I ranted yesterday about the new "lilac" PSP that Sony will be releasing with a Hannah Montana bundle to target tween girls. I don't fault them for that - it's a market, it's money, you gotta do what you gotta do. However, their other announcements at E3 this year were a little less on the good side.
I watched the Sony press conference live on Gamespot, and one thing that really looked cool to me was the PSP Go. A nifty, smaller version of the PSP, with the ability to download files and look more adorable.
Unfortunately, as you can see in this picture, the biggest problem here is PRICE, and this is my biggest complaint with Sony. The presenter of the PSP Go! at E3 was talking all about the cool new features of the system, and he finally announced that it will cost $250, for a HANDHELD, and honestly I was just in shock. Know how much a Wii is? THE SAME PRICE! For an entire PLATFORM! The Nintendo DS is $130, HALF the price of the PSP Go. Sony did say that they were "dropp[ing] the price of the PSP development kit by 80 percent, which should ease developer costs and bring even more games to the handheld." (Gamespot) Well that's great for them, but it'd be nice if the people who want to actually play the games could get a price cut too. During the press conference, they mentioned how the PS2 was actually outselling nextgen systems. I can only assume that PS3 is one of those it's outselling.
Yes, there are cool games for Playstation platforms, and plenty of them are Playstation only. I may not be a Final Fantasy fan, but I know a lot of people are. Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari are more my style, and I can't play those two on anything but my (old school, amazingly still functioning, original) ps2. Plus, of course, LittleBigPlanet is great, and that does make me want a PS3. But not at these prices. There are some cool, really original ideas on these systems. Unfortunately, it's difficult to check them out because Sony refuses to see reason when it comes to how much their systems cost.
Remember when the PS3 came out and it was like $400 and everyone thought it was ridiculous? And how Sony was all, "hey don't even worry about it guys, it doesn't just play games, it's also a BLU RAY player! It's an ENTIRE ENTERTAINMENT CENTER!!!" Well according to this article, more than half of the people who bought PS3s don't know or don't care:
"According to the results, only 40% of PlayStation 3 owners polled were aware the machine had a Blu-ray player and about 50% of that number had popped in a Blu-ray movie during the last 10 times they turned on the machine -- the other half didn't use the feature."
Admittedly, this article was published in '07, and blu ray has become more popular since then, so I can only hope that more people realize/use this feature on their PS3s. But this doesn't change the fact that they marked up the system, largely, I assume, because of the addition of blu ray capability, and 60% of the people who owned it had NO IDEA. Wow, and apparently PS3s still sell for $400. My god. To compare - $200 Xbox 360 and $250 Wii, both as new systems from Gamestop.
I'm talking about all of this because of an article Gamespot has featured today, where Activision is just about ready to give up on the PS3 and PSP because they're too damn expensive to both develop for and purchase. The PS3 is still way behind the 360 and Wii in how much they've sold.
"I'm getting concerned about Sony; the PlayStation 3 is losing a bit of momentum and they don't make it easy for me to support the platform," he said. "It's expensive to develop for the console, and the Wii and the Xbox are just selling better. Games generate a better return on invested capital on the Xbox than on the PlayStation."
"They have to cut the price, because if they don't, the attach rates are likely to slow," he continued. "If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony." When asked about a time frame he said, "When we look at 2010 and 2011, we might want to consider if we supportthe console--and the PSP."
-"Activision threatens to drop PS3, PSP" at Gamespot
How much worse can it get when a major developer flat-out says you are charging way too much for most people to consider buying your systems? Yes, games are still doing pretty well, even in the recession. But the fact that Sony thinks they can charge $400 for a system and $250 for a handheld, when Nintendo charges $250 and Microsoft charges $200 for a system, just seems totally unreasonable. Yes, the PS3 is still selling. But is it selling well? Definitely not. Would a price drop change that? No guarantees, but it definitely couldn't hurt.
Overpricing stuff doesn't mean your system is better, Sony. It just means it costs more.