Along with the Neo Geo and 3DO, the PlayStation 3 is one of
the most expensive consoles ever released. While price drops are inevitable
during any console’s lifespan, those holding off until a cheaper PS3 rolls
around may find themselves waiting longer than expected. As noted by Joystiq,
Game Informer magazine interviewed
SCEA’s President and CEO Jack Tretton and one of the topics discussed was PS3’s
The magazine asked if the PS3 would see a price drop
schedule similar to PS2, which saw a reduction of a third from $299 to $199 just
over a year and a half after launch. Tretton replied to the question with a
simple “No,” thus leaving the current price points where they are at for at
least the rest of 2007.
Tretton reasoned that the enormous R&D costs of the PS3
make it “a lot more difficult to cost reduce” than the PS2. “There's a heck of
a lot more under the hood and it costs us more money to make it,” said Tretton.
He may be referring to the fact that Sony is selling every one of its new
consoles at a loss, making it nearly impossible to move on the price until
manufacturing costs are reduced. Analysts currently estimate that Sony is
taking a $241 hit
on 60GB versions, and a $307 loss on 20GB PS3s.
The Sony executive remained confident in the machine’s price
point, saying that the PS3 still represents an excellent value. “I think the
consumers that get their hands on a PlayStation 3 clearly see the value and not
only want to buy one for $599, in some instances they're willing to pay
ridiculous prices to buy one on eBay,” Tretton said.
While Tretton’s words apply specifically to the North
American market, the pricing situation is a little different in other
territories. The Japanese market received a price-reduced to
¥49,980 ($411) 20GB PS3 before the machine even launched in
response to public outcry.
European gamers, who have had to wait for PS3 whether they mind it
or not, will be seeing
the new console in March at €599 ($777) for the 60GB, and €499 ($648) for
the 20GB models – considerably higher than what North Americans and Japanese
pay. The UK may get the worst of it all, as the 60GB PS3 will go for £425
($842) for the 20GB PS3 it will be £350 ($694).
Although Europe may always lag behind the rest of the world
for console releases, it may be the first territory to receive a drop in price.
With the PS3 selling in Europe at prices much closer to the machine’s
manufacturing costs, Sony could have a lot more room to work with. If the PS3
gets a lukewarm – or even cold – reception at launch, it may not be surprising
to see adjustments to price or, more likely, the introduction of value-added
Going back to Japan, demand for the machine appears to be so
low in certain parts of the country that retailers have taken it upon
themselves to lower the price. Kotaku
reports that sales of the console are so stagnant in Japan that select
retailers are taking 20 percent off the price of the 20GB console in hopes to
attract buyers. At the sale
price of ¥39,980 ($329), Japan has PlayStation 3 at prices that make the
rest of the world jealous.