No PlayStation 3 model is getting a price cut this holiday season. Not the new ultra slim models. Not the old slim models.
Speaking with Engadget, Sony VP of marketing John Koller, said that the lack of a price drop at the suggested retail price level is because retailers are already running promotions that lower the price of the console significantly.
“There’s no price drop formally, but the thing that’s been happening in the market over the last year or so is that there’s been so many retail price promotions, and so many different gift card offers, and all those things, being done by all of us (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony), that we’ve heard from our consumer, ‘Enough with all these weird price moves. What we really want is content and games and value,’” said Koller.
That’s right: Having two models of PlayStation 3 on shelves, in more than 5 distinct hardware and game bundles, priced everywhere between $250 and over $300, is exactly the sort of clear pricing and value that customers so badly want.
If you squint real hard, you can see a layer of logic in Sony’s decision to release the brand new PlayStation 3 models at higher prices than what’s already on shelves. The company is reeling from two years of profound financial losses, the mediocre launch of a new handheld gaming system, and the cost of purchasing Ericsson’s half of its mobile phone business and trying to relaunch the line in an Apple-dominated market. Kaz Hirai, former head of SCEA and new Sony CEO, needs the PlayStation division to make some cash. Releasing a new system designed to save on production costs at a lower price won’t earn Sony that paper.
Sony desperately needs to expand the PlayStation 3’s audience, though, before the market ceases to exist. If Sony thinks that it can keep people interested in its console for another two years, no matter how full its release schedule is with games like The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls, it’s in for a rude awakening. The only thing that can revitalize the PlayStation 3 at his juncture is a price point below $200. If Sony doesn’t want to lower the price of the new models, why not clear out old stock at a $199 price point? Why not release the 12GB flash memory PlayStation 3 in the United States at $199? “The smaller flash drive isn’t coming to North America, and a lot of that reason is the digital consumer. We really want to make sure, out of the box, that there is an option for them to be able to download that content,” said Koller. Then release a branded hard drive expansion along with it, Sony!
This is the face of holiday sales suicide.