Guest Columnist: The PS3 Needs to Be “Underpriced”

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Boober the Pig:
The PS3 is actually trying to reach two very different markets. First, people without a current console, for these people the low price, stripped down option might work. Second is the "and" group. People that have a 360 or Wii or both already. I am part of the "and" group and I am simply waiting for a game or combination of games to make it worth my while. I would already have one if the backward compatibility were better. When my PS2 broke I wanted a replacement, I would have bought a PS3 if the backward compatibility of my games weren't questionable. As reviews for Lair, Heavenly Sword, and Uncharted came out I didn't see any of them as worth the price of the console. The Metal Gear series sort of lost me after 2, (I hate long cut scenes). So I wait for God of War III, Little Big Planet, etc. If anything looks great, not good but great I may take the plunge. Until something great is released exclusively for the PS3, most of the "and" group will probably wait as well.

P.S. The PS2 proved to be a very poor DVD player in it's early releases so I am not really interested in the Blu Ray player part of the machine. I do have a nice HD TV and a few forms of HD input so I don't consider this a strong selling point.

You haven't looked at Resistance yet?

Warhawk remains my second favorite online experience of this Generation.

Sigh for those of you saying "ZOMG I DOZNTS HAVZ DEH HDTVZ" guess what other people do! Furthermore Sony knows full well that CRT type televisions are on the way out, and SD signals tend to look like ass on an LCD.

Okay, there's just a load of nonsense and stupid things posted in that thread, it hurts. Top of my head: Sony is Asian, so they like MONEY.

The only question that should be asked is if lowering the price now will let Sony build up enough numbers to reach those checkpoints they have established with their shareholders for the next couple of years?

Let's look at it.
The PS3 being more powerful is barely noticed, and barely matters. It's also more difficult to work on, and with the higher budgets these days, studios will go for the shorter route, the 360.

Now, even if the PS3 really started to sell more, for some reason, would there be enough differences to make the PS3 a better choice?
In terms of power, it's arguably even.
Games? Even as well, all speak of the death of exclusives, which is what has largely driven the sales of brand products, aside from the price.

Even if Sony started to sell more PS3s, maybe a few studios would pay a bit more attention to the console, but would it still make a big difference?
Would that even trigger a return of more exclusives?
I'm not sure of it.

What are the console's advantages?

Blu-ray player
Between those who still go with mere DVDs, and those who don't believe in BR either because they think the format war is still going or that the product is too unstable, market wise, and therefore not making the jump, the BR player alone is not enough.
That player is not the best deal you can get.

Japanese battlefield
Sony only manages to get returns from the Japanese market because the 360 fails there, as far as Hardcore vs. Hardcore goes. That's not much a proof of success than it is exploiting the enemy's weakness which is might end sooner or later. The PS3's success in Japan is not so assured (sometimes sales per week get low), and basically trampled by the Wii anyway.
Still, localized hardcore Japanese games is likely what can drive the PS3 sales, but it does rely on a geographically limited market and still is about exclusive titles, in a way which is quite too exclusive in fact, as they don't make it oversea. Obviously, it would be very hard to have such pro-Japan games be high budgets. In general, they'd be lower budget games, while AAA titles would get US and EU versions. There may be exceptions to this, but the days of JRPGs never getting know by gaijin markets are really coming to an end.

European battlefield
The PS3 is still ahead of the 360 on weekly sales, but Microsoft is reinforcing its incursion into Europe, which may end with both consoles battling head to head with no real winner.

Brand loyalty
Most of all, Sony relies on their PS2 customers. Yet, Sony people are certainly not giving any good reason to side with them for this generation. The one that makes the largest difference as far as the overall market is concerned, is the price. Even there, i fails.
That said, converting more former owners of the PS2 into PS3 owners is not going to automatically put Sony out of its issues, because the goal is still to grab as many customers from all borders as much as possible.

Etiquette
On that point, the PS3 has a sort of advantage in its image, in that it's not being seen as a console for sweaty, violent and occidental male teenagers.
Less repelling to adults or girls, Sony could push those buttons further while trying to avoid the Wii's pitfalls.




In the end, we return to a rather glaring mechanic here: the strongest factors into pulling people to buy a console always are exclusives and prices first.
In those troubled times, exclusives will essentially be 1st party products (which is confirmed by their public announcements over the last months).
They'll clearly get to a point where they'll largely be responsible of the survival of their console like it happened and still happens for Nintendo.
Price is indeed an important factor, and it's not like the PS3 is lagging horribly behind the 360. With a later launch, a higher price tag and less games, it's still only 5 million sales behind the 360. It would greatly increase its sales in Europe, which is a territory wherein the PS3 still dominates the 360.

Now, that 10 years long cycle is not a necessity.
From a certain perspective, it may not even be easy to uphold the goal's credible. It's been quite clear that a sequel to the 360 would come earlier on, there are even strong rumours about it now. This sister console would be even more powerful than the PS3, but much likely easying the user base and developer jump to the new platform.

At that point, the only reason the PS3 would still be a relevant choice would either be Microsoft blasting the 360 entirely in favour of the new machine, and therefore the PS3 becoming the equivalent of a PS2 today, but with the risk of having quite lower numbers, or the next Microsoft not being too different from the PS3, and not having enough pros, which sincerely, sounds rather stupid to believe. Microsoft wouldn't put out a new console if it couldn't support a new marketing startegy and selling force.

Sony might think about exploring new markets as well, maybe pushing their super entertainment hub mentality to a whole new level with a different and less gamey machine, while killing the PS3 as soon as possible and trying to release a less complicated product down the line.

That link you pasted isn't entirely accurate. DTS-HD is supported as of firmware 2.35.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
I guess I can see this as being an issue for a lot of people, though I have to say that price usually has nothing to do with my gaming purchases. If I want a system badly enough, I'll save up for it. Sad to say, the PS3's biggest problem for me is the game library of the system. Even with it's upcoming releases, to me the PS3 is turning into what the XBox was last generation: an FPS machine with an occasional release outside the genre. Don't get me wrong, I realize the 360 isn't much better with the FPS onslaught, but every JRPG in the past year and coming year are coming out/have come out on the 360, or both the 360 and PS3. Hence, I'll stick with the 360 for now.

EDIT: Though I have to admit, I'll miss my Ratchet & Clank...

Alright this is going to look like one of those fanboy retalliations where they "bring out the list" - but I'm only trying to help so hear me out!

As for JRPGs, I say the DS is king, but for the next-gen I think we're all lacking. Japan gets all these JRPGs on PS3 first, and you can import if you know Japanese (Guess we gotta pirate Rosetta Stone) - but if not you need the 360 version. Anyways, Tales of and Lost Odyssey seem to be the only (non japanese) JRPG 360 exclusive, and with Tales of Vesperia on the 360's side I can't blame you for lack of interest in the PS3 - though I looked up a game called "White Knights Story" and it looks like it may be the one JRPG I have an interest in this summer, who knows, maybe it's because all the characters have normal sized hair. Also, I think Folklore is unjustly ignored.

There's also Disgea 3, but leveling everyone up to 99999999999 is just not my kind of thing, and come on NIS update the engine or something, it's 2008.

Then there is God of War, and I just saw R&C Quest for Booty on PSN store recently, but, I just wanted to help you out in your JRPG dilemma.

EDIT:

Aries_Split:
Warhawk remains my second favorite online experience of this Generation.

Off topic but I just want to "second" this - this will sound elitist - but no console games online experience comes close to warhawk for me. Fallen Star just got released and when I have the cash and time I'll be picking that up.

Trying to pass a console off as a single device home entertainment system (and don't kid yourselves, this is exactly what console manufacturers are doing, both MS and Sony) is bunkum. Anyone who cares enough about HD and surround sound will either a) already have a better Blu-Ray player/speaker system set up or b) will want to buy something better than a console to play their movies on. Blu-ray is quite unnecessary on a console if all it does is cause the price to be excessively increased.

QmunkE:
Trying to pass a console off as a single device home entertainment system (and don't kid yourselves, this is exactly what console manufacturers are doing, both MS and Sony) is bunkum. Anyone who cares enough about HD and surround sound will either a) already have a better Blu-Ray player/speaker system set up or b) will want to buy something better than a console to play their movies on. Blu-ray is quite unnecessary on a console if all it does is cause the price to be excessively increased.

It also allows the developers to use a Blu-ray as their medium for the games themselves - fucking duh

QmunkE:
Trying to pass a console off as a single device home entertainment system (and don't kid yourselves, this is exactly what console manufacturers are doing, both MS and Sony) is bunkum. Anyone who cares enough about HD and surround sound will either a) already have a better Blu-Ray player/speaker system set up or b) will want to buy something better than a console to play their movies on. Blu-ray is quite unnecessary on a console if all it does is cause the price to be excessively increased.

Actually the PS3 has been classified as a 'standard' blu ray player by many audio and video websites, simply because for the price you can't get better quality picture/sound even from a standalone blu ray player.

I never did actually comment on the original topic tho, and although its a rather dishonest ploy, the wii or 360 by parts way of selling, perhaps the ps3 would have sold more that way.

Over here we were being charged around £470 for a PS3 on launch, that's nearly $1000. That's no regular kids xmas gift, that's an investment like a new widescreen TV for the living room, or a family holiday.

You think the PS3 will sell more later? Assuming that everyone buys a wii and wants an upgrade, and the 360 is starting to reach it's limit, and the "neXtbox" comes soon, the PS3 plans on staying (and lets also assume that programmers have gotten use to the hardware) and I can actually believe that - but with the increase in tech we've got an increase in price, so you think the PS3 will be the value "next" generation?

ElArab: I was also thinking of Eternal Sonata and Star Ocean 3, both of which will be 360 exclusives outside of Japan. And yes, I do need to learn Japanese because I'm damn tired of these "international versions" that never see the light of day on a, well, international level.

The PS3 shouldn't really cost much more than a xbox360 if it wants to keep up, the only thing that can keep that price a little higher is the Blu-Ray player really.

I've boycotted all Sony products ever since they shut down Lik-Sang. Sony could release the PS3 for $10 and I wouldn't buy one. In fact, if I got given one as a present, I'd sell it. No, I'm not a Microsoft or Nintendo fanboy. I'm primarily a PC gamer although I refuse to get into the PC vs. console argument, it's just silly and been done a billion times.
For the unenlightened, http://www.lik-sang.com/index.html

I don't think 20gb (or even 40gb) hard drives are being manufactured anymore en-mass.

60gb should be the sweet/cheap point for Sony.

I don't have an HDTV, and I won't possibly get one for the next 5-6 years, I don't need a blu ray player, like Yahtzee said I've never seen a review that gave 10 stars for a movie just because it's on HD so I'm not on the train for "OMFG HD IT'S THE NEXT BIG THING AND EVERYTHING IT'S GOLD WHEN IT'S HD!!!!"

so yeah, I'm not planning to spend that much for a console, I'm happy with my PC with HD3870, my Ps2 and my crappy 23 inch normal Tv and monitor :D so that's why I'm going for an x360 over a Ps3, I don't play with friends, I don't care about online experience (I never had anyway), I don't care about a crapload hard drive when I got one in my pc, so yeah, I'm a poor consumer with poor taste living in a third world country :(

Skrapt:

Platinum117:
Holy shit a blue-ray player... who cares?

people who like innovative technology?

Wow, higher definition. What brilliant mind dug up such a unique idea?

I seriously don't care about Blu-Ray. I see little reason to upgrade from DVD, we haven't even had DVDs for that long. When I upgrade I want it to be an actual step up (VHS to DVD), not some small bump in resolution that I couldn't care less about. I also don't own an HDTV and doubt I will anytime soon.

Most people don't care, or even know, about Blu-Ray and don't have an HDTV to fully utilize a Blu-Ray player anyway. That's turning no one's heads, it's just for techie people and a talking point for fanboys. It might be relevant in maybe five years, but today it's nothing.

Shivari:

Skrapt:

Platinum117:
Holy shit a blue-ray player... who cares?

people who like innovative technology?

Wow, higher definition. What brilliant mind dug up such a unique idea?

I seriously don't care about Blu-Ray. I see little reason to upgrade from DVD, we haven't even had DVDs for that long. When I upgrade I want it to be an actual step up (VHS to DVD), not some small bump in resolution that I couldn't care less about. I also don't own an HDTV and doubt I will anytime soon.

Most people don't care, or even know, about Blu-Ray and don't have an HDTV to fully utilize a Blu-Ray player anyway. That's turning no one's heads, it's just for techie people and a talking point for fanboys. It might be relevant in maybe five years, but today it's nothing.

Yeah. It's all higher definition. The Fifty gigs of storage have nothing to do with it.

At all/

Aries_Split:
Yeah. It's all higher definition. The Fifty gigs of storage have nothing to do with it.

At all/

I have no problems changing discs.

Shivari:

Aries_Split:
Yeah. It's all higher definition. The Fifty gigs of storage have nothing to do with it.

At all/

I have no problems changing discs.

Fair enough.

Codgo:
The PS3 shouldn't really cost much more than a xbox360 if it wants to keep up, the only thing that can keep that price a little higher is the Blu-Ray player really.

It doesn't cost more. Thats the point of the damn article.

Shivari:

Aries_Split:
Yeah. It's all higher definition. The Fifty gigs of storage have nothing to do with it.

At all/

I have no problems changing discs.

You don't think it might ruin immersion slightly, and thus degrade the experience?

Did most of the people here even read the damn article?

He was saying the 360 essentially costs MORE, but people don't look at that, they simply look at sticker price.

To put it simpler, are you really getting that cellphone for free? No, your getting shoe horned into a 2 year contract.

Indigo_Dingo:

Codgo:
The PS3 shouldn't really cost much more than a xbox360 if it wants to keep up, the only thing that can keep that price a little higher is the Blu-Ray player really.

It doesn't cost more. Thats the point of the damn article.

Where i am, its more exspensive.

Did you read the article?

shadow skill:
That link you pasted isn't entirely accurate. DTS-HD is supported as of firmware 2.35.

The post dates back to January 08 though, the firmware was not out then I suppose. Still a good thing that it came out, and that Sony can progressively "unlock" their stuff via software, without requiring you to buy a better version of their console.
Makes you wonder why those guys didn't make it compatible from get go. It only gives them bad publicity.

Skrapt:

QmunkE:
Trying to pass a console off as a single device home entertainment system (and don't kid yourselves, this is exactly what console manufacturers are doing, both MS and Sony) is bunkum. Anyone who cares enough about HD and surround sound will either a) already have a better Blu-Ray player/speaker system set up or b) will want to buy something better than a console to play their movies on. Blu-ray is quite unnecessary on a console if all it does is cause the price to be excessively increased.

Actually the PS3 has been classified as a 'standard' blu ray player by many audio and video websites, simply because for the price you can't get better quality picture/sound even from a standalone blu ray player.

Is Sony even making a profit on their consoles now? Or a significant one?

Digikid:
Sony is an Asian company. Over there all they care about is MONEY.

It's bullshit, hypocrisy, and I could be mistaken but is that racism?

Yes, it's official. This is the asshole trifecta.

Shivari:

When I upgrade I want it to be an actual step up (VHS to DVD), not some small bump in resolution that I couldn't care less about.

Preach on, noble brother! (or Sister?)

Indigo_Dingo:

Shivari:

Aries_Split:
Yeah. It's all higher definition. The Fifty gigs of storage have nothing to do with it.

At all/

I have no problems changing discs.

You don't think it might ruin immersion slightly, and thus degrade the experience?

I'm playing a video game, any immersion I might have in an experience is ruined by the fact that I'm sitting on a couch holding a small piece of plastic with buttons.

Maybe once we get to virtual reality we can worry about changing discs. As it stands now I really don't care if I have to get up every however many hours to switch out a disc.

Arbre:

The post dates back to January 08 though, the firmware was not out then I suppose. Still a good thing that it came out, and that Sony can progressively "unlock" their stuff via software, without requiring you to buy a better version of their console.
Makes you wonder why those guys didn't make it compatible from get go. It only gives them bad publicity.

As I understand it (because this is a feature I cared about, and was waiting to see if they would add), this was not something "unlocked" in the hardware, as all of the decoding is being done in software/firmware. Lacking DTS-HD Master Audio support isn't really a compatibility issue, as DTS-HD Master Audio is an optional codec for the Blu-ray format, along with several others. Not having it at launch, or even earlier than they did, simply points to them having other fish to fry, and limited development resources. With its inclusion, they get another tick box, and I believe causes them to incur an additional licensing fee per unit (another thing that may have contributed to the delayed inclusion in the firmware, if they were negotiating).

The flipside being that a lack of DTS-HD MA in the PS3 served as a differentiating factor pushing audiophiles to buy dedicated Sony BD players. Adding it to the PS3 in some ways cannibalized other parts of their market, and cannibalized it with a subsidized product, instead of a profitable one. They had to weigh the benefits between selling a profitable product to whatever percentage of the video/audio-phile market they had (in which they compete with most other major CE manufacturers), and selling a product at a loss for market share in a sector that they own nigh-entirely. Now, the only things that really differentiate between the PS3 and the dedicated sector are whether or not decoding is being done in software or hardware (which each have different pros/cons) and the ability to bitstream the advanced codecs to your high-end receiver for decoding (yet another aspect that is reserved to the uber-elitist audio-phile).

Arbre:

Is Sony even making a profit on their consoles now? Or a significant one?

Depends on what console you're referring to? I believe they're making profit hand-over-fist on the PS2. The loss they're taking on the PS3 is apparently destroying that though.

Skrapt:

Platinum117:
Holy shit a blue-ray player... who cares?

people who like innovative technology?

LOL since when was upgrading the definition of movies 'innovative'? sony wouldnt know innovation if it slapped them on the ass and wrote its name on them. and considering that the blu ray players apparent lifespan is now 5 years, i would hardly call it innovative. Wii is innovative, even if devs persist in handing it shovelware, but an upgrade in def certainly isnt.

anyhu, blu ray player does not interest me i the slihtest, i want a gaming console, not a home cinema system, and quite frankly i think its time for sony to start marketing the ps3 as one. my friend keeps asking me 'ZOMG WHEN AR U GOING 2 GET PS3???' and i tell him, 'when there are enough good games to warrant a purchase'. right now i have a wii and a pc, and that is providing me with enough good games to keep me sane. there is no point in buying a ps3 if its going to gather dust (in a gaming sense, im sure i would probably watch films via the USB drive or something) especially when games cost 45 to 50 pounds a head. oh, and the ps3 probably wont go down in price until blu ray players go down in price imho, because the tech is still new and expensive, just like when the ps2 costed like 300 quid when it came out, because dvds were still kind of new, same with cds and the ps1

Chrome, you are either 14, or a Microsoft Fan boy.

Or more than likely, both.

If you think Blu-Ray only brings higher resolutions, then you need to shut up, research, then post.

Moving away from the Blu-Ray topic...

If Sony did lower the price of the console to $250 and bundled it with LittleBigPlanet I'd be all over it. And it would have to be backwards compatible, as I'm more interested in getting PS1 and PS2 games than PS3 games. So until they lower the price I'm leaning towards just getting a PS2, especially since backward campatible PS3s apparently died a while ago.

Geoffrey42:

Digikid:

[quote=Joshimodo post=6.71392.722760]Don't believe me? Lookup the price for a blu-ray drive for a PC. Any film addict who wants blu-ray would more likely spend $200 less on an upgrade for their PC than for a (sub-par) console.

This is a drastic oversimplification of what it takes to get from "PC" to "Blu-ray playing home theater PC". And what is this silliness where you seem to imply that HD films are not of a high-enough resolution to justify Blu-ray's storage demands? Or am I just completely misinterpreting you?

Where IS the justification? HD films aren't exactly 50GB files here. If you recall, HD-DVD was significantly smaller in storage capacity, yet could hold the same films.

In regards to the other point, for the $400+ pricetag of the PS3, a smart film addict would simply upgrade the PC with the necessary parts and save a bundle doing it. Regardless, that wasn't my point in my last post-The fact is, the PS3's significant price difference CANNOT be contributed to a simple Blu-Ray drive.

Aries_Split, your point would be better served by the use of supporting evidence, as opposed to vitriol.

Blu-ray's most salient feature is the higher resolution made possible by its higher data-density/capacity. Yes, it may bring other things to the table, but how relevant are those aspects to how many people? I think BD-J has potential, but I've yet to see its "killer app". Secondary audio and video processing for PiP off the disk? I barely listen to director commentaries as it stands now, why would I suddenly want to have them interfering with a part of my screen too? The higher resolution audio with more channels is a plus, certainly, even to me, but how many people have the audio systems to be able to produce a difference? Even further, how many people have the auditory systems to be able to NOTICE a difference? Should we even get into which "Profile" of Blu-ray is really Blu-ray? Let's not forget Blu-ray as a vehicle for even "better" DRM...

Big screens are reaching mass market appeal. Blu-ray offers the capacity to have 1080p movies on a single disc. There may be way more to Blu-ray in theory, (and in unrealized potential), but in practice, Blu-ray = High Definition moving pictures. That's it.

Joshimodo:

Where IS the justification? HD films aren't exactly 50GB files here. If you recall, HD-DVD was significantly smaller in storage capacity, yet could hold the same films.

In regards to the other point, for the $400+ pricetag of the PS3, a smart film addict would simply upgrade the PC with the necessary parts and save a bundle doing it. Regardless, that wasn't my point in my last post-The fact is, the PS3's significant price difference CANNOT be contributed to a simple Blu-Ray drive.

If by "significantly smaller", in the Dual-layer variety you're talking about by referencing 50GB Blu-ray, HD-DVD has a 30GB capacity.

My point about the HTPC is that you could not get from PC to BD-playing HTPC for $200. You might very well spend the equivalent to or more than buying a PS3 in order to get a PC capable of doing the same (heavily dependent, of course, on your existing investment in your PC). This is because the PS3 is heavily subsidized.

Care to define the "significant" difference which remains unaccounted? 60GB 360 = $299. 80GB PS3 = $399. Cheapest DVD-ROM drive on Newegg? $17.99. Cheapest BD-ROM drive on Newegg? $99.99. Let's see... carry the one... divide by zero... console price difference = $100. Optical-disk drive price difference = $82. With a +/- margin of error of $18, I think it is fair to say that the price difference CAN be attributed to a simple Blu-ray drive.

To bring all of this back on topic, YES, the PS3 is worth what they're selling it for, when evaluated as a stand-alone purchase. But, for many, like myself, it offers less than $400 worth of incremental value, which is why a tactic such as that described by the author might bring me on-board.

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