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.