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PlayStation (Games)

In Wake of Price Drops, Further PS3 Doubts 424

Posted by Zonk
from the clouding-the-issue dept.
Sony fans undoubtedly cheered the news of a $100 drop in price for the 60GB PS3, but even with the price drop there are several issues surrounding the console. 1up reports that the 80GB PS3 is following the lead of the EU-released PS3s by removing the Emotion engine and relying on software emulation for backwards compatibility. In an effort to decrease costs Sony continues to reduce features and develop their product. Meanwhile, Konami executive Kazumi Kitaue doesn't see much impact from the cut ... and in fact told Reuters that they're seriously considering a multi-platform release for Metal Gear Solid 4. "Kitaue said Konami may need to expand the target hardware for its blockbuster fighting game Metal Gear Solid, which has so far been developed for Sony's PlayStation machines, to other consoles in the future to recoup development costs ... The release of the latest version of Metal Gear Solid series is expected to help lure hard-core gamers to the PS3 and alleviate concerns over scarcity of strong PS3 titles. Underscoring sluggish PS3 sales and robust demand for the Wii, Nintendo shot past Sony in market value last month and bumped the Tokyo-based electronics conglomerate off the list of Japan's 10 most valuable companies."
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In Wake of Price Drops, Further PS3 Doubts

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  • PS3 fans happy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShadowsHawk (916454) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:11AM (#19814359)
    I doubt I'd be all that pleased. To me, it would seem that I payed $100 too much since they're dropping the price so soon after launch.
    • by Viv (54519)
      OTOH, I bet they'd be less happy if Sony fails to do anything to try to increase the install base; without a bigger install base, game support will melt away, and they'll end up with an expensive brick that can play a few crappy titles.
      • by Jaqenn (996058)

        ...and they'll end up with an expensive brick that can play a few crappy titles.
        I've been keeping my fingers crossed that the console will tank so that I can pick one up on the cheap and make it a Linux box. I have no clue what I'm doing, so I'm unwilling to pay $X99.99 to tinker with it...but $50 for a used console from an angry ex-Sony fan? Sign me up!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ykant (318168)
      Personally, I think it would be a great gesture on Sony's part if they comped all the early adopters controllers with the vibrating feature restored (you know it's coming).
    • Re:PS3 fans happy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) * on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:26AM (#19814583) Homepage
      Early adopters always have and always will pay inflated prices. You paid extra to get the PS3 at launch. If you were concerned about a hundred bucks, you should have waited until a year after launch to buy. Sure, this price cut comes a little earlier than usual, but price cuts are by no means unprecedented. As with any new technology, the prices start out very high and decrease over time.

      The best case scenario for manufacturers is for price cuts to happen because economies of scale start to kick in causing manufacturing costs per unit to drop. However, it is certainly not unheard of for new technology (or any other product for that matter) to get a price cut because the sales numbers are disappointing. Next you'll be complaining that Dole owes you 10 cents because you bought a can of peaches the day before it went on sale.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by GrayCalx (597428)
        Dole peaches are on sale? Son of a...
      • by Ogive17 (691899)
        Yes, prices usually drop over the long run, but not 7-8 months after release because the unit isn't selling.

        If I had bought a PS3 at launch and found out about the $100 price drop, I would be upset. I would be mad the 'loyal' fans had to pay more. At the very least, I'd want a voucher for a free game.

        Because honestly, if it wasn't for the loyal playstation fans, would they have sold any units yet?
    • by Kohath (38547)
      Because usually electronics don't go down in price as time goes on?
    • by FroBugg (24957)
      It's indirectly good for the early adopters. When they lower the price, sales should go up. If sales go up, it has the potential to attract more developer attention. More developer attention means more games being released.
    • by Applekid (993327)
      PS2 had a price drop 8 months from launch. PS3: 7 months.

      Of course, doesn't mean early adopters ought to be cheering in the streets... unless you consider that a price drop may mean more sales of the console. A bigger install base means there's a wider audience for your game to develop for PS3. And that's good for everyone with a PS3 including early adopters.
  • Article is FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr Kool, PhD (173800) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:14AM (#19814397) Homepage Journal
    Software emulation on the PS3 works just as well as the hardware emulation!! Software emulation as been in the Euro consoles since release over there. No features are being taken away at all. This is a gaming console we're talking about, not a PC. There is no disadvantage of emulating in software rather than hardware. There are no background apps that will be starved for CPU time because the emulation is in software rather than hardware!

    What's with all the anti-Sony FUD lately?
    • Lately? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tony (765) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:28AM (#19814609) Journal
      What's with all the anti-Sony FUD lately?

      There's been anti-PS3 FUD from day one. I don't know why. Microsoft has contributed with their multi-million dollar "grass-roots" PR campaign, but I don't think they are the sole reason. Sony *has* screwed up in a few ways (like shipping sixaxis controllers with no rumble), but considering how even a *price drop* causes the FUD to fly, it's hardly all due to their mis-steps.

      I don't know why everyone is Sony-hating, but they've been doing it for a long time.
      • I don't know why everyone is Sony-hating, but they've been doing it for a long time.

        The PS3 isn't the only thing Sony screwed up. Remember the rootkit?

        Personally, I was hating Sony before it was popular -- the company's infatuation with stupid proprietary formats (MemoryStick, UMD, MiniDisc, etc.) was enough to do it for me.

      • Re:Lately? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @12:12PM (#19815233)
        The first anti-Sony rants specifically concerning the PS3 that I saw on Slashdot were in March-April 2006, when Sony announced the price for the PS3, and SCEI president Ken Kutaragi made multiple brash statements to support its price. Posters mocked the hubris.

        http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/12/ 1738239 [slashdot.org]

        Articles like this followed:
        http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/15/ 1745252 [slashdot.org]

        Before that time, most of the PS3 posts I remember regarded how cool the cell processor was supposed to be, and how great it would make PS3 games look and feel.

        This of course ignores the rootkit fiasco, and the general hatred of Sony that resulted from it, as Sony stepped out from behind the cover of the RIAA to be in the spotlight as a big bad music label. And it ignores people upset about the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD war and how Sony's 30-year plan to own its own formats has screwed consumers time and time again. And how Sony's content divisions have taken control of the company, rendering products made by their (previously high-quality) hardware divisions crippled, like my otherwise very nice Sony plasma TV that can't play Sony Pictures' movies released on Sony Blu-Ray discs in a Sony Blu-Ray player without downscaling the graphics, because I "might try to copy them".
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jollyreaper (513215)

          The first anti-Sony rants specifically concerning the PS3 that I saw on Slashdot were in March-April 2006, when Sony announced the price for the PS3, and SCEI president Ken Kutaragi made multiple brash statements to support its price. Posters mocked the hubris.

          This sort of thing always makes me stop and gape in wonder. A large, successful company run by people who have proven themselves with smart decisions in the past make a momentous decision with serious future ramifications and proceed to trip over their own dicks. What the hell? These sorts of slow-motion trainwrecks never should have happened. There are rules in place, people whose livelihoods depend on making the right call are in positions of power and have a vested interest in doing right and yet they a

      • Re:Lately? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MeanderingMind (884641) * on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @12:12PM (#19815249) Homepage Journal
        It's a fundamental issue of respect. Sony's PR department has been incompetant, and displayed on a consistant basis the attitude that we, the loyal gamers were sheep for them to shear at their leisure. Over time they improved somewhat, but there was a long period following E3 2006 where nothing that came out of Sony's marketing department was anything but an insult to the intelligence of those reading.

        Gamers, apparently, have a strong ability to bear grudges. While at this time Sony has definately improved their PR, that means diddly squat to a lot of gamers who are still angry about how they were treated last year.

        It doesn't help that Sony hasn't explicitly stated they screwed up their PR, although at this point I'm not sure that would be enough to calm many people.
    • by JordanL (886154)
      Lately? Anti-Sony orgies are one thing that both Slashdot and Digg do with equal prepubescent ferver, and have for months.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:47AM (#19814881) Homepage
      Software emulation on the PS3 works just as well as the hardware emulation!!

      Not according to Sony's own compatability list for the EU PS3 [playstation.com]. While many games work fine, there are also a significant number in the lowest-score "noticeable issues" category. Also note the caveats, like how you should skip optional FMV sequences and how you shouldn't use network modes due to graphical corruption.

      The fact is without even the specifics it should be obvious that software emulation will not work just as well as hardware emulation. Which isn't emulation at all, it's hardware compatability, it's physically utilizing the original PS2 hardware that the game was originally designed to run on. With the hardware "emulation", you basically have an actual PS2 to run your PS2 games on. The Emotion Engine is not simple, and creating a perfectly compatible software version that exactly matches not only every bit of functionality but also the relative timing of operations which many games depend on is very difficult and not something that is going to be made perfect. They will necessarily have to go on a case-by-case basis finding games that depend on a particular quirk of the Emotion Engine and fix them and issue patches.

      I'm not saying the software emulation is crap, and if the games you want to play are well supported according to the compatability list then you should be good to go. I am saying that the switch from hardware compatability to software emulation has hurt backward compatability. That's not FUD, it's a fucking fact. Which should be obvious, because before the EU PS3 release they didn't even have a compatability list because there was no point.
      • Since the 1.8 firmware, even the models that have the hardware emulation have been using the software emulator if you enable upscaling. Yet the emulation is still better than acceptable. Certainly, I prefer it to my non-upscaled actual PS2.

        But you should swear about it, and turn it into a huge issue, and pretend that it's worse than the competition, etc... Go right ahead. It's what we expect from the Slashdot 360 Fanboy, er.... Slashdot Games section.
        • by radish (98371)
          Who said anything about it being worse than the competition? Point me to one quote in this thread saying that. What people are saying is that emulated back compat is not as good as hardware back compat, and that this means that the newer model PS3's are not as good (in this specific respect) compared to the older PS3's. That's all.

          There's no doubt that the PS3, even using software emulation, is better at BC than the 360 - but the original PS3 implementation and the Wii are both better yet as they include th
          • by ivan256 (17499)

            Who said anything about it being worse than the competition? Point me to one quote in this thread saying that.

            I won't, because there wasn't one. That doesn't mean it's not relevant though. Nor does my saying that invalidate the rest of my point. Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not), but last I checked, the PS3 was competing against another system, not against itself. Comparing it to the competition isn't what you do when you're a "fanboy" (as your sister post implies), it's a sane comparison. If I had only m

      • Heck, Legend of Dragoon is a PS1 title and is given their lowest rating for playing in software mode.
    • by AuMatar (183847)
      Software emulation is inherently more buggy than using the actual hardware to emulate it. The reason the PS2 emulated the PS1 so well was that the main CPU of the PS1 was used in the PS2 as an auxilliary processor and could be used to run the PS1 games. Even if you had a perfect emulator environment without software bugs (not gonna happen) a software solution will never have the same timings as a hardware solution because it has to go through an extra layer. And yes, video games trying to max out the bar
  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:15AM (#19814405)
    It's kind of like a Catch-22, with Sony stuck in the middle.

    Price flamewars aside, the main issue with the PS3 is its library isn't really spectacular. Without a decent library (either general or exclusive titles) it is not going to sell well, even if it was the exact price of an XBox 360.

    So, Konami is thinking about not making MGS exclusive to the PS3 because the sales have been poor.

    But the sales won't increase without publishers hitching their star to the PS3 as exclusive titles (even if it's just exclusive for a year or so).


    Then again, I don't see why 3rd party publishers go exclusive anymore. If you can increase sales by 50% by simply recoding an existing product then go for it. Note: I'm a software developer and I know very well that's not as easy as it sounds. But it's obviously possible asince it's being done now (even across the Wii and the 360, which are as different as you can get).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dr Kool, PhD (173800)
      The game library of the PS3 is small compared to the 360 because it shipped a year after the 360. Compare the library of the PS3 to what the Wii has for a fair comparison -- PS3 has far more games. This "problem" with the PS3 will be fixed shortly, there are a bunch of great exclusives just around the corner. MGS, Gran Turismo, Heavenly Sword, Hot Shots Golf, Little Big Planet, etc, etc.

      PS3 is doing just fine for a console that shipped only seven months ago.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sciros (986030)
        It's doing "alright," but the Wii was launched at the same time and it's doing MUCH better.

        The sheer number of games doesn't matter. The quality of the games (and marketability, etc. of course) is what makes the difference. A console can have only 10 games and still be fine if those 10 games are so awesome that everyone buys all 10. Halo 3 for MS is better than 20 crap RPG games for Sony that will barely sell. Likewise FFXIII and FFXIII Versus will do more for PS3 than 20 rubbish sports games on 360. Indeed
      • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@@@wumpus-cave...net> on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @12:08PM (#19815185)

        PS3 worldwide sales are so far following the sales trends of the GameCube [vgchartz.com], with the PS3 getting a small boost from the EU launch. It also follows pretty close to the worldwide XBox sales, which only had a large market share in the US and ignored everywhere else. For US numbers only [vgchartz.com], the PS3 is selling slightly below the GameCube--the also-ran of the last generation in terms of market penetration.

        The PS3 is competing against a console with a year's head start to break 10m units, and another console that has a wicked upwards surge and will probably break 10m units within the next few months. Sony has a lot of work to do to avoid becoming the also-ran of this generation. With the number of exclusives moving multiplatform, it may already be too late to retake momentum.

        • by Senjutsu (614542)

          PS3 worldwide sales are so far following the sales trends of the GameCube, with the PS3 getting a small boost from the EU launch. It also follows pretty close to the worldwide XBox sales, which only had a large market share in the US and ignored everywhere else.

          It's also tracking the sales trend of another console from the last generation [vgchartz.com].

          The truth is, it's simply too soon to tell.

      • Compare the library of the PS3 to what the Wii has for a fair comparison -- PS3 has far more games

        It does? Amazon lists more Wii games than PS3 games. Gamestop does list more PS3 than Wii games, but only about 10% more, not "far more".

    • by *weasel (174362)
      Really, the only problem of the PS3 is the price. That's it.
      There's just a limit to how many people are going to shell out 500/600 for a game console.
      They sold a ton of PS3s at launch and they hit that limit.

      That's why this price cut is so mind-boggling -- it just brings the current price back inline with what was offered at launch. To gamers, the difference between the original 500/600 dollar SKUs just wasn't relevant. If there was anyone out there who was willing to pay $500 for a PS3, they already hav
  • by Alaren (682568) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @11:19AM (#19814463)

    As I noted in the "price drop" discussion, this is an awfully funny way to drop the price. As the PS3 was available at launch for $499, it might be better to call this a "model upgrade." You get a few more features now than you would have on launch, but you still can't go out and buy a PS3 for any cheaper than you could on launch day. I remember reading something around the time Sony announced their pricing that showed $200 or $250 as the historic "sweet spot" for console launches and adjusted for inflation found that the sweet spot was around $400.

    Which means Nintendo came in below target, Microsoft managed to subsidize (initially) enough to keep under target, and Sony has announced a "price drop" that would have put their 20GB model about where it needs to be... except that it's no longer offered, so you still have to pay $499 to get the cheapest PS3 available.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      That's the thing, this $200 sweet spot apparently doesn't psychologically adjust itself to inflation. So you can't get away with arguing "Yeah, $500 seems like a lot, but if you adjust for inflation, it's like you're getting a console that costed $200 many years ago. We're sure our logic will overcome your psychology without difficulty!" Except that electronics goods are constantly getting cheaper, so we expect them to cost the same or less in the future, using whatever the current dollar is.
  • Whether or not (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bullfish (858648)
    People think the PS3 is trash or the best thing ever, it is plain that the Sony braintrust has to do a serious rethink as to their marketing, packaging, partnerships and PR in regards to their console. A $100 price drop isn't going to help their cause much. They gave Nintendo a lesson back in PS1 vs N64 days, a lesson they seem to have forgotten.
  • by alvinrod (889928)
    I think people really like to rag on the PS3 for not being vary successful, but it seems to me that it's not doing terribly bad. If you look at sales numbers [vgchartz.com] and align the launches of the PS3 and the Xbox 360, the PS3 is more or less on the same track that the Xbox 360 was on.

    If you check Amazon [amazon.com] you can see that the PS3 moved up to the number one selling item in the video game section. I think it was substantially lower (If I recall correctly it was 28th) before this from what I've been reading on other sit
    • Ah, but don't forget, the 360 was launched in November, IIRC, and there were supply problems until at least March, if not all the way into summer, of the next year; PS3s seem to have been in easy supply since launch.

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        Look at the sales rate on that graph. If your statement were entirely true, then as soon as more supply became available, the Xbox 360 would have seen a large spike in sales, but the sales trend continues at the same pace until the Christmas season when you see the sharp increase. I imagine that Sony will experience something like this with the PS3 and then fall back to normal, as did the Xbox 360.

        There are plenty of Xbox 360's out in the wild right now that are sitting on shelves and Microsoft had to decre
  • Wasn't the emotion engine supposed to be the next thing since sliced bread? How will removing something powerful make your system sell more? Sure, it will cut down in price, but Sony already took the "Expensive System, sure, but look at the power!" stance. If they buckle on it, I predict they'll continue to crumble.



    At any rate, for myself, selling me a crappier system for $100 less is worse than selling me the real deal for the original price.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pl1ght (836951)
      Today the PS3 is the #1 selling system on Amazon. Futureshop.CA reports they are sold out, and Best Buy.ca was also sold out at one point this morning. It may just be a quick jump following the Price cut and we may see Sony slip back down, but the 100$ off is obviously getting people pulling the trigger on it who otherwise wouldnt be.
      • by Applekid (993327)
        I think it's helping that Amazon is offering it at $500 with a rebate for 5 Blu-Ray movies (of the buyer's choice) with it.

        • by sokoban (142301)
          So is circuit city, IIRC. I don't think circuit city is including a copy of memento and a remote though.
  • In an effort to decrease costs Sony continues to reduce features, and continue to develop their offering.
    I don't get it. What features were removed from the console?

    I understand that Sony has dropped the price of the PS3, and I understand that they've updated its internals for the sake of manufacturing expense.

    But it seems to me that the feature set available to the user are identical. Am I missing something?
  • No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coren2000 (788204) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @12:03PM (#19815109) Journal

    Sony fans undoubtedly cheered the news of a $100 drop in price for the 60GB PS3
    No. Sony fans already bought the PS3 at the full price, those waiting for price drops will wait further.
  • He says: With $500, you can buy a personal computer.

    No you can't. Not one that lets you play the new games at the same quality as the PS3 anyway.

    The PS3 may or may not be too expensive still, but not for this reason.
    • This two-year-old article [tomshardware.com] begs to differ.
      • by Kohath (38547)
        You can get a PC for $500. You can't get a PC that's a comparable (or even a capable) gaming rig for $500. That article doesn't accomplish your goal. It's already more than $500 and it doesn't include an OS. Does it do 60 frames per second at HD resolutions on new games?

        If you want a gaming PC that plays new games, you're not going to be buying a $500 PC in general. It will cost somewhat more than that.
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @01:40PM (#19816403)
    The PS3 still has a chance to be successful. In the end it may not be the dominant system, but it can still do quite well. However, it has one giant obstacle to overcome, even larger than it's price tag. And that's a lack of games.

    The PS3 is suffering from the same problem as the PSP, most games available for the system are crap. There are quite a few that are decent, for the PSP anyway, but virtually none that truly stand out. The cost of the console and questionable media format are mostly secondary factors driving people away from the system.

    It's crucial, of course, that Sony and third party developers are devoted to the console in the long run. I'm impressed by the broad appeal of the Wii. I've met people who I'd never expect to be interested in game consoles telling me they own one. However, I'm also discovered a recurring pattern amongst these people. Many of them own one game: Wii Sports. If they own a second game it's almost always Wii Play, and that's because the game comes with a second controller. Unless there's a somewhat informed gamer in the household I don't see these people buying anything else. And when they do own additional games everyone uniformly considers Wii Sports the most fun. That's the thing with casual and non-gamers. They aren't the most loyal of consumers, at least not in this segment. They're not going to be buying 10 games or more a year.

    So this is where the PS3 still has a viable future. Provided, of course companies start releasing some great games for the console. If the PS3 had phenomenal games people wouldn't be complaining about cost and Bluray. People have no problem paying for an iPhone which other than having a unique interface and the Apple brand image doesn't really do anything the competitors can't do. And on top of that it costs as much as a PS3!
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @03:00PM (#19817339) Homepage Journal
    The embedded PS2 chip in the original PS3s was one of the most glaring signs that Sony had rushed the PS3 to market before it was ready. The several firmware upgrades in the 7-8 months since its release (up to 1.82 or so now) are more signs that Sony's tech is catching up to its marketing rollout.

    The PS3 HW was always planned to offer PS2 support in SW emulation, not the chip. But they didn't finish the SW until the EU rollout, when they could finally drop the chip that was faster to design in than was emulation.

    So what has happened is that Sony is now dropping its PS3 price right as it's dropping the more expensive HW kluge. That alone doesn't raise any realistic doubts. If anything, it shows how skillful is Sony in mitigating its project management and marketing risks with alternate designs. Because users won't even notice the difference. All they'll notice is dropping prices and increased functions.

    But what I want to see is Sony actually change 2 basic PS3 limits that hold back Linux on it. First, Sony must offer a model with RAM expandable beyond the 256-500MB hardwired into current models. Without more RAM, the fast Cell rips through all the data in 2ms, then can rely on all its IO to get only enough data to keep the Cell about 2-5% busy.

    The other change Sony should make is to open the Hypervisor [wikipedia.org] to allow SW running on the Cell to call at least the 2D graphics functions on the RSX videochip. Otherwise, all video must be computed on the Cell. PCs all put all that graphics/video computation/rendering on the VGA coprocessor.

    If not, people will have to port Linux X drivers to the Cell SPEs. That could happen anyway, for even more interesting video processing than that built into the RSX. Once PS3 has video codecs ported to SPEs or RSX, MythTV will become a killer app, with a USB TV decoder feeding it, and a DLNA server [wikipedia.org] for archive.
  • by Distan (122159) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @03:47PM (#19817915)
    If Sony doesn't want to fall into distant third in this round of the console wars, they need to get off their backside and take action to get this pig selling.

    The formula is simple:

    Nintendo has made a bold statement with a $250 console. Sony should "see and raise" Nintendo's position.

      - Sell the 80-GB console for $199.95 (The Wii killer)
      - Announce a 300-GB console with bundled DVR software and lifetime subscription to channel guide for $499 (The Tivo killer)
      - Announce free signing for any GPL Linux Distributions (The PC killer)

    Badda-bing, Nintendo is back to sucking hind teat.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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