Monday, September 24, 2007

Console Post of the Week

Sony's big TGS announcement on Thursday was that they've added rumble to the PS3 controller.


This was the same feature they derided as "last-gen," and Penny Arcade does a very good job of examining this seeming contradiction here.

Oh, and they've delayed Home until Spring 2008, which we all knew weeks ago when they said they were going to "roll it out slowly."

Price cut? Not a chance.

Here's an excerpt from a GameDaily BIZ article:
Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter and other analysts had been fairly confident in predicting that Sony would lower the price on the PS3, the PS2 or perhaps even both, but Hirai made no such announcement. Pachter told GameDaily BIZ that he's a bit perplexed by Sony's non-action on the pricing front.

"I'm really not sure what they're thinking," he commented. "Hirai said no cut this year when asked the direct question, so I think the PS3 cut is unlikely until Spring. It now looks like the delay of Home and the lack of any killer games this year made them reconsider whether a price cut in 2007 would have much impact."

Pachter added, "I would not rule out a PS2 price cut, but it looks like we can put the PS3 cut to bed until some time early next year."

Well, they're not thinking. They haven't been thinking for quite a while now, and until they do, we should assume they won't.

So Pachter's projection for lifetime sales of the PS3 had already fallen from 100 million to 50 million as this last year has unfolded. Where are they now?

This was also very interesting:
"Going aggressive only on price without being able to back it up with content doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," [Hirai] said. Hirai added that a price cut would have a "real impact" on hardware sales only if Sony also provided enough software titles to support the PS3.

Think about that for a minute. This is a system that launched almost a year ago, and Hirai is admitting (accurately) that the PS3 is still poorly-represented by first party titles. Based on his statement, he's writing off this holiday season. That's fairly stunning.

Here's my best guess on the next four months: if Sony lowers the 80GB price to $499, then the 360 will outsell the PS3 2-1 for the the September-December period. If they don't, and the 80GB stays at $599, then the margin will be 2.5-1 or even 3-1.

Either way, that's an ass-kicking.

On to Nintendo. There are a few anecdotal reports that Wii's seem to be slightly more available than they have been for the last few months in the U.S. Slightly.

Andy Stingel mentioned another point about Nintendo and Australia (Australia, where their major sporting import seems to be getting screwed in the World Cup), and here it is:
Aaron Rex Davies didn't mention the number of Nintendo games that never even make it to Australia. GameCube titles which spring to mind are "Custom Robo" & "Baten Kaitos Origins" (both published by Nintendo in other regions) and "Harvest Moon: Magical Melody" - and I know there were others.

Even the GCN games which made it to Australia were hard to get through most of the system's lifespan - one major retailer stopped carrying 'cube games years ago, and EB only carried selected titles - mail order was often the only option.

Wii games get less retail space than XBOX and PS from every B&M retailer I've seen, and I regularly hear the Wii being dismissed by retail staff as a very poor alternative to other systems.

If Nintendo's position as the the console with the largest installed user-base does lead to more software coming to the Wii I fear there's a lot of it we won't see in Australia.

One last note. It will be interesting to see if either Nintendo or Sony announce anything that would blunt Halo 3's suffocating coverage, or if they're both just going to conede the week and hope the furor dies down quickly.

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