A US$500 PS3?

A new report from industry analysts Wedbush Morgan is predicting that the usual things will happen when a new games console is released: it’s be very expensive on début, and decline in price afterwards.

WM’s report, The Definition of Insanity: Why the Next Console Cycle Will Start Off With a Whimper, bases its pricing of the PS3 on an assumption that it will be like Japan’s PSX – full of extra functions. I think this won’t be the case at all.

The PSX has a digital tuner, has PVR functionality and a DVD writer and is marketed as a home media centre that plays games. Gamers aren’t too worried about having a PVR that plays Killzone 2, PVRs appeal to a slightly older audience. Gamers aren’t too bothered about their games console having a DVD writer in it either – they have PCs for that.

WM predict that the PS3 will be priced on its US début at US$500 (€411) in 2005. I say it’ll be more like US$300 (€249), and because we always get fleeced here in the UK, call it UK£300 (€450) on its UK début.

The report predicts that PS2 games will be produced through 2008, which when you consider that PS1 games are still being made ten years after the original appeared, is not too much of a stretch of the imagination.

WM feel that the PS2’s backwards compatibility with PS1 titles was a key factor in its success, and with doubts over XBox 2’s compatibility with older titles we might just get to see this replayed and confirmed.

The report also attacks discounting of games, and they certainly have a point: gamers have come to expect prices of titles older than six months or so to drop dramatically, and so just wait until they do. WM’s recommendation to combat this isn’t going to win them any friends: keep supplies scarce at the beginning, and keep the price up.

See, I told you analysts were evil.

The report

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?