Monday, November 19, 2007

PS3 Slices Developer Kit Price in Half to Attract Game Designers

Last month, Sony dropped the price of the 80 GB version of its PlayStation 3 gaming console to $499 (from $659), and replaced a 60 GB version that was selling for $549 with a 40 GB version that's now available for $399. Now, the company is taking the price drops to the developer arena by chopping the price of its software development kit in half. This is an obvious attempt to bring more developers on board, and create more enticing game titles for the struggling console.

According to BBC News, many developers that had previously created games for the extremely popular PlayStation 2 unit have now moved over to the Nintendo Wii camp because it's easier and less expensive, not to mention arguably the more popular unit.

I'm not quite sure what has caused the PS3 to encounter so much difficulty in the market, especially considering how popular its predecessor was. Many have speculated a myriad of reasons: high-price, the inability to meet demand at launch, the fact that it came to market almost a year after the still popular Xbox 360, etc. Another reason was an unexpected one: the popularity of the family-oriented Nintendo Wii, which has opened up a whole new and untapped market for gaming that is clearly a very lucrative one. It is likely all of these factors that have made it tougher for the PS3 to experience the market-leading longevity that the PS2 enjoyed for many years.

As the Wii and Xbox 360 continue to ramp up offering, the battle for Sony to get customer's bucks will remain a difficult one. Microsoft just launched the ability to download games via the online Xbox LIVE service, which will make the '360 an even more enticing option for gamers of all kinds.
In related news, Sony celebrated the one-year anniversary of the PS3 last week. Rather than noting its current position in the video gaming market, the press release that was issued explained that "...the company is already seeing strong sales momentum as a result [of new hardware and pricing]; PS3 sales have increased by 192% at the top 10 retailers in North America."

The positioning of the PS3 this holiday season will not only help determine Sony's future success in the video game arena (with this particular console, at least), but it will also have an impact on the ongoing Blu-ray and HD DVD battle. The PS3 has a built-in high-definition Blu-ray player, and thus its sales have contributed to the overall total of Blu-ray players sold worldwide. For both Sony and the Blu-ray camp's sakes, I hope the PS3 enjoys healthy sell-through this holiday season!

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