It’s official – the PlayStation 3 has dropped $100 less than
eight months after it’s highly anticipated launch. According to the official press
release, the current 60GB will carry a $499 price tag effective today.
The $499 price point was previously occupied by the 20GB
version of the PlayStation 3. Citing reasons related to consumer demand, Sony in April
discontinued the $499 20GB PlayStation 3 leaving only the more expensive
60GB model on the market.
Word of the price cut first appeared last week when retailer
flyers appeared across the U.S. and Canada showing the Sony console with
the lower price. It was originally believed that Sony would announce the price
cut during its E3 press conference on July 11, though the company may have
decided to bump up its date after the cat found its way out of the bag.
Unknown last week, but announced today by SCEA is an
upcoming new PlayStation 3 model with an 80GB hard drive. The 80GB PlayStation
3 will occupy the $599 price point that the 60GB previously held, and will also
come packed in with a full version of racing game MotorStorm. The 80GB MotorStorm
bundle will begin shipping in August.
“As we move into the next phase of PS3, it's important that
we continue to evaluate our product line, offering consumers the technology and
features that meet their growing needs for new forms of media and the way in
which it is delivered,” said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA. “The
introduction of the 80GB PS3, the new pricing for the current 60GB model, the
availability of more than 100 new software titles this fiscal year and,
finally, the expansion of services for PlayStation Network, will provide even
more options for users and will help bring new consumers into the PS3 fold.”
Rumblings of a PlayStation 3 with larger hard disk drive
capacity first came in March when Sony filed with the FCC papers describing a PlayStation 3
with an 80 GB hard drive inside. Sony did not confirm nor deny the plans
for an 80 GB unit at that time, saying only, “As mentioned when we made the
product announcement for PS3, the system will have different configurations
(thus, 60GB HDD with memory card slots and Wi-Fi and 20GB HDD without memory
card slots or Wi-Fi both exist). Application to the FCC has been made with
various possibilities in mind, however, it does not lead to a new product
announcement at this time.”
Then, during the second half of May, Sony announced an 80GB PlayStation 3 for
the Korean market, citing the country’s high speed network infrastructure
and video-on-demand systems as a reason for the extra 20GB.
After the 80GB PlayStation 3 was revealed for Korea, SCEA
responded to questions regarding the larger drive’s release in North America,
saying, “We’re constantly looking at new… configurations [for PS3], but
currently there are no plans to change current hardware offerings [in North
Now that the price of the 60GB PS3 is slashed by $100, might
this be a sign of things to come for Europe and Australia? Not yet, as Karraker
says, “This news does not affect any other PS3 territory.”
Only eight months after release, the price cut for the PS3
may be one of the quickest in console history. With $100 off the current top
model, Sony may be responding to the relatively sluggish sales of its consoles
when compared against its competition.
Price is a common point of contention for those who haven’t
yet picked up a PlayStation 3, though many point to the current lack of
exclusive, compelling software. “Even with a $100 drop, the PS3 is still the
high-end console,” Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian told GameSpot. “But price cuts typically
generate incremental demand, and I don't think this situation will be any
different. Bottom line, this may not be enough to kick-start PS3 sales into the
mass market—but it's a good first step.”
quote: Expect Sony to have a major marketing blitz this holiday season and get the word out that the PS3 has FINALLY become the system that it promised.