Sony Hints of PS3 Price Cuts

By  |  Friday, May 15, 2009 at 8:27 am

playstation3The last time everyone got excited for a Playstation 3 price cut, only to be disappointed, I swore off reporting on the matter, but only on the word of analysts, retailers, game publishers or other blogs. Here’s my loophole:

The whispers are now coming directly from Sony. In a conference call with overseas investors, the company said it plans to sell 30 percent more consoles this year than in 2008, CNBC reports. Asked specifically by an analyst about price cuts, corporate executive officer Nobuyuki Oneda said Sony had nothing to announce at the moment, indicating that he couldn’t discuss pricing strategies because it would affect inventory.

But then, another analyst asked how, exactly, Sony planned to reach 13 million PS3 sales this year. “Well, I think you have to guess what will be our pricing strategy,” Oneda said.

I would have liked to hear the tone of Oneda’s voice. It was probably straightforward, but I’m imagining a “that’s for me to know and you to find out” kind of coyness. Anyhow, there’s more reason than ever to speculate when, rather than if, the PS3’s price will come down.

E3 would be the obvious time to make grand announcement, but there’s also a feeling Sony will wait until August to squeeze out some more higher-priced sales before entering the holiday season. As CNBC points out, though, even a little sign like this is a warning to consumers. That’s why Sony has been so adamant in denying every previous rumor. Now it’s creating one, so why wait to seal the deal?

It’s worth mentioning that Nintendo projects flat sales figures for the current fiscal year, meaning it’ll sell roughly the same 26 million Wiis and 30 million Nintendo DSs this year as it did last year. Granted, Sony and Nintendo are in different boats, but we’ve had two months in a row of US sales declines for the PS3 compared to 2008, and two months of overall losses for the industry. The recession may finally be taking its toll.

For Sony to battle declining sales, it’ll have to do something drastic. I think we’ll have to guess what that will be.

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