Rumors Aflight – Sony’s Holiday Pricing Plan

Where the hell are all these rumors coming from on a late Sunday night? “Insider sources” strike at the strangest times. Though the Wii Zapper news below does seem to have been echoed on several sites, the latest seems a tad more suspect.

Ars Technica blog, Opposable Thumbs, reports Sony’s supposed PS3 SKUs going into the 2007 holiday season:

  • 80GB PlayStation 3: $499.99
  • 40GB PlayStation 3: $399.99
  • Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray movie pack in with one, or both

The news is as fantastic as it is baffling. Let’s face it, price is still the major hurdle to overcome. The hardware is solid as a rock and it really is jam-packed with all kinds of wonderful features, but still lacks a significant enough showcase to convince consumers-at-large that it’s worth the money. So either something mind-blowing needs to hit the platform, or the price needs to come down. Preferrably both. Sony has a very strong Fall software line-up, but it’s noticeably lacking in familiar franchises. I’m not one to knock developers for establishing new IPs, but virtually every one of the majors is (or lacked a world-wide audience in the first place, re: Singstar). Sony needs an anchor for all the fresh franchises to moor onto. Spider-Man 3 doesn’t count, as Blu-ray video playback is still a secondary feature, no matter how much Sony tries to pimp it. It wouldn’t be enough to rescue the platform.

Without getting too far off on a tangent, though, a lot of consumers would probably be willing to take a chance on new IPs if the console hit the right price point. A $399 SKU might just go far enough if it doesn’t end up confusing the public further. If the 40 gig pack becomes a reality, that means that Sony will have gone through four different SKUs in the span of the year (more than that if you consider the proposed $499 80 gig model different from the recently-released one bundled with Motorstorm). Plus, it’s got to be considered where “40 gig” falls in the grand scheme of things. Is it even viable or realistic for Sony to go out of their way to manufacture a set of PS3s with another size hard drive? Despite what Sony might think you think and what Microsoft actually puts into practice (the 20 gig 360 hard drive is still a crisp Franklin), the cost difference between the disk sizes is not that great.

It’s that point that really puts this rumor into question. Opposable Thumbs swears by their source, though, claiming previous validation of several Xbox 360 rumors. The post also cites a $99 Playstation 2, which is a much more realistic proposition (though the system continues to sell fantastically at its current price). Perhaps the work week (or the impending behemoth that is the Tokyo Game Show) will shed some more light on the situation.

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~ by Cavin Smith on September 10, 2007.

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