November 13, 2008 // 8:22 pm
- Remember when the PS3 came out? It was comfortably the cheapest Blu-ray player on the market. That was a huge selling point for the console, trust us. When the PS2 first launched we conducted a survey that showed that over 30% of the early adopters bought it primarily for its DVD playback.
We haven't seen figures for the PS3 in relation to how many consumers picked it up as a Blu-ray player, but the release strategies and state of the market are comparative and a similar percentage would've been expected. (we've contacted Sony for this statistic and will update you when/if we get a response)
In fact at the time of the PS3's launch, the Blu-ray diode that powered the ROM was the costly and relatively difficult to produce component which stalled the release of the system in territories like Australia, and where Sony was losing much of its money on each console sold.
Earlier this week we reported that the Xbox 360 had received another price-drop and as a result was now 57% cheaper than the PS3 at a buy-in level. Yeah you can talk about Wi-Fi this and hard-drive that as they are valid points to many, but if you want to play Call of Duty: World at War tomorrow, you can for 57% less on the Xbox 360.
That's a face. We spoke to a Sony representative as to whether they would follow suit before Christmas with a PS3 price-drop and were told that the company believed its software line-up was strong enough that it did not need to react to its competitor's move.
Maybe it is: depends on your software taste really. But for our money the PS3 is still a psychological barrier for many consumers at an RRP of AU$699. It's selling well, but if it was AU$499 and under that magic $500 mark we think it could be much more attractive to consumers. And that is before we noticed the following today...
In the latest JB Hi-Fi catalogue - arguably Australia's cheapest electronic entertainment retailer - they are advertising Blu-ray players as low as AU$299. Their advertised price for the PS3 was $688 - admittedly a game and HDMI cable was bundled with it but there is not like there was a non-bundled option.
That's a AU$388 difference or to put it another way, it is approximately 137% more expensive to buy a PS3 as your Blu-ray player this Christmas than it is to get the alternative option. Hell, Sony's own standalone Blu-ray player is AU$391.
This suggests two things:
Firstly, that Sony is no longer the first choice option for the multitude of Aussie consumers looking to buy into the HD revolution and grab a Blu-ray player, which can only have grown now that HD-DVD is dead. Secondly, it reveals that the cost in production of Blu-ray players has plummeted in the last two years, therefore off-setting much of the costs of producing a PS3.
Perhaps Sony is right and they do through games like LittleBigPlanet and Resistance 2 provide compelling software to make people throw down an extra AU$400 on the table - that is not what this article is about. Nor is it about the comparative quality of each component. We just believe that the fact that you can buy...
- an Xbox 360, a Blu-ray player and a blockbuster game (say a Gears of War 2 or a Fable 2)
- a Premium Xbox 360 (now AU$399) and a Blu-ray Player
- or an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii
...for the same price as one PS3 is hard to ignore for the millions of mums that are about to hit the shops looking for a game console.
We're not saying the PS3 isn't worth it, we're just saying that it is a brave move by Sony at a time when cash is tight, and price-tag is everything, to stay at AU$699 RRP.