Home Gaming Xbox room “went silent” when Sony announced the price for the PS3

Xbox room “went silent” when Sony announced the price for the PS3

3 min read

The PS3 handed the generation to the Xbox 360 (2)

It’s likely that E3 2013 is still fresh in your memory. It’s one of the most memorable conferences of this generation, where Sony threw down the gauntlet by undercutting Microsoft on nearly every aspect of the Xbox One, which has just had its own conference hours before. It was the Red Wedding of sorts for this generation, but back in the mid-2000s it was the exact reverse. Sony revealed the price for the PS3 at E3 too – and Microsoft couldn’t believe their luck.

That’s according to former Chief Xbox Officer, Robbie Bach, who sat down with Ryan McCaffery and IGN to discuss the early days of the Xbox 360. If you recall, the original Xbox had a very short life cycle – just over four years – and Bach attributes this to Sony. The Xbox launched after the PS2, and back in 2002 Microsoft knew already that their next console would have to launch first to succeed. Three years later it did, and a full year ahead of Sony.

Bach said this was the first of many surprises the generation would throw up.

“The year later didn’t surprise us, we knew we wanted to be first, we chose this date in 2002. We said its a 5-6 year cycle, earliest they’ll launch is 2005 we have to launch by then. Worst case, we have to be at the same time”,

The real kicker though was the price. Microsoft waited in a sweat while Sony prepared their PS3, eventually watching the E3 livestream from a nearby hotel (they weren’t allowed inside). Bach says that when acting PlayStation CEO Kaz Hirai revealed the price though, they simply couldn’t believe what had been handed to them. Microsoft had been given a free pass into the console business.

“The single moment we knew we had real upside was when they announced the pricing at E3, I mean that was a total shock. We knew the product was too expensive but we thought they’d suck it up. They wouldn’t let us in for the presentation that’s the way E3 works that’s fine, so were watching it on some feed I don’t know what it was and then Kaz said the price. And the room we were in went silent, and we think “Did he really say what I think he said?” and so we started contacting people who were at the Sony stage to get confirmation that the price was actually real, a lot of actually said in our minds “Oh…this could be really fun.” When you have 20% market share and they have 60% you never think you’ve won, but I did say we have a real chance, if we push hard we can make a difference.”

The difference, it turned out, was market domination. For most of the seventh-generation Microsoft owned the console space, with the PS3 struggling to get software out at first, while simultaneously trying to convince gamers to buy their more expensive console. This eventually tipped in their favour in the last two or three years, and helped shape the PS4 into the powerhouse it is today.

In a way, this exact event draws many parallels to the current situation Microsoft now finds themselves in, and it’s part of the reason why Project Scorpio is so interesting to follow. Microsoft on the catch up is capable of amazing things, and with their sights set on the future it presents a compelling narrative for consumers to follow closely.


Last Updated: July 27, 2016


  1. I know there is a huge fan base for the xbox exclusives – HALO and Forza etc. but I really do not think that a console with better specs and a better price will sell if the PS4 has so many good exclusive games out there?

    Yeah xbox has backwards compatibility and for a person who had a XBOX 360 with lots of games, they will be super happy to play their older games on xbox one.

    For a person who does not own a current gen console and I would like to buy one, will definitely get a new PS4 just because I find the exclusives a lot more interesting even if the Scorpio project console is far superior and better for a cheaper price ….


    • Cigi

      July 27, 2016 at 15:54

      So what exclusives are you talking about. The one that SONY mentioned at E3 – where i think only on is set for 2016 release and a lot is realisticaly first out in 2018!
      The fact is SONY has no more exclusives comming than XBOX and especillay since xbox is now more or less PC it workes the other way around as well and a lot of PC games will come to XBOX as there is really no hasle to get i running there. So the whole exclusive talk is pure hyperbole.


      • Spy Master Tokashi

        July 27, 2016 at 16:22

        It does not mean anything if they have the same amount of exclusives if the MS exclusives are damn boring. Forza, Halo and Gears of Wars are not convincing games to make people move from Sony to MS.

        They will keep their current fan base happy but that is it …

        Sony has enough old and new exclusives that will keep their console sales coming in


    • Fox1 - Retro

      July 27, 2016 at 16:00

      The best exclusive coming out this holiday for PS4 this year is a PS3 game. Besides Uncharted 4, I don’t see any reason to own a PS4 this holiday.


      • Spy Master Tokashi

        July 27, 2016 at 16:14

        There is also no reason to own a XBOX Scorpio or XBOX One as I find their games completely boring. Like I have said, there is a great number of fans for their games but I find them not interesting.

        I do not own a PS3 or PS4 and I would like to play all the other PS games. Uncharted, Last of us, God of War 4, Detroit Become Human, Deep Down etc.

        All I am saying is, MS brags that their console will blow Sony away but it will be pointless to have this awesome console if you do not have great exclusives to convince people to buy it.



        • Mr_Pops

          July 27, 2016 at 17:02

          I’ve personally always preferred Sony exclusives. Having said that though, it feels like microsoft having been better at actually getting them out. Sony have great stuff in the pipeline but they’re all so far away. Also I know what you’re saying but great exclusives are kind of subjective. I’m just glad that Microsoft are releasing everything on PC as well.


    • Disqus y u no sign me in?

      July 27, 2016 at 16:05

      You are of course allowed your opinion and although it is completely wrong, I’ll respect it!????????????


      • Spy Master Tokashi

        July 27, 2016 at 16:11

        So stating that my opinion is wrong and not explaining why, does not carry any weight to convince me that I am wrong …


        • Cigi

          July 27, 2016 at 17:35

          They have brought a lot of new exclusives i think if you really looked you would be surprised how much MS have brourden their game repertoire with new games.

          For me personally Playstation is stuck with old classics that they just rehash with an graphical upgrade.

          NEW XBOX games:
          Killer instinct
          Dead rising 4
          Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
          Ori and the Blind forrest
          Quantum Break
          Scale Bound
          Sea of Thieves
          The Solus Project

          and a lot more and i have not even mention the classical games that you mention are well known XBOX brands. But to each their own.


          • Uchiha

            July 28, 2016 at 21:58

            So I’m guessing you’re interested in boring games then. I mean who wants to play “Cuphead” raise your hand!

    • lygamnt

      July 28, 2016 at 02:09

      The really big news about Scorpio is that it will be able to handle VR. If Microsoft launches the system for 400 to 500 bucks it could really help VR break out. Im one of the people that get super headaches from VR but like it or not its going to get a lot bigger in the gaming world and pretty soon. Also I think being able to play 3 generations (Face it the Scorpio is a next gen machine)of games on 1 system is a great thing. Maybe they’ll bring back O.G. XBOX games next.


    • Andre Fourie

      July 28, 2016 at 14:11

      You are welcome to your opinion. Which of course is all it is. Don’t see why PS fans always have to bad mouth the XBOX. If you prefer PS4, buy it. No one cares.


  2. iusedtobe(a)regular

    July 27, 2016 at 15:48

    “For most of the seventh-generation Microsoft owned the console space”

    How did you get to this? MS owned the first two years of its generation but after that it was all Sony and the PS3. You dont just close the gap of a year and 1 million unit head start so rapidly and have the competition own most of the generation.


    • Mr_Pops

      July 27, 2016 at 16:20

      I guess it all comes down to how you want to look at it. It ultimately took around 6 years for the ps3 to finally surpass the xbox 360 in lifetime sales. Yes after about 2 years or so the ps3 was regularly outselling the 360 but it doesn’t change the fact that there were still more 360’s in the wild. Even now the lifetime sales of the ps3 are only about a million or so ahead of the 360 (I stand to be corrected on that). Leading up to that generation I wouldn’t have given Microsoft a chance so in my mind they were the big winners of the 7th generation. That is of course if you ignore the Wii.


  3. Fox1 - Retro

    July 27, 2016 at 16:03

    Owned the PS3 slim. It was a step back from everything the Xbox 360 offered at the time. PSN issues, horrible controllers, screen tearing, expensive games. Only games I found good were GoW3 and Uncharted.


    • Andre Fourie

      July 28, 2016 at 14:21

      Yes the PS controllers are too bony for me. The Xbox controllers fit nicely in your hand, nice and bulky.


  4. HezAchimp

    July 28, 2016 at 02:48

    I can play MS’ 60fps multiplayer gems forever. Halo 5 MP and coop is spectacular, Forza 6 and Horizon are the best racing games in gaming and Gears 4 is looking spectacular with many coop and multiplayer modes to enjoy for a very long time. Sony’s games are almost all 30fps single player games or niche anime stuff that I have zero interest in. Xbox one S with HDR and 4k game upscaling offers more graphical capabilities than ps4 and Scorpio looks to be significantly more powerful than Neo with better VR. Xbox for me.


    • BakedBagel

      July 28, 2016 at 09:16



      • HezAchimp

        July 28, 2016 at 15:23

        You upset about something I said ?


        • BakedBagel

          July 28, 2016 at 15:26

          Why would i be upset?
          Xbox One is trash
          PS4 is trash

          What is there to be upset about?


          • HezAchimp

            July 28, 2016 at 15:28

            You are trash…in an article about consoles…calling them both trash.

          • BakedBagel

            July 28, 2016 at 15:29

            Sir, you are triggered.

            Edit: You seem upset?

          • Uchiha

            July 28, 2016 at 22:00

            I can’t even lie. I don’t understand why I have both consoles anymore. Or a console period!????

  5. Dane

    July 28, 2016 at 09:42



  6. Andre Fourie

    July 28, 2016 at 14:19

    In the end its all about personal preference, that’s all. I’m of the firm opinion that both these consoles are awesome in their own right and each have their own thing to bring to gamers. Some people prefer the Xbox exclusives, like me, and others not. Don’t understand why everybody is so intent knocking the console that they don’t prefer, when both are excellent in their own right. Stupid and extremely shortsighted if you ask me.


  7. Avithar

    July 28, 2016 at 15:31

    I had PS1 and 2 also had the 360 and now own the 1. The console war will forever rage on, at the end of the day way i see it, is if you a gamer no matter the platform there should be a certain degree of unity among all.


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