Sony had originally planned to launch the PlayStation 4 at $499 - the exact same as the confirmed and much-debated Xbox One launch price.
That's according to 'multiple sources' speaking to IGN, who claim that the firm revised its pricing strategy 'in the months leading up to E3', ditching plans to bundle a PS4 Camera with every console to accommodate an undisclosed price drop of $100 to the eventually announced $399 PS4 price.
According to the report, Sony discretely notified retailers of its decision to remove the Camera from the PS4 box, but said nothing of its reduced price to avoid word getting back to Microsoft.
Sony's favorable price point attracted loud cheers from attendees of its E3 press conference where the announcement was made, and has given it a critical and easily marketable edge over Microsoft, which bundles a mandatory Kinect sensor with every Xbox One for $499.
This, along with the furor surrounding Xbox One's DRM, has left PS4 winning early popularity polls, and Microsoft challenged to justify the Xbox One as the significantly most expensive games console on the market.
"We're over-delivering value against other choices I think consumers can get," said Microsoft exec Don Mattrick recently in defense of the Xbox One price. "Any modern product these days, you look at it [and] $499 isn't a ridiculous price point," he added.
Sony debuted the PS4 Camera at its first PS4 reveal event back in February. The camera was shown to work in tandem with an illuminated lightbar strip on the top of the new DualShock 4 controller to offer precise motion detection on par with the PS3's much praised Move controller.
While it was never definitively confirmed, the camera's prominence in the opening PS4 reveal certainly positioned it as a pack-in device and a key component of the DualShock 4's new capabilities.
PS4's favorable price has won Sony points in the pre-launch PR battle, but if true, its late decision not to bundle the camera with every PS4 is not without significant consequences.
As a pack-in device, developers will be able to develop Xbox One games with integral Kinect functionality safe in the knowledge that every owner will have one. This will not be the case with PS4's camera, consigning it to a future of non-critical implementation - if any - in titles that aren't willing to deal with the contraints of a split installed user base inherent to optional peripherals.
Plus, the DualShock 4's lightbar is a major feature that will be rendered largely redundant to those who chose not to buy Sony's sold-seperately camera.