see how well that presumption holds up after Halo 5: Guardians arrives in October bundled with hardware for $50 less.