Monday, July 23, 2007

Sony: Price cut would "annoy" UK customers

You know what really irks me? When poorly-selling, overly expensive electronic hardware is given a price cut. Nothing bugs me more, seriously. At least, that's what Sony's David Reeves, the head of SCEE, thinks.

Just when I thought Sony's PR machine couldn't do or say anything even more stupid than their pre-release hype, they come out with this absolute gem.

Reeves has claimed that the reason the UK will not be getting a price cut on their £425 PS3 is because he believes that doing so would, "annoy a lot of people".

On top of that foot-in-mouth moment, Reeves also stated that he doesn't think a price cut in time for Christmas 2007 is important, but instead 2008 will be more of a critical time for dropping the PS3's RRP.

Finally, Reeves is quoted as saying, "I see [the PS3] more as kind of like a tsunami - it starts small and gathers speed, and eventually, after four or five years, it will start to take you over."

Now, it's been said before by PlayStation big-shots that Sony has a ten-year plan for the PS3, and they expect the machine to have the hardware grunt to last at least a decade before they need to start on the PS4. But it seems ridiculous to suggest that it will be "four or five years" until the machine starts to take over?

If Sony don't sell the machines - and they won't, at £425 - they won't sell software or Blu-ray discs, which is where the money's really at. After another year or so they might have gotten manufacturing costs down enough to turn a small profit on each box they sell, but by then the 360 and Wii will be even further out in front than they are now.

I sort of applaud Sony for having a long-term machine, rather than the usual rapid upgrades you expect from videogame generations, but at the same time it seems like a ludicrous strategy to launch with a machine that few people would deny is overpriced and has a lack of AAA titles. They've fallen so far behind thanks to that double-punch, it's hard to see how Sony could reclaim the top market share, especially against the sales behemoth of Nintendo's Wii.

Microsoft's hardware woes might put the brakes on their efforts a little, but the 360 still has a tremendous library of games, some of which are famous as PlayStation titles; in addition to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Microsoft will be hosting the next installments of Devil May Cry and, rumour has it, Metal Gear Solid. The one weak point in Microsoft's giant enemy crab is the Japanese market, but even there the 360's doing much better than anyone would have expected, and it's not all that far behind the PS3 (compared to Wii, anyway).

It's easy enough to paint the PS3 as an investment - Sony don't have much choice with the initial outlay required of consumers - but so far there's been little to suggest that it's an investment that will pay off, in entertainment terms. Especially with high-definition standalone players falling in price faster than the PS3, the biggest selling point of the PS3 given it's current lack of software - that it's a cheap Blu-ray player - seems to only be getting weaker and weaker.

1 comment:

arecibo said...

If Sony tells me that it's going to take four years for the PS3 to take over, that just makes me think: why didn't they launch it four years ago?