It all really boils down to when the PS4K releases and what it's going up against, the Slim or the more power Xbox One. Also, price will play a huge factor in how it troubles the PS4K. If it's battling the Slim at a big price difference, you could see it cutting into the profits a bit.
If Microsoft is aligning an Xbox One slim for late 2016 and the reports of PS4.5 arriving in time for PSVR are true, Sony doesn't have much to worry about at least for now. Cam's right, pricing will be a huge factor, but if the USP of the PS4.5 is increased processing power and 4K support, it's an easier sell than a new Xbox One console tier that is reportedly 40% smaller and little else.
If confusing the market was a bad idea for PlayStation 4, it's a worse idea for Xbox One. The Xbox One is selling for insanely low prices with incredible bundle deals already. If that wasn't enough to swing the pendulum, new models definitely won't be. As for what it means to Sony, not much. As long as they don't let themselves get too undercut with price, the Xbox One Slim or 1.5 won't be what hold PS4K back.
The draw of consoles for most is the fact that there is very little to figure out. You buy one box and it plays the games designated for it. We've seen firsthand on the PlayStation side of things the failure of attempting to branch out into things like phones, streaming boxes, and even a dedicated 3D TV. Current rumors have a couple new Xbox consoles and a bunch of new Xbox branded products including streaming boxes and the like.
Consumers lambaste every new model of iPhone that is released, as new hardware means new bugs and issues to work out rather than perfecting the existing hardware and OS integration. Iterating a console is exactly what console gamers were trying to get away from. They wanted something with a shelf life. Early adopters will begin to feel like test monkeys as newer models come out with new features. And yet, if it works for phones, could it work for an Xbox?
Personally I doubt the strategy will pay off all that spectacularly. It's going to add confusion to an already confusing market with console manufacturers making terrible naming decisions and lacking strong marketing towards those outside the gaming sphere. Gaming is a growing market, and it seems the current strategy is to throw a bunch of products at the consumer and hope that they pick up something.
I get the slim models. They often run cooler, on less energy, and are generally more reliable than the first iteration of consoles. But like Chandler mentioned, we buy consoles with the understanding that we'll be able to play the latest-and-greatest games for at least a handful of years! So even if this Xbox One-Two (ugh!) has full backwards compatibility with the Xbox One, it's going to have the same effect that the PS4K may have on current-gen consumers, where it feels like they're being given the short end of the stick fairly early on into this generation. On the other hand, technology advances so rapidly these days, that shorter life spans of gaming consoles feels somewhat inevitable...
I admit that none of this is making sense to me right now. I get the whole slim model thing but not new hardware with different specs just a few years after release, especially since both consoles (despite Xbox One trailing behind in competition) are selling far more than the previous generation. If it's confusing a long-time console gamer like me, it's definitely going to confuse new consumers. I was going to pick up an Xbox One as my second console but I'm understandably holding off now. I can see a lot of people doing the same so expect short-term industry sales to hit a new low in light of these rumors.
I'm with Chandler and PMC on this one. I mean, I game (even before) on consoles rather than PC so I didn't have to deal with graphics cards, motherboards, etc. With the way these reports are swinging to, it seems Microsoft is headed in that direction.
Will it affect the PS4K? I'd like to think not...if Sony markets it the right way. However, I am kinda scared that this might prompt Sony to release a more powerful PS4K just to match the more powerful Xbox One. And if this happens, where do we go from there? Mid-generation releases for console cycles? I hope not.
Will gamers embrace it? We can't say for sure. Sony has a big lead though and I highly doubt Microsoft can catch it even with a beefier console.
I don't think Sony should be worried, but you never know how these things pan out.
Going down the slim route is fine by me, as my Xbox One is indeed a monster and could do with a diet. Other than that, however, I have no idea what Microsoft is thinking here!
If the PS4K has me confused (which is bloody well does!), then the rumors of an Xbox 1.5 has me entirely befuddled.