Whilst you should always take an analyst's word with a pinch of salt, their estimates on prices are usually well thought out. Investment firm Wedbush Morgan has made some comments on the pricing and production costs of both next-gen consoles, with Michael Pachter, analyst for the company, stating that the PlayStation 4 will retail in the United States for $349.
He also stated that the Xbox One could retail for $399, and that production costs for each individual Xbox is $325. The PlayStation 4 is also similarly priced with a production cost of $275.
If these stats are true, there's no denying that these prices are quite fair on the customer considering the high production costs, however, Michael Pachter has been wrong in the past, like many analysts.
Pachter also talked about possible subscription methods for the Xbox. This would make sense - Microsoft has already tried such plans for the Xbox 360 in the US.
"We believe the ability to watch live TV from a cable, telco, or satellite set-top box through Xbox One could entice an MSO to drive subscriptions through a subsidized box in exchange for a multi-year contract. The 'always connected' requirement for the Xbox One likely means that a broadband connection will be required, suggesting to us that ISPs may have an incentive to offer a subsidy as well.
"In addition, Microsoft could conceivably subsidize the Xbox One through prepaid Xbox Live Gold subscriptions (as it has done on a limited basis in the past) or premium Skype functionality as well. Similarly, Sony could subsidize the PS4 through prepaid PlayStation Network subscriptions, but unlike Microsoft, it does not have a history of doing so," Pachter stated.
Would you prefer to buy a console outright or have the opportunity to spend bit-by-bit each month, similarly to a smartphone contract?