Amongst some rumors that there would be a new model to be released in late September of the now 6 year old console, Sony has now confirmed that a new PS3 model will be released Sept. 25th at the Tokyo Game Show. The most curious part of the announcement, however, is the price at $269 to $299, staying at around the same price as the soon-to-be released Wii U. Does this mean Sony has decided that profit margin is finally more of a sound strategy than keeping market share? Is Sony effectively deciding not to compete this holiday season?
Its smaller and lighter, but considering how the current “PS3 Slim” is already pretty small and light I don’t really see the appeal in that category (not to mention who cares about the weight of a small box that you never move around?). For anyone who does find this a selling point though it should be noted that its 50% lighter than the original PS3 model and 25% smaller and 20% lighter than the Slim model (now the “not-so-Slim” model).
There will be a 250GB flavor releasing on the 25th for $269 in a bundle package and a 500GB flavor releasing on Oct. 30th for $299 alone. Europe will be recieving a 12GB flash memory version for 229 Euros on Oct. 12th and a 500 GB version for 299 Euros on Sept. 28th. Japan will see both 250GB and 500 GB versions release on Oct. 4th for 24,900 Yen and 29,800 Yen respectively. The wildly different release windows between the regions and the different flavors are extremely confusing, but do indicate a strong amount of attention to localization.
But what is more confusing is the decision to keep such a high price point. The sticker is honestly around the same price that its been for a couple of years now (actually I think its a bit of a price increase) and it makes me glad that I didn’t wait around to get my current console. If I could just take a moment to rant like I always do, Sony’s price points have always been a bit of an issue in my eyes. The original flavor of the PlayStation 3 sold for $499 at its cheapest, $599 for the more expensive model. Although back then it cost Sony roughly $800 per unit, which amounted to a huge loss on each console sold. I also had a tough time deciding on the Vita recently, whose $249 tag I compared directly with the PS3 itself and the PS3 won. If the 3DS is any indicator its that $249 is just too steep for a handheld.
The new, relatively high price point with the same hardware suggests that this time they are working to regain their losses on the PlayStation 3 project as a whole, as this time I’m sure the hardware is much cheaper to produce. Many are pointing out that people were already beginning to scoop up the “slim” model pretty well in the last couple years as a media entertainment device and that nobody really ever asked for this. Will this push anybody to buy one that already hasn’t? Probably not and I’m doubtful about hardcore fans deciding to grab another one “just because”.
This is a very strange move by Sony that has me very perplexed from an industry viewpoint. Why now and why more expensive? What do you think of the move?