Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Console Post of the Week (Supplemental)

N'Gai Croal has a new installment of Monday Morning Quarterback, which is basically a roundtable discussion by e-mail about the previous month's NPD numbers. If you want to keep up with what's going on in the console world, it's become required reading, and here's an excerpt:
...I started to get some, ah, rumblings from trusted sources outside of Sony that, if true, strongly suggest that a $399 SKU is on the way. My source tells me that Sony placed a sizable order for 40 gigabyte hard drives. My source also informs me that the profit and loss on hardware has been moved from Sony Computer Entertainment International (SCEI) to the regional groups, SCE America, SCE Europe and SCE Japan. This means that each territory is now free to set its own pricing on PS3 hardware, but those individual territories are responsible for managing the hit to their profitability if they decide to cut the price.

Again, if my source is correct, I'd expect to see a $399 PS3 in North America before Thanksgiving.

So there's more speculation on a $399 unit. Far more interesting, potentially, is that P&L has been moved from SCEI to the regional units.

See the full Monday Morning Quarterback here.

Jesse Leimkuehler sent me some very interesting links this morning to FCC reports that may verify Ngai's source. The report is a "Radio Test Report" from Underwriters Laboratories Japan, and it appears to be a test report on a new PS3 model.

The first link Jesse sent me is here, and it's the test report on the original PS3, model number CECHA01. The second link is here, and it's a letter to the FCC in the U.S. concerning the 80GB unit, which is given model number CECHE01.

The third link is from a test report dated "August 27 to September 5, 2007" (in reference to the testing period). That report is here, and it appears to be a test of a new model number--CECHG01.

If you look at the diagrams and notes in each report, it's easy to see that two of the front USB ports have been removed. It also looks like memory card support has been removed (referred to as "USB memory" in the report on the original console version). The new model, though, does have one addition: a port in front that was tested using a PSP, so I assume that's for a wired connection between the PS3 and the PSP.

Does this mean we'll be seeing a $399 model? I have no idea. But it does look like something's afoot, and it does look like Sony has stripped away a few features to lower the cost of the BOM. I would urge caution concerning all of this information, though, since it's totally unverified at this point.

Jesse mentioned that he originally saw these links on a PS3 forum, but I'm not sure which forum or which poster, so I'll update later to give credit to both when I find out more information. [UPDATE: Jesse let me know that he originally saw the post on PS3 at www.ps3forums.com, and the poster's handle was 'konangrit.']

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