Sony launched the PlayStation 3 hot off the unprecedented success of the PlayStation 2. It had sold over 136 million worldwide, featured DVD compatibility, backward compatibility to the original PlayStation and had processing power (real or imagined) that blew away the competition in the public's eye. That Sony would launch a successful follow-up seemed to be a no-brainer. That this successor would only build on its predecessor seemed only inevitable.
But it wasn't meant to be and in hindsight we should have seen it coming after the many stumbles Sony made with the PS3.
First there was the proclamation from one Sony exec who said that gamers would gladly "get a second job" just to be able to afford the PS3. That was of course followed by the $600 price tag. Sony, in an attempt to turn the PlayStation 3 into the media hub the PlayStation 2 was meant to be, crammed every piece of technology under the sun into the PlayStation 3. It had one HDMI port, one ethernet port and four USB ports—an earlier prototype had even more. And it had an expensive Blu-Ray optical drive—it was lucky that this format beat out the HD-DVD. The Blu-Ray drive has been speculated to account for at least half the total manufacturing costs of the PlayStation 3. Estimates are that Sony was losing $200 per unit even at the $600 price point.
Then there were the delays. The PlayStation 3 launched six months later than scheduled and with an appallingly small allocation of launch units.
Then there was the controller fiasco. Some have argued that it was a last minute answer to Nintendo and its well-received Wii controller, but Sony couldn't wait to show off Sixasix controls and proclaim it was bringing its own "revolution" to gaming. Unfortunately, Sixaxis didn't really work, or at least it didn't work well with many games that supported it. It also lacked forced-feedback technology which is now just called "rumble" and is pretty much an industry standard. It took Sony forever to give up on the boomerang design and essentially go back to the original PlayStation for an answer to its next-generation gamepad.
The last thing, in Sony's defense is not really the company's fault, but was a reality that the market that to adapt to. The world's economy went off a cliff in 2008 and people weren't spending money like they wanted to. Because it meant short-term financial pain, Sony kept its price point at $400 leaving it the most expensive game console and well outside the view of most financially strapped consumers.
Why this brief trip through PlayStation 3 history? Well it's just to illustrate how overdue this move is. Don't get me wrong, it's a smart move on Sony's part and is sure to reap dividends, it's just that it took this company so long to act when the writing was on the wall for all to see.
The hardware situation has settled down and the PlayStation 3 has the right hardware that gamers would want. Blu-Ray is the new standard and the PlayStation 3 is supposed to have one of the best Blu-Ray drives available. And finally Sony has gotten some killer-apps in the form of Grand Theft Auto IV and Metal Gear Solid 4.
What it has lacked until now in its losing battle with the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii is a compelling price point.
That looks like it will finally change this September—or maybe before that. Sony has announced it will drop the price of the PlayStation 3 (80GB model) priced at $399 to $299 immediately. That means you can run out right now and get the current PlayStation 3 for $299. What interesting though is that in a couple of weeks (September 1st), you can go to you local electronics chain and get a sexy new, slim version of the PlayStation 3 for $299 as well. On top of that the slimmer version comes with a 120GB hard drive.
On par with the an Xbox 360 Pro and costing just $50 more than a Nintendo Wii, the PlayStation 3 is finally looking like a great deal for anyone who has been sitting on the fence til now.
- Extra Credits: Differences in Scale vs Differences in Kind - May 15, 2013
- Extra Credits: Why Console Specs Don’t Matter - May 3, 2013
- Extra Credits:Intrinsic vs Extrinsic - April 27, 2013
Let me know when PS2 emulation is put back in 😛
I like shiny things too.
PS3 sales have been flat. The only console ahead of the game compared to last year is the 360. PS3 sales have been consistently 30 thousand a week for the past 4 months, the Wii has dropped from 85 to 63 and the 360 has gone up from 44 to 51. Now, I’m sure there will be an uptick for the PS3 for the end of August – month of September. Then it will drop back down.
Sorry, Dale, but I don’t see the games. In your blog, the only “killer app” that was actually exclusive to the PS3 was MGS4. And, as we’ve discussed on the site more than once, it’s not that great. GTA4’s sales on the PS3 were utterly slaughtered by the 360 version. Most side-by-side comparisons of games tend to favour the 360 version, or it’s a complete wash. No, the biggest problem with the PS3 is its irrelevance. Other than a Blu-ray drive – which, by the by, is the only reason it gets switched on in my house – what does… Read more »
[quote=Vince]That said, yes, I agree that the PS3 is now a good deal for anyone who has wanted one but found the price a bit too much. I don’t agree that the price drop makes the PS3 more appealing than the other systems.[/quote]I have to disagree here. It’s not like people just forget about the PS3. It’s predecessors were the default gaming console of their respective generation. That’s a lot of collateral that Sony still has. Sony just kept getting in its own way and gave Microsoft and Nintendo to a nice cushy head start. What has really hurt sales… Read more »
The underlying theme of Sony this generation has been its hubris. From the beginning the executives made it sound like gamers would willing bend over backwards to get this gift from the gods. Not only was it expensive, but they made no mistakes when everyone else was was failing to provide a complete package. Maybe when this generation launched price was an issue, but now its more perception than anything else. Sony has BluRay, the 360 has download. The PS3 has a library, but you can’t just say ‘killer app’ and its a killer app. Killer apps speak for themselves.… Read more »