There are two ways to look at PlayStation 3 pricing. The first is from Ken Kutaragiís perspective Ė the PS3 is better-equipped than any console on the market, with a next-generation DVD drive, larger hard drives than the Xbox, and arguably the most performance of any console. The second, more realistic way of looking at things is that Sony is trying to push Blu-Ray as a standard, leaving gamers with a potentially useless video disc player that they spent a lot of extra money for. Worse, if you buy the cheaper version of the PS3, you donít even get an HDMI connector, meaning that itís possible, or even probable, that you will not get 1080p or even 720p. That ultimately depends on whether the movie studios decide to limit non-HDMI signal quality in order to prevent piracy, but honestly, who expects the studios to not use every gimmick at their disposal?
On top of it all, you do not have the hot-head in charge of the PlayStation go out in public and say how the most expensive console of this generation should be even more costly. Yes, Ken, more of our hard-earned money should go to Sony, because the company deems it necessary to push its strategic HD content delivery through a gaming platform. The ultimate utility of high capacity next-generation DVDs on current games is debatable right now, to say the least. Kenís statement is provocative, at the least, and only adds to Sonyís public relations issues. In a sense, it may be true Ė the PS3 may be a great deal if HDMI isnít necessary and if Blu-Ray takes off, but thatís a lot of caveats.
Price is a major issue for a console that aims to have broad appeal. The original PlayStation caught everyoneís attention not because it was immediately better than the Saturn Ė it was too early to call that Ė but because it was cheaper. The PS2, while more expensive, was still quite accessible and sold extremely well. How many of those families and students will be able to afford a PS3?
The Nintendo Attack
Last generation, Nintendo said it wasnít about the hardware, it was about the games Ė and an affordable console. They offered a system that didnít play DVDs, didnít have a hard disk attachment, was the cheapest on the marketÖ and they ended up third in the race.
This time around, Nintendo has adapted their strategy a bit. Rather than offer mere empty words about ďthe gamesĒ and those lucrative first- and second-party titles, Nintendo is bringing a silly name for their console and a controller with considerable potential. Despite the companyís claims to the contrary, it is still about compelling hardware, and the Wii controller is very intriguing.
Just imagine playing Jedi Knight on the Wii.
Even without a Star Wars game featuring light saber combat, Nintendo is still a lock to at least improve their position if not capture second spot. Seeing as Microsoft hasnít lost momentum, the obvious victim of Nintendoís bite will be Sonyís slice of the market share pie. Since the PS3 is going to be at least twice as expensive, itís a fair bet that Nintendo might walk away with the lower-income segment altogether. Now donít think of this as just poor people, but students and larger middle-class families.
Nintendo had a very strong show, with the typical lineup of dorks in Mario Bros. shirts, but also many more casual folk lined up. Talk about the console was fairly popular. While the company didnít steal the show, it at least matched the 360 for hype.