Tag Archives | PlayStation 3

Calls Increase for PS3 Price Cut

playstation3The story, linked in Harry’s 5Words, is getting old. Sony’s attempts to hush the calls for a Playstation 3 price cut resemble a substitute teacher trying to calm the classroom — a momentary lull that slowly grows into even greater cacophony.

The latest round began earlier this month, when Electronic Arts Redwood Shores manager Glen Schofield said he hoped Sony could figure out how to reconcile the PS3’s high price tag with the current economic climate. Last week, Media Molecule founder Alex Evans — whose company developed LittleBigPlanet — expressed to Gamasutra that the console’s price should go down soon. Analysts have added to the chatter as well, and today, Bloomberg writes that Sony is facing pressure from publishers.

“Sony obviously still has a ways to go with their pricing,” said Peter Moore, the head of EA Sports. Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft Entertainment SA, said game makers stand to gain any time a console slashes its price.

But Sony is in a bind now, because its console is still too expensive to manufacture. In October, market researcher iSuppli cracked open the Playstation 3 and analyzed its innards. The total cost was down 30 percent from the first-generation, to $448.73, but that still means Sony is losing money on every $399 console it sells. A price drop doesn’t seem wise after the company posted its first annual loss in 14 years.

Appropriately, Sony’s senior marketing VP Peter Dille fired back at critics. “Everybody in the development community would love for the PS3 to be free, so they could just sell razor blades,” he said, adding that the company has to worry about profits as well as the console’s install base.

I’ve read elsewhere that if Sony announces a price cut, it’ll happen at the end of March, after the company closes its financial year. My first thought was “bad call,” as most of this season’s major releases — Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil 5 and the PS3-exclusive Killzone 2 — have come and gone. On the other hand, maybe a price cut is the right prescription as the industry braces for a momentary lull. That way, Sony will be good and ready for the summer and holiday season.


Playstation 3 Movies Surprisingly Successful

playstation3While there’s much fawning over the Xbox 360’s streaming Netflix service, it appears that Sony is doing quite well distributing movies on its own over the Playstation Network.

The story in Variety notes that Sony has made $180 million on “pieces of digital content” — more than 380 million downloads in all — since the company brought TV and movies the Playstation 3’s online service last summer. Praise for both Microsoft and Sony follows, saying that they “may have achieved something of a breakthrough as studios try to figure out the digital age.”

It seems obvious that the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are prime candidates for digital distribution onto televisions. With total worldwide sales easily topping 20 million for both consoles, the install base is already there. Plus, a lot of it is that golden 18-35 demograhic, particularly with the PS3. They’re downloading “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man” and “The Pineapple Express” in mass quantities, Variety says. Of Sony’s digital offerings, the company says 65 percent are purchased, and the rest are rented.

I never expected video on demand to do as well on consoles as this report suggests. My money was always on free streaming video sites like Hulu to swoop in and offer content gratis. With the exception of YouTube, that hasn’t happened, and Hulu is having it’s own distribution issues right now.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like the studios need those other services. If people are willing to pay for on demand video over their consoles, why offer it for free?


Sony vs. Microsoft: A History of Trash Talk

xbox360ps3When Microsoft boasted of 1 million sign-ups for the Xbox 360’s Netflix application — covered briefly Thursday in Harry’s “5Words” news roundup — Sony struck back, saying the Playstation 3’s movies and rentals download faster and don’t require subscription fees. Ouch.

But this was just the latest in an endless back-and-forth between the rival companies. Taken as a whole, this record of petty bickering actually makes for a good overview of each console’s pros and cons. Join us after the jump for more snipes, disses and burns. Continue Reading →


Sony’s Hirai Suffers Delusion, Thinks PS3 Leads Market

sonylogoI think somebody’s off their rocker. In comments to the company’s official rag PlayStation Magazine, Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Kaz Hirai made the unusual claim that install base numbers are worthless: the PS3 is still the official leader in the industry.

Pay no attention to the fact that the console is in third in overall console sales, that it was outsold by the Xbox by a 2-to-1 margin over the holiday, or that it still cannot attract decent exclusives. Because Mr. Hirai says it, we shall all bow to the PS3’s power.

Of course, Hirai’s comments are peppered with jabs at its competitors: that the Xbox is aimed at short term success while the PS3 is on a ten-year plan, and that Nintendo operates “in a different world.”

Nevermind that the console is difficult to program for because Sony did that on purpose, Hirai claims. His argument is this: if the console was easy to develop for, then developers would not take full advantage of the consoles power.

Okay, that makes sense. Make life difficult for the people who sell your equipment. That should work! I bet any game developer wants to spend twice the amount of time just to develop for a console that in the end has a smaller install base than its competitors.

I think its time for Sony to start realizing that the PS3’s business model did NOT work. I sure hope when it comes around to the fourth generation the company applies what it learns, but as stubborn as Sony is, I’m betting that won’t happen.


Wild Prediction: New Game Consoles in 2010, 2011

Nintendo Entertainment SystemAdmittedly I’m no Michael Pachter when it comes to foretelling the future of video games, but with Microsoft exec Robbie Bach saying that we won’t see a new Xbox 360 for a while, the temptation to speculate is too overwhelming. So join me as I wildly predict when the next round of consoles will come along.

Continue Reading →