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Activision CEO Hoping For $200 PS3, 360 By '09 81

Gamespot reports on comments made by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick at this week's Reuters Media Summit in NYC; the publishing veteran feels strongly that deep price cuts are needed in the next two years to ensure that this generation of consoles reaches a truly mass market audience. For comparison: "The original Xbox dropped to the sub-$200 range six months after debuting at $299 in November 2001. The PlayStation 2, which also retailed for $299 when it launched in 2000, fell below $200 in May 2002, and subsequently has sold more than 120 million units as of its seventh anniversary in October. Nintendo's ill-fated last-generation console, the GameCube, was originally listed at $199 when it first went on sale in November 2001, though that price was cut to $150 by May 2002."
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Activision CEO Hoping For $200 PS3, 360 By '09

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  • It's weird to have someone announce that some consoles will not undercut the competition for an additional year, especially with news that the Wii still sells so well that it's barely in stores long enough to collect dust.
    • by DeepZenPill ( 585656 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:08PM (#21522025)
      People need to stop using hardware sales as the sole metric for determining success. Nintendo's business plan is fundamentally different than that of MS and Sony because they're actually turning a profit on each console sold. The other two rely on game sales for profits, which seems to be working at the moment for the 360, perhaps slowly followed by the PS3.

      Take a look at recent sales numbers: http://www.vgchartz.com/aweekly.php [vgchartz.com]

      Scroll down to where software sales by system are compared, then subtract out the number of Wii Sports and Wii Play sales from the Wii total to find out the non-bundled sales number. You would end up with software sales as follows (of this generation):

      1. 2,369,203 - Xbox360
      2. 1,944,527 - Wii
      3: 943,709 - PS3

      Nintendo's really moving their systems, but with the exception of Super Mario Galaxy and the two bundled games, has a relative dearth of top 10 titles for the Wii. Xbox360 in terms of hardware sales, while trailing the Wii, and depending on the week selling on par with the PS3, is doing quite strongly in software sales. More expensive system, more expensive games, and still sells a lot.

      So if you're MS, why cut prices just because the Wii is cheaper? They're going to keep on chugging along until their costs come down enough that the increase in game sales from a price cut outweighs the foregone income on hardware sales.

      Nintendo isn't dominating the market but expanding the market, which is exactly what they set out to do. In succeeding at this goal they've shown that there is room for more than one console and discussion of a 'winner' is generally unproductive.
      • by pembo13 ( 770295 )
        Did you subtract for the loss Sony and Microsoft reportedly take on their hardware?
        • The numbers he quoted were the number of software titles sold. Why would he subtracts "dollars lost per console sold" from "number of software titles sold?" They're not... the same units.
      • I'd say considering the 360 has been out for twice as long as the Wii, Nintendo looks to be doing pretty well. Software sales will always lag behind hardware.
      • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:31PM (#21523291)
        Wii Play isn't a bundled game. In addition, you aren't taking into account how much longer the developers have had to work with the xbox 360, which allows for more games like Forza and Mass Effect, the games that take a while to make. Also, there are about 33% more xbox 360s that have been sold. Overall, the Wii is still doing as well or better than the xbox in software sales, which means that overall they're doing much better.
        • by bartoku ( 922448 )
          Wii play $50, bundled with a Wii Remote. Wii Remote $40. Wii play is a bundled game, albeit a fun one.
          For awhile the easiest way to get an extra Wii Remote was to buy Wii Play.

          The Wii hardware is the same architecture as the Gamecube, Gamecube has been in developers hands longer than the 360. Arguably the Wii Remote has not. The reason developers are behind, is because they did not plan on the Wii becoming so successful, and did not have games in the pipe.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        Don't forget that Wii Sports has substantial sales in Japan and is sold separately from the Wii there.
      • You need to add back in Wii play. It isn't a pack in. That adds over Three million to the Wiis software sales numbers.
        That pushes the Wii past the 360 in total software sales.
        • Wii play isn't bundled with the Wii, I should have clarified. It is bundled with a Wii remote however, so gamers looking to purchase a second Wiimote (a pretty common occurrence) will pick up the combo package. Regardless, the point I was trying to make wasn't really which system is #1 and which is #2 in sales. I only picked the most recent week's data which is just one point in time and gives a limited view of sales by itself.

          The point is that both a cheap system with cheaper games and an expensive syst
      • 1. 2,369,203 - Xbox360
        2. 1,944,527 - Wii
        3: 943,709 - PS3

        What? That's without Wii Play (which is a stand-alone product) and Wii Sports (which isn't bundled in Japan)? This can't be right. The Wii is doing a hell of a lot better than I expected, almost on par with the Xbox even though the Xbox appeals to a much more "hardcore" crowd! That's incredible!

  • The same time they start giving away the Wii as a free prize in every Cracker Jack box. Or when the 8th generation systems comes around...
  • would buy then (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kranfer ( 620510 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:26PM (#21521299) Homepage Journal
    I saw a similar story in the firehose to this one... As I said there, I would purchase a PS3 if the price was right. $200 is about that price, if this happens, sign me up for one.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by flitty ( 981864 )
      Honestly, this isn't meant as flamebait, but even at $200 right now, i'd still hold off until some of those "must have" titles start showing up. I bought a 360 because the critical mass of good games hit, and I'm very happy with the games i've played, very much worth the purchase. I just don't see the critical mass of games that are intriguing to me (important point there) that the 360 has.

      Perhaps in a year (like the article says) $200 might be a good price if the titles that are scheduled to come ou
      • Even in a year, $200 will probably be bargain-basement cheap for blue-ray players.
        • Heck, I would buy the PS3 at $250 simply because it's a 3.2GHz 8-core Linux box. Blu-ray is just icing, and I would still prefer movies in HD DVD. BD+ and Region Coding == annoying.
          • by nuzak ( 959558 )
            7 core. One SPE's disabled, and another one is running the hypervisor. Only one of those cores is a full-blown CPU.

            The Xenon's got 6 full cores at the same clock speed as the Cell's CPU core. They are in-order though, and well, it's sure been a bitch getting linux booting on it (there was a hack that succeeded, but it got patched and locked out. Those eFuses are a bitch.)
            • by G Fab ( 1142219 )
              You can't run Linux on an XBOX 360, so who cares how many cores the Xenon has in this context? What an odd reply.

                The Cell is a very interesting processor, and it's obviously superior to the Xenon in many ways. The fact that the PS3 is the most open mass produced console in recent history is a valid selling point.

              If you like games... well I'd advice the new xbox and a long term warranty.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by slyn ( 1111419 )
      I don't see why people think that the PS3 is expensive. Think of how much you would pay for each feature of the system separately.

      - Blu Ray player: $250++ (on the low end)
      - Games: $100++ (PS2 is like $100ish, and the ps3 has much much much better graphics + potential awesomeness due to blu ray capacity)
      - Internet Gameplay: $50 (Its 50 a year for XBL, for the PS3 its "free" (in the cost of the games and system))

      Congrats, now your at $400. Now think of all the other things you can do with it.

      - Upscale DVD
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by theantipop ( 803016 )
        The problem is it adds no value to what I really would want it for: playing games. Personally, I couldn't give a damn about high-def movies, or browsing the web or playing games over the internet. There aren't any PS3's left with full back-compatability and of the games exclusive to the console, nothing even remotely interests me.

        I'd buy a 360 for their exclusives if it just came with a damn integrated wifi adapter. The 360 starts to look pretty weak when you take $350 and throw in another $100. IMO,
        • by nuzak ( 959558 )
          > I'd buy a 360 for their exclusives if it just came with a damn integrated wifi adapter.

          I can never figure out the huge demand for this sort of thing. Are you in the habit of toting your console around to starbucks? Most people have a switch that has a wifi AP built into it, so it's not like it couldn't stream off your laptop anyway. I can see the appeal of one less wire, but it's a pretty minor aesthetic thing, considering that at the least you need the HDMI (or more likely the bulky component cable
          • I rent and have no access to my modem and router. It's physically impossible for me to run a cable.
          • I can never figure out the huge demand for this sort of thing. Are you in the habit of toting your console around to starbucks?

            Or perhaps its much easier to have WiFi than run cables all over your house? I'm glad with Wii comes with wireless; since i already have a wireless network, I was up and running after plugging it in, no need for me to figure out how to run cables through a wall.
          • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

            Maybe you keep your computer right next to your TV in the living room. Many of us keep our computers in the office.
        • by slyn ( 1111419 )

          The problem is it adds no value to what I really would want it for: playing games. Personally, I couldn't give a damn about high-def movies, or browsing the web or playing games over the internet. There aren't any PS3's left with full back-compatability and of the games exclusive to the console, nothing even remotely interests me.

          If you don't care about high-def movies, then take solace in that the PS3 can store something like twice what the 360 in it's games due to the extra space in blu ray disks. That me

          • I would be contradicting myself if there weren't the Live Arcade.

            If you don't care about high-def movies, then take solace in that the PS3 can store something like twice what the 360 in it's games due to the extra space in blu ray disks. That means that the if all you use the PS3 for is playing games, the graphical potential is higher, as well as the sort of Mass Effect epic storyline potential (think of what that game might have been if instead of 7 gigs of available content (dual layer dvd) it had 25 gigs of available content (blu ray)).

            Show me a game where this potential meets with reality and I'll agree.

            Browsing the web might not be great for slashdot, but if you do enjoy modding games, it gives you a medium to do so, and thus brings it more to feature parity with PC gaming.

            Which is why I'll stick with my PC for this. I'm not saying there is no merit to the PS3. What I am saying is that for me it brings nothing new or interesting to the table in terms of gaming, which is all I'm interested in when speaking of game consoles. I expect a lot of people feel similarly.

          • Show me a game that completely fills a Bluray disc with anything other than prerendered video and I'll show you a game that will never earn back its development costs.
      • by Aedrin ( 1175509 )
        It plays a few games, is big and bulky and plays a movie format I don't want. Congrats, I'm still at $0.00 It has nothing big that makes you -want- it. So yes, $400 (for a completely stripped version) is expensive because the value is not there. I'm sure the hardware is worth the money though (since Sony loses on money on each console). The enjoyment gotten out of a $250 Wii (which is not stripped down) is far greater (everyone can join in) compared to the PS3.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I agree it is an amazing machine, but I'm looking for a console on which to play games. I don't have an HDTV (and won't be buying one soon) I have a kickass PC for browsing the web and actually modding games, and firmware updates is not an advantage. I don't give a shit about Home, and I don't care about running linux on my console. I care about playing fun games at a reasonable cost. The PS3 doesn't offer much of either. Right now the PS3 has two games that I could see myself playing, maybe. Both of them
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LKM ( 227954 )
        I own a PS3. I use it for playing games. It cost 600 bucks.

        It doesn't matter that the PS3 also does all this other crap, it's still 600 bucks for a console used for playing games.
  • I don't see any indication that Activision will be giving Sony/MS a subsidy for their consoles. I also like spending other peoples money but lets be realistic.
    • wasn't the low end PS3 close to this point when Sony gave it the Ax, and gave the next model up the low-end slot?
      • Sort of. The price cuts to the low-end models were to clear out existing inventory so the low-end model wouldn't be competing with the next model up.
  • Ill-fated? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Orange Crush ( 934731 ) * on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:34PM (#21521419)

    Granted, the Nintendo GameCube wasn't the most popular console last time around. But it sold reasonably well and made Nintendo a tidy profit. I'd hardly call it "ill-fated."

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      Indeed...for an ill-fated console Nintendo sure made a ton of money while MS never got into the black, and as to if Sony ever got into the black is still up for debate. All the sources I know though point to that the PS2 never did make an overall profit. When it comes down to who will be around when investors want to ax divisions that aren't making money Nintendo will be the only one who doesn't have to worry.
      • Re:Ill-fated? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:10PM (#21522043) Homepage
        Nintendo doesn't have any option but to make money on their console division, because that's the entire company. I find is amazing that Nintendo is even in the game at all anymore. When the other companies don't even have to make a profit, it becomes very hard to compete against them. They have had consoles with not-so-high sales numbers the previous 2 generations (before the Wii), but the fact that they made a profit through all that shows that they must be doing something right.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          I find it amazing that Sony is still around actually. Nintendo always makes money on their console and they're the only one of the three to consistently turn large profits from the gaming industry. By comparison, its two competitors spend their time either sinking into the red and losing money or going back and forth between making and losing money.

          If anyone was to survive in this industry, it would be Nintendo because they've proven time and again that they can profit from anything (even Gamecube-esqe
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by nuzak ( 959558 )
            Sony has been making a per-unit profit on the PS2 for years. It's going to take them a while to get the same on the PS3, but it'll likely happen too. The DVD format, BTW, was also a big cost for Sony when the PS2 came out, but it worked out well for them. Sony is arrogant, but not entirely stupid.

            • They are making per unit profits, but have they ever regained the money they spent on developing it? Or the money they lost on the first 50 million units? Same goes for the PS3. They may eventually start selling them for more than it costs to make them, but they are already in a deep whole. And with the PS3 not selling as well as previous generations, it will take them a long to make up all the money they lost.
            • The PS2 worked out for Sony for DVD because there was a big difference between watching a VHS tape of your favorite movie, and having it in 5.1 surround sound with better video, even if DVD movies were expensive then. DVD players were about the cost of a PS2, so this was a no-brainer to get a system that could play DVDs as well as games, plus the PS1 library was backwards compatible with it.

              The PS3 is trying to push the same kind of magic, but DVDs are now so entrenched to the point where all you need i
          • wow, you REALLY think Sony is in the red with the PS1 and PS2? You might argue that they never made much money off the hardware, but they raked in the dough with the licensing. Sony made money off of EVERY game ever sold on their system. I'd bet you large sums of money that Sony made a significant profit in the last two generations. And lets not kid ourselves about the Gamecube. It might have made a small profit, but it was the GBA and the DS that was keeping Nintendo in business. They weren't livin o
        • Nintendo only makes videogames? Dude, they also make killer money from licenseing francises like mario, pokemon, zelda, etc out to movie, tv, and comic companies. Combine that with their cheep hardware and them farming out some of their francises to 2nd parties, and its a recipie for cash.
      • by seebs ( 15766 )
        I haven't seen convincing evidence that Sony didn't make a couple-few billion on the PS2. Less if you look at the "losses" of the PS3 dev cycle...
        • Wow, great circular argument ya got there. I haven't seen any convincing evidence that Santa doesn't exist either (see how dumb that sounds?). They don't exactly have any numbers saying they did make a few billion off the PS2. Investors like those statements. Sure they did a few billion in sales, but the dev costs of the system, manufacturing, and such nullify just about all of that money from being anywhere near what say Nintendo did in profits, and thats still if they managed to get into the black. Maybe
          • by seebs ( 15766 )
            I agree that they probably didn't make as much money as Nintendo did, but basically, if you sum their game division profits and losses... Of course, it's hard to tell what's PS1 and what's PS2. I don't think the PS2 made MUCH money, but the recent huge losses appear to have to do with the PS3, and with the huge cost of developing it.
      • by jbellis ( 142590 )
        > All the sources I know though point to that the PS2 never did make an overall profit.

        Huh? Sony's games division turned a phenomenal profit for several years before the ps3 started draining huge amounts of money. That profit is mostly ps2, with some psp thrown in.

        PS2 made Sony a _lot_ of money.
        • Yes, they make quarterly profits. Even the Xbox did that. Thats easy once you sink a ton of losses getting the first system out the door. With those costs factored in the PS2 made Sony very little money if any overall. Not to mention the failure rate of PS2s doesn't exactly help their bottom line. I'm an owner of 4 dead PS2s, and one mildly working PS2. It's easy to hit the numbers sold that they have with their system when the systems are that shoddily built.
          • by nuzak ( 959558 )
            > I'm an owner of 4 dead PS2s, and one mildly working PS2.

            And I've only ever owned one. The consistent factor here appears to be you.
            • I have to agree with nuzak. I still use my original PS2 which I think I bought in early 2002. I've never had to have it repaired either.
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      "Ill-fated" may be a harsh and poorly chosen phrase, but the GameCube is not exactly going down in history as a favorite for gamers. After the success of the N64 (everyone wanted one), the GC just seems... lame. I had one and actually sold it well before the Wii came out. It simply wasn't worth dusting so often.

      Were there a few 'good' games? Sure. But the Wii already has more 'good' games (IMO) than the GC had over its entire lifespan. That's pretty pathetic. And compared to the number of titles tha
      • Whether the company makes a profit is definitely -not- a major concern for most gamers.

        I've always had trouble understanding the people who engage in arguments about which game company has the better business model, as if that made some difference. I owned a GameCube and currently own a Wii, but I didn't buy them because I knew Nintendo was making a profit on my console purchase (if anything, it makes me think they could afford a price drop).

        However, while I'm acutely aware of the relative unpopularity of the GameCube among the consoles of the last generation (hey, it beat the Dreamcast),

      • by LKM ( 227954 )

        "Ill-fated" may be a harsh and poorly chosen phrase, but the GameCube is not exactly going down in history as a favorite for gamers.

        In the sudent flat I lived a few years ago, we had a PS2 and a Cube. Most of the time, the PS2 wasn't even plugged into the TV. Depending on what you use your console for, the Cube may be the clear winner of the last gen; four controller ports from the get-go and tons of Party games sealed the deal for us.

        Why play GTA when you can race your pals in Mario Kart? :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Activision games to be listed for under $10.
    • by iainl ( 136759 )
      Actually, that's very insightful indeed - Activision were at the head of the queue of publishers pushing for the $60 pricetag on 360 games come launch time. They were also at the head of the queue labelled "people responsible for lazy PS2 ports", oddly enough.
  • by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @02:58PM (#21521883) Homepage
    You'd think that with what the CEO of Activision makes he could afford more than $200 for a PS3.
  • I could easily see this an the wii still selling out. But, it would likely give a big boost to the Xbox 360 sales and nearly destroy PS3 during holiday. Xbox 360 Core - 225 Premium - 300 Elite - 375
  • $200? Let's be optimistic here!! Also just in time for Final Fantasy XIII would be ideal.
  • Wishful thinking. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Boogaroo ( 604901 ) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:19PM (#21523115) Homepage
    Lemme see...Head of company only responsible for making profits off software expects hardware manufacturers(MS/Sony) to take even larger losses on their hardware just to make the software companies happy. Yeah, that'll happen any day now.

    There's a point where the loss might be a justifiable risk and MS/Sony bean counters have already worked that dollar figure out. Activision's, or any other software vendor's most sincere wish for a price cut isn't going to make a bit of difference when the managers at Microsoft or Sony have meetings to determine when to make that choice. Trying to put pressure on the console makers by making this a press release just makes Activision look dumb.
    • by MBCook ( 132727 )
      Maybe they shouldn't make hardware so expensive they have no choice but to sell it at tremendous losses? You don't have to make profit on every console, but you don't have to lose $200 per console at the start either.
      • Yes, but that decision would have been made four years ago while designing the machines. It's a little late to change that now. Perhaps they'll consider this a lesson to learn.
        While I like my Wii, I hope that the competition will continue so that we all benefit next generation.
    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      It's a way of saying "we are not happy with the current performance of your system and are thinking about migrating to another to increase profits".
  • by jonesy16 ( 595988 ) <jonesy&gmail,com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:39PM (#21523423)
    So the CEO of a game company that sells . . . oh let's start with Rock Band, for about $170 to run on a game console that he wants to cost $200. I'm not sure if this is a sign of good things (e.g., hardware costs coming down so you're only spending money on content), or content prices going up to compete with hardware costs. I mean, remember the day when your computer costs $2k and games were $30 to $40? Is that easier or harder to stomach when hardware costs are equivalent to only 3 or 4 games? I, for one, was a little outraged to find that Guitar Hero III for the Wii was $90. For what? Well, music licensing I guess, but still, $90 for a game.
    • by Turken ( 139591 )
      It's not quite as bad as you make it out to be.

      First off, Rock Band is a Harmonix/MTV game, whereas Guitar Hero III is the Activision game. And second, in both cases the high price of the supposed "software" is directly the result of the actual software coming bundled with hardware peripherals. If you buy just the Rock Band or Guitar hero software (they are sold separately for some of the systems) then you'll find that the software is the same price as any other new release on said system.

      Of course, if Ac
    • Is it just me or are you trolling?

      The wii version comes with both the game and *HINT* Guitar. Buy the game alone for 50 bucks like you normally would. Again Rockband, alone it has the standard prices of respective consoles ($60 game for ps3 & x360). It has yet to come out for the ps2, that's in december and even that will have a similar pricing scheme, Game only ($50), with hardware? 160. Now why 160? you get a drum set, a guitar, and a microphone. That's a damn good deal if I do say so myself.
      • Well I wasn't intending to troll, I'm far too busy to waste time with that. I'm just posing the observation that console prices are quickly approaching the prices of the games we play on them and wondering how other people feel about that. You and someone else have both posted that yes, that price does include "hardware". In the case of guitar hero III for the wii that means they give you a plastic controller shaped like a guitar with a few buttons on it. Worth $40? I'd wager not since it's really just
        • by grumbel ( 592662 )
          ### I'm just posing the observation that console prices are quickly approaching the prices of the games we play on them

          This has always been the case for consoles. Back in the day of the SNES games where 100-150DM and I payed for the console 266DM, The N64 was 300DM, and games where often 100-150DM. Gamecube was 400DM, games were 100DM. If anything, games have gotten cheaper (even so XBox360/PS3 seem to try to conquer that trend, since prices are $10 up from last generation).

          Guitar Hero is the *very rare* ex
  • ... duke nukem forever!
  • To get a PS3 down to $200, what would you *actually* be getting? I'm guessing the following features:

    No Hard Disk included
    No DualShock controller included
    No Wifi adapter
    No bundled software
    No component/HDMI cables
    An external power brick
    Ad-supported version of PSN

    I'm not excited enough for a PS3 that for $200 all these "Features" would make me buy it. The only game I currently want but can't have is Ratchet & Clank. And that'll only be $19.99 on the budget shelf when I eventually do get around to getti
    • by iainl ( 136759 )
      Given that only the other week Sony announced they were putting the PS2 power brick back inside the main machine _as a cost saving measure_ I fail to see why they would put it outside on the PS3.

      But bring it on; I'd quite like a $200 BluRay player.

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