A Wall Street analyst reports that a price reduction for the PlayStation 3 will happen "in the next couple days."
Mike Hickey with investment-banking firm Janco Partners told investors on Wednesday that he expects Sony will drop the price of the console to respond to sluggish hardware sales. To quote:
"Recent channel checks indicate increased speculation for a PS3 price cut announcement from Sony in the next couple of days," Hickey wrote.
Currently the PS3 is the most expensive of the three "next-gen" consoles on the market. The Playstation 3 with an 80 GB hard drive runs $399, while the 160 GB model is priced at $499. By comparison, the most expensive Xbox 360, which includes a 120 GB hard drive, retails at $399 and the economically priced Wii, when it can be found on shelves, sells for $249.
While many Playstation fans argue that the PS3 more than makes up the price difference with its Blu-ray drive, with the economy as it is, consumers are looking harder than ever at the PS3's spendy price tag.
In fact, Hickey believes the PS3's price would have to drop by at least $100 to make a big difference in Sony's sales numbers.
"We think the company needs to reduce the current price by USD 100 to effectively restart unit velocity at retail. We believe the market is expecting a PS3 price cut in April or by June at the latest."
Hickey also adds that he's heard murmurs of a Blu-ray-free PS3 in the works. Without the Blu-ray hardware, the console's production cost would shrink enough to rationalize a substantial price drop.
I have my doubts about this rumor. It makes no sense that Sony would remove the Blu-ray from consoles when, in many ways, Blu-ray was the Playstation 3's raison d'etre. From the day the Playstation 3 was introduced, Sony all but said it was selling the PS3 below cost in order to win the "format war" over HD-DVD. Abandoning that niche would be admitting that Blu-ray hasn't delivered as hoped.
And it's just not in Sony's corporate culture to ever admit such a defeat.
But I wonder: Given that we're three years into the new console cycle, hasn't anyone who's considering buying any gaming console already purchased one? And if not, would a $100 difference now make you get off the fence and buy a PS3?
Or are we all too worried about losing our jobs and paying our mortgages to consider such a creature comfort?
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