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Sony PlayStation (Games) The Almighty Buck

Sony's Harrison In No Rush to Lower PS3 Price 107

Posted by Zonk
from the out-of-reach dept.
njkid1 passed on a link to a GameDaily interview they conducted at DICE with Phil Harrison, SCE WorldWide Studios President. Harrison stays mostly positive throughout the article, pointing out that the availability of consoles is a sign of a healthy supply chain. He denigrates rumble in controllers as a 'last generation' feature, and specifically discusses the company's decision-making process for lowering prices: "The PS3 technology, as with any of our platforms, starts off life at a high price and then we engineer cost out of it. And that process is an investment that you make to combine chips into a single chip or to reduce components or combine components and redesign things, and that investment is part of our planned R&D effort to reduce cost. At the appropriate time and when we can afford to, the business model of the industry is to pass those savings onto the consumer, but we're a long way away from doing that yet."
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Sony's Harrison In No Rush to Lower PS3 Price

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  • Of course not... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k_187 (61692) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:52PM (#18169836) Journal
    Why would they start trumpeting a price drop now? When one comes (whenever that may be), there won't be much if any of a warning. Even if they were going to do it next week, they won't tell anyone until it happens. The last thing Sony needs is ill will from the people who were still loyal enough to have already bought a PS3.
    • by GrayCalx (597428)
      My guess is that he was specifically asked about WHEN to expect a price drop. He did a good job of saying yes there will be a price drop when the ps3 reaches that stage in its life, but we are nowhere near that. If anything I think he was squashing the price drop trumpeting by reporters.
      • by k_187 (61692)
        Its kind of a given that the price will drop. I'm just saying that even if Sony was planning on doing it next week (which I don't think they are), it would be silly of him to say so now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by monopole (44023)
      The last thing Sony needs is ill will from the people who were still loyal enough to have already bought a PS3.
      I don't think they'd worry about such a small number of people.
  • by TomatoMan (93630) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:53PM (#18169862) Homepage Journal
    I'm in no hurry to buy one.
  • Of course (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tbannist (230135) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:54PM (#18169876)
    Really, there's no point in dropping the price right now. Until Sony gets a couple of killer games out, dropping the price isn't going to really excite anyone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I disagree. I think that the BluRay functionality would be a major reason to purchase one, especially if the price dropped. However, that's exactly why a price drop is not going to happen. It has nothing to do with the PS3 but with the positioning of other products.

      In particular, Sony just announced a set-top BluRay player for - look at that - $599, which is the MSRP of one of their PS3 models, I believe. I would not be surprised that the reason for the price drop of the player is to match the PS3 pri
      • by Applekid (993327)
        If the DVD playing abilities of the PS2 are any indication, that PS3-priced BluRay player is going to be a much better experience than the PS3 provides.
        • Actually the PS3 happens to be markedly superior to all the sub 1k blu-ray players which is astonishing really. It's a good DVD player too. If you want a better HD experience you are going to be spending 1.5k on a Panasonic and avoiding all the Samsung's and, suprisingly, Sony's. That's right, Sony's own more expensive blu-ray players are inferior to Sony's PS3. Not that they are bad.

          Aside from the better visuals, it has some nice features like 150% FF with pitch adjusted audio.
      • for roughly the same price: a PS3 without the full functionality of a standalone BluRay player -or- a full player with all of the features that a PS3 doesn't have

        What features would a standalone BluRay player have that the PS3 does not?
        • DVD upscaling to 1080p? A universal remote with picture mode settings? Not a whole lot but I can imagine picking the standalone player if I wanted blu ray and wasn't into games at all...especially if they cost the same. But the PS3 cost significantly less then I could imagine my choice changing.
      • I understand your point but disagree that people are purchasing the PS3 as a cheap BluRay player. There may be some, but they are probably in the extreme minority. Having said that, I have no interest in the PS3 or BluRay until they drop in price. I really can't see spending more than $200-250 for a gaming platform and anything more than $150 for a movie player is ridiculous.
        • In North America I agree with you but in Japan it is a different story ...

          Currently (in Japan) there have been (roughly) 700,000 PS3 systems sold and (roughly) 725,000 games sold; being that many gamers would buy (at least) 2 games with a system, and have bought (at least) one aditional game in the past couple of months, I think a reasonable assumption is that a lot of PS3 systems have only been used to watch movies.
    • This is completely true, though they're finally starting to release some worthwhile stuff. fl0w was just released (and is completely amazing), Virtua Fighter 5 (I hear) is excellent, and Motorstorm comes out next week. These games should likely give the sales a boost, although I doubt the big jump will come until FFXIII/GTA4/MGS4.
  • Excellent!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by rlp (11898) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:54PM (#18169882)
    As a Nintendo shareholder, you have my deepest gratitude.
  • ... the business model of the industry is to pass those savings onto the consumer...
    Really? when? where?
  • I'm as big of a Sony fan as there is, but there's one hell of a Jobs patented Reality Distortion Field in effect. They really discount the huge effect of the DS on the portable market and the lack of a first party PS3 killer app.

  • Of course he is in no rush to drop the price. If I were in his position I would be tempted to wait until I was forced. I know of no corporation that is in a rush to drop prices.
    Even Walmart drops prices to beat up the competition, not because they really care if you have an extra dollar at the end of the year. (and soon many won't have the dollar as they shut down more and more of the US economy, but that is another topic for another day)
    • I know of no corporation that is in a rush to drop prices.

      Maybe not, but there's no shortage of companies that are willing to drop prices in order to get rid of unsold inventory.

      If Sony is losing $200 on every PS3 they DO sell, then they lose $800 on every PS3 they've manufactured but DON'T sell. It's not outlandish to suggest that it might get to a point where Sony would drop the MSRP by $100, meaning they get away with a loss of only $300 per unit. Negative three is better than negative eight.
      • Yep, I agree. I think they have a lot of good reasons that could FORCE them to drop the price. They are not in any RUSH...
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      He should be. The odd thing about video game systems is that there's momentum at play. If you can't get a reasonable install base, then you lose exclusive developers, who will move on to greener pastures where they know they can make money. And if you lose exclusives, you lose a major reason to buy a particular console.

      Getting out early and building an install base fast is *extremely* important to the success and longevity of a platform. Cutting prices on the PS3 may go a long way to helping them in that
      • Ya, I am not sure even that would solve his problems.

        They always talk about the three pillers of success. Price,games and installed base. Supposedly you need two of the three to get any momentum in the third. So, if he could just get a KILLER game or two, maybe the price cut would pay off.

        Right now they have none of the above strengths. Time will tell, they may have won the blueray fight at the expense of the console cash cow. If I had a choice, I would rather dominate the console market.
  • Can this guy possibly spew any MORE bullshit?

    I feel insulted that he thinks we're this stupid.
    • by GrayCalx (597428)
      Could you point out for me specifically what bullshit you're upset by? I'm only going on the price-drop quote. And it seems to be free of bullshit. A reporter asked him, straight up, when would the ps3 drop in price. He was amicable said there would be a price drop, but its way off in the future.

      I think you're just getting your panties in a wad.
      • by Rycross (836649)
        Agreed. I was surprised at how well he answered the questions, given Sony's recent epidemic case of foot-in-mouth-itis.
      • There is more in the article than just the drop-down quote.

        I'm talking about the hurricane-force spin.
    • by sqlrob (173498)
      Can this guy possibly spew any MORE bullshit?

      Be careful, he'll take that as a challenge.
  • Insulting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vapspwi (634069) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:24PM (#18170368)
    As a fan of the PS2 who WANTS the PS3 to succeed (I'll buy one when the price comes down...), I find this interview rather insulting. It's just so transparent that EVERYTHING he's saying is just a repeat of the company line, trying to turn negatives into positives.

    Lots of PS3s languishing on shelves? "We do a good job managing our supply chain." Target in Newnan, GA, 4 PM on 2/25: 11 PS3s, 0 Wiis. Congrats on your expert supply chain management, Sony, but maybe you'd better focus on SELLING THE PRODUCT.

    No rumble in the controllers? "That's a previous-gen feature." Yeah, and why would you carry over a minor feature that most users are neutral or positive about into the next generation...

    Motion sensitivity? "Far more opportunity for future innovation..." Ah, so that's why Sony didn't even HAVE motion sensitivity in place until the last minute, then?

    Arrgh. Just infuriating.

    JRjr
    • The PS3 distribution is uneven. Up here in Edmonton, Alberta Canada there is not a PS3 in sight. Shipments vanish as they come ditto with the wiis. 360s everywhere though. The places were you see them "languish" in shelves are likely places that had too many shipped int he area. I am not willing to deal with ebay or any oneline retailer when the amoutn is over $100, because that is a loss I can't write off if it goes south. So I am stuck waiting. I want to grab a PS3 for the Ps2 Backwards compat at the very
      • by chrish (4714)
        Costco in Ajax, Ontario, has 4-5 20GB PS3s, and almost a full palette (20+?) of 60GB PS3s. Under 10 Xbox 360s, and (of course) no Wiis.

        EB Games in the Pickering Town Centre can't keep Wiis in stock (or accessories, for that matter), but they've got PS3s sitting there.

        The Wii is just fun, the 360 has loads of games, and the PS3... has BluRay. Which is pretty pointless unless you've got the HDTV mess all sorted out.

        I think one of the Wii's greatest opportunities is to reduce development costs. It's getting
        • Don't kid yourself. If Nintendo "wins" they'll each make up the difference with higher licence fees. They did so in the past with the NES. . Each of the three are varyign degrees of evil. The wii is fun but shallow. I have one, it's good. I'm looking for some deeper games. 360/xbox library don't appeal to me so I'm seeking a PS3.
  • A steady supply chain? Rumble is last gen? You've got to be kidding me!

    Talk to the people who run GameStop, talk to the people who run BestBuy, and they'll tell you that the demand is unprecedented and that they give us kudos for managing to keep a very sophisticated supply chain moving.

    Phil, the people at slashdot have had several conversations with these people and we'll tell you a different story. No regrets? I hope not, but i do hope this generation knocks off SCE from its high chair so that you gu

  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@NoSPAM.devinmoore.com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:35PM (#18170582) Homepage Journal
    "So long as you suckers keep paying full price, we have no reason to offer a discouunt! Muhuhaha!"
  • by Wilson_6500 (896824) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:51PM (#18170856)
    What, like gameplay?

    Seriously, what kind of rationale is that for leaving out a feature? If that's a _justified_ reason, then it means that the feature was all along just a gimmick to lure people in, like virtual reality (i.e. red lines) or force feedback or onboard memory expansion. Why would you want to say something like that to people? "Well, we can't dupe you dolts any longer with that candy, so we'll drop that for some new one like motion sensing." If it's _unjustified_ to dismiss it as last-gen, then you're dropping support for something that gamers might possibly want or like; if gamers don't like it or don't care about it, why not just say that? It's not like Sony would be admitting that they made a mistake since they didn't exactly pioneer the idea of controllers with rumble.

    It's not really even right semantically. It's not like we have something better to replace it--you could argue that motion sensing and rumble aren't compatible and one would have to replace the other, but since they don't do the same thing it's not really a supersession of "last-gen" rumble with "next-gen" motion sensing. If we found some whiz-bang thing that would make for instance anisotropic filtering obsolete, THEN you could call anisotropic filtering a "last-generation" feature.

    In this context, it just sounds like marketingspeak use of "generation."
  • by Is0m0rph (819726)
    I think it's people not buying $600 PS3s more than their awesome supply capabilities. My local Walmarts and Targets have multiple premium PS3s on the shelves now, no $500 ones, and never any Wiis. I've seen a Wii in stock one time. I'm not buying either one of them I'm happy with the 360 so far.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @04:12PM (#18171274)
    I think the entire gaming world just breathed a sigh of "Who gives a rat's ass?"

    Seriously, is there any real reason to buy one of these things at ANY price right now?

    -Eric

  • Money Better Spent? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Plekto (1018050) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @04:37PM (#18171686)
    I as talking with a friend online last night and the PS3 came up. It eventually came around to the price and two things came up.

    1:$600 in PC upgrades results in an astounding increase in gaming potential for most people. Far more than any PS3. Why should we spend $600 for a box that's merely comparable to the old gaming rig we want to upgrade anyways?

    2:If Sony ditched the Blu-Ray player or made it an optiona add-on, the PS3 would barely cost $250, if that. $300 is a hard price-point, like $30,000 is for car buyers. It's hard to justify more than that much for somethng unless there's a real need for it.(let alone $600 or a $60,000 car). The Wii sells well because it's inexpensive and fun. The PS3 is expensive and games are slow to arrive.

    3: One more - Me? I bought a PS2 this holliday season for my son. Cheap, effective, and it has Guitar Hero and GT4 and so on. Its a great toy for him and didn't break the bank.
  • Marty DiBergi: The last time Tap toured America, they where, uh, booked into 10,000 seat arenas, and 15,000 seat venues, and it seems that now, on the current tour they're being booked into 1,200 seat arenas, 1,500 seat arenas, and uh I was just wondering, does this mean uh...the popularity of the group is waning?

    Ian Faith: Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no...no, no, not at all. I, I, I just think that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective.
  • Sony has finally, it seemed, ironed out demand problems - Feb 21st is the first day that Amazon had them in stock for more than a day as you can see in the primary systems sales graph [eproductwars.com] for the three consoles (scroll down near the bottom)...

    The thing to note there is that since the console finally had availability, it's been consistently at a pretty good sales rank (around eight to ten according to the same chart) and in fact higher in sales rank than the 360. Given that it's selling in healthy numbers, why
    • The problem is market share ...

      Market Share is a very easy thing to lose and an amazingly difficult thing to gain. As long as they are selling approximately as many systems as the XBox 360, and selling less systems than the Wii, they will be the system with the lowest market share and are (essentially) digging themselves into a hole.

      The reason why this is important is that (as I have said before) the only type of performance that third party developers care about is sales performance. The PS3 is currently s
      • Market Share is a very easy thing to lose and an amazingly difficult thing to gain. As long as they are selling approximately as many systems as the XBox 360, and selling less systems than the Wii, they will be the system with the lowest market share and are (essentially) digging themselves into a hole.

        Yes but they were only selling "about as many systems" when people could hardly find them.

        Now that they are on Amazon for example, they (as I said) have a sales rank of 10 or so, while the 360 is around 17.

        Am
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chibi Merrow (226057)
      Sony has finally, it seemed, ironed out demand problems

      I agree. They've done an excellent job of killing practically any demand for their latest console. :)
      • Out of stock again at Amazon. If a constant sales rank of ten+ is "no demand", then I shudder to think of what you'd describe the 360 demand as since it is substantially lower (salesrank 17). I guess the only console anyone really wants then is the Wii... except the PS3 outsells that from time to time as well. So even that is "undesirable" according to your metrics.

        Wait, I do know one console that is still desired - the PS2, which still outsells them all. Is that what you were trying to say?
  • After reading over the comments thus far; a few things stand out.
    1. High cost is prohibitive to purchasing the system
    2. "My 360 is better"
    3. No exclusive Titles

    I'm not going to lie to you. I have both the 60gig and the 20gig versions of the console. What made me buy, not one but two of these systems you might ask? I'll tell you. Its the Combinations of nice technology wrapped in one case.

    I'm jumping off topic but I have a grievance to shout. The comments of My 360 is better look at my ZOMG Graphics and game

    • by trdrstv (986999)
      The problem with comparing ports of the same game is the different architectures. Did the Devs take full use of the Cell Proc or did they simply recompile it for the Cell and not optimize it?

      That is entirely irrelevant. It's how the games are ultimately presented. To the end user if Splinter Cell looks better on the 360 than the PS3 (or vice versa) then it doesn't matter how that happened, simply that it happened. I have had my share of Shitty PS2 ports, despite the hardware of my GameCube being techn

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:12PM (#18175926) Homepage
      The problem is that, certainly from the point of view of the consumer, PS3 isn't anything new. It's a PS2 with a few generations of silicon advancements incorporated, just like the Xbox 360 is an Xbox with newer silicon. Oh, and better online support and other minor tech, but it's still fundamentally more of the same.

      Cell doesn't bring anything to the table but the possibility of more MIPS. As a computer architect, more MIPS is of course interesting to me, and the particulars of how the Cell works are fascinating. As a gamer, it's just more MIPS. Just like the Xbox 360 is more MIPS. That's no more a "new direction" than the PS2 was when it was released. It's the same direction, just trudging along Moore's Law silicon improvements and little else changes. The only difference is that Sony jumped out further ahead on the technology curve this time, getting something new and paying a price premium for it. Riding the bleeding edge is great if you are a hardcore gamer who buys Alienware boxes, but it is a terrible place to be for what is supposedly a mass-market consumer electronic device.

      BluRay is the same deal -- all it really does is offer more storage. New direction? PS1 was CD, PS2 was DVD, PS3 is bigger DVD. Sounds like more of the same to me. Yet unlike CD with PS1 or DVD with PS2, BluRay is brand-new technology and thus much more expensive than a more established technology would be, and this is a premium the consumer is paying for.

      The fact is that both Microsoft and Sony are greedy, and neither is trying anything new. Both are operating under the "same as before * Moore's Law improvement ratio" scheme of simply pursuing more performance. Sony thought they could beat MS by jumping out ahead on the curve, hoping consumers would be willing to pay the price premium for that decision. They also thought they could leverage the PS3 into victory for BluRay over HD-DVD, again charging consumers for that decision. Going faster down the same path is not the same as a change of direction. The only difference between MS and Sony this generation is that Microsoft executed on the bog-standard console game plan more intelligently than Sony did.

      The only one actually trying anything different this generation is Nintendo. Which I'm grateful for, because the Gamecube was essentially the same as the PS2 and Xbox, a "me too" bog-standard console upgrade if ever there was one. It was N's worst console. Now they're back where they were from the NES to N64 days, as leaders and definers of industry standards. Whether it works for them or not, if you really want to give credit to those trying a new path, there is nobody to pick but Nintendo.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chibi Merrow (226057)
      Did the Devs take full use of the Cell Proc or did they simply recompile it for the Cell and not optimize it?

      Or is optimizing for a Cell processor an absolute nightmare and so you're best off just getting your stuff running good on the 360 and just plain running on the PS3?

      It is true the PS3 dosn't have a large following. however the real reason this is such a shame is because the injustice done to gamers world wide.

      I would think that having to pay $600 for the ability to play the next "Shadow of the Coloss
  • $500 is particulay expensive, when you look at what you are getting. Heck my car costs $300 for a service, for a can of oil, some plugs and a few filters..

    PS2 cost $300 when it launched in 2000, factor in inflation it's $350 in todays money. Even factoring in the technology leap between 2000 and 2006, PS3 is considerably more advanced that PS2, for example DVD had at least a foothold in 2000, HD formats are still very new, and even the $500 basic model is still got a huge amount of tech in it. That techno
    • Some people would make a similar argument about a Porsche in comparison to a Honda Civic yet most people (even among those who have the money for a Porsche) would end up buying the Honda Civic rather than the Porsche; the reality is that most people are looking for a reasonably nice way to get from point A to point B and the 'Extra Value' of the Porsche is meaningless.

      If you're only interested in the PS3 as a videogame machine the Wii or XBox 360 are (effectively) the same product at a much lower price; if
    • Heck my car costs $300 for a service, for a can of oil, some plugs and a few filters..

      $300? For a can of oil, plugs, and filters? What is that in, monopoly money? If I paid $50 total for those three services they'd better wash that bitch and put one of those hangy air freshener things on my mirror.

      Also, this is a car, a necessity for most people to support themselves. That would be like saying "Hell, I pay $20k a year on my mortgage!" or "Hell, I pay $50/mo for my insulin!" $500 for a system that does not o
      • Or perhaps it SEEMS expnsive in the US, as their economy is in such poor shape at the moment.. Either way $500 is not that expensive in the sale of things, and you get kick-ass hardware.. I suppose if you want to waste $300 on the unreliable and basic hunk of junk that the 360 is, then fine, but if you want quality, it does not come for free.
        • Or perhaps it SEEMS expnsive in the US, as their economy is in such poor shape at the moment..

          It's a laugh a minute around here. You really think the US economy is in poor shape? Based on what? What indicators? What numbers? Lowest unemployment in years? Soaring consumer confidence? Seriously, share your wisdom.

          Either way $500 is not that expensive in the sale of things

          $500 for living in the PS3 ghetto. $600 if you want to actually live somewhere they don't deal drugs in your front lawn. And yes, $500 is ex
      • by AvitarX (172628)
        There is no where around me that will do those car services for even close to either of thos prices (50 or 300) so I can only assume that car work is very differently priced depending on location.

        oil change 20
        plugs and wires 50 (I always do this myself,since the parts are about 25 and it takes less than 20 minutes)
        Filters air filter is about 30 oil filter included with the change.

        These are the low end of prices from places I would want to service my car (there are a few gas stations that do only oil for a f
        • Well maybe I was exaggerating slightly, but I know I can go to some local places and get an oil change/fluids/filters for about $32. I'd just buy the plugs and do it myself due to how simple the labor is for it (as long as you aren't an idiot with the cables). My car only takes four plugs at about $2.50-$3 ea. And I didn't say it had to be hand washed, just that it better be washed before they give it back to me. ^^;

          And yeah, recently I replaced my brakes and had my rotors turned (most significant maint. on
          • by AvitarX (172628)
            FWIW I wasn't trying to make the PS3 look reasonable. To me 18 months of car repair is a huge amount of money. If I wanted it to look cheap I would have said 2 weeks of a house or something.

            Comparing play station costs to car repair makes it look very expensive indeed (I spend more time in my car than I could ever dream of playing games).
  • The PS3 won't sell very well. Nintendo and Microsoft have got their consoles selling there, and people already own either a 360 or a Wii. Also, the ridiculous price of the PS3 with deter people from buying it.

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