Sony’s Woes

I remember the first time I saw a Playstation. Not a PS2 or PS3; I’m talking about the original. You know…silver-colored finish with a circular lid that popped up like a toilet seat?

I didn’t have a clue as to what it was. To me, gaming meant one of two things: Nintendo or SEGA. I wasn’t interested. Then my brother, Jeremy, came home one day and said we needed to buy a Playstation because it had these great games he had played at a friend’s house. We got more use out of the demo disc that came with it than we did with most games. We were locked on: Playstation was it.

Of course, I was hooked on the PS2 when it came out as well. I’m not going to go into a lengthy explanation, I’m just going to say that it was my favorite system of all-time. No game system has ever had (or likely will ever have again) as diverse and amazing of a software library as the PS2. Case closed.

As of today, Sony has sold almost 118,000,000 PS2s, compared to 24,000,000 XBox consoles and 21,600,000 Gamecubes.

Then along comes the PS3. Facing an XBox 360 that’s already been out a year and the hype machine that is the Wii, the PS3 hit the market for $599. It has thus far been a disappointment in terms of sales. Although the Blu-ray capabilities make it an attractive buy for home theater nuts, it has yet to deliver the exclusive software that a blockbuster console requires. Would you rather pay $350 for a console (the 360) and play Madden, or would you rather pay $600 to play Madden with a slower framerate?

Others are opting to go down an entirely different route. 202,000 PS2s were sold in August of 2007, compared to the PS3’s 131,000 units. And of course you know about the Wii, which led the market with 404,000 units sold. The Wii offers a different perspective, broadening the market to includes older people and others who have never been gamers. So far, their “blue ocean” strategy has paid off tremendously well for them.

What the Playstation 3 desperately needs is a “real” price drop. The price of its 60 GB models was lowered to $499, but only until they go out of stock. The new 80 GB model remains at $599. If Sony doesn’t want to get manhandled this holiday season by the surging Wii and the still-strong XBox 360 (despite it’s hardware malfunction issues), they need to drop the price to a more realistic $400. If Sony does this, they will lose even more on each console sold, but they could gain back what they lose in eventual software sales.

To fall so far behind so quickly does not bode well for the PS3. Though Sony lists a 10-year plan for the PS3, it will never last that long in the minds of consumers, who seem content to go to the Wii for Nintendo-style gaming and the 360 for hardcore first-person-shooters and racing titles.

Sony, if you want to maintain your place in the gaming world, DROP YOUR PRICES!

Not that it affects me. I’m perfectly content with my Wii and DS. 😉


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