: Editorial: Pick A Model And Go With It, Sony

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Editorial: Pick A Model And Go With It, Sony

Seriously. This constant barrage of new PlayStation 3 models needs to stop, and it needs to stop soon. Despite the system's newfound momentum and the fact the PS3 has the strongest software lineup for 2008 (it's a fact, people), this model-juggling is not going over well with consumers. Plain and simple.

As much as I hate to see it, a lot of the PC gaming world has been rubbing off on the console world. One of the biggest advantages of playing your games on consoles in the past was extremely obvious to every gamer: you never have to upgrade the hardware. You can drop the initial investment (which remains a fraction of what a quality PC gaming rig would cost), and never have to pay another dime for "upgrades" for the next 5-7 years. To start this new generation, Sony greeted consumers with two PlayStation 3 models to choose from, which was an immediate mistake. Not surprisingly, the 20GB model dropped off the radar very quickly; nobody wanted the thing. Then came the 80GB model in mid-2007, which added 20 gigs worth of hard drive space but shipped without that nifty graphics synthesizer chip found in the 60GB model. Yeah, that means no more full backwards compatibility for PS2 games. That's a major deal, primarily because there are 120 million PS2s sitting in homes around the world.

Then came the 40GB model, which worked out very well...but not because it was a different model. No, it worked out because it was $100 cheaper than any previous PS3 model, and that's the only reason. Now, rumors of a 120GB model are plastered all over the Internet (GameStop claims it's a fact), and to be honest, I have no idea what Sony is doing. I was one of the few who supported Sony throughout this whole process, and with the PS3 coming up all roses lately, I definitely feel vindicated in my beliefs. Their marketing strategy has always worked with the PlayStation brand, and there's no getting around that fact. Therefore, I believed in both Sony and the PS3 right off the bat. When examining a company's position, we're always supposed to look at its history regarding similar products...do that, and I can't see how any rational human would believe the PS3 wouldn't survive and flourish. But this jumping around with a bunch of different models is counterproductive. It needs to stop.

Look, you've got two kinds of people who shop for a PS3: gamers, and those who are looking for a gift for a gamer. The latter group's eyes glaze over when an employee starts to lay down statistics, and the eyes glaze further when multiple models are involved. Eventually, they just lose interest. The gamer, especially long-time console gamers, aren't so interested in dropping the money for a new system when there are rumors of yet another model soon arriving on the market. Bottom line? You get a lot of people who are waiting until Sony settles on a model, and at this rate, they may never do that. They've said in the past that they will "continue to evaluate market trends" in each territory, and then issue new PS3 models accordingly. This is the only part of their marketing strategy that I disagree with, but it's significant. Worst of all, every last one of the models that came out after the original 60GB model can be considered "gimped," even though they do cost less. This isn't an ideal situation for either Sony or the consumer.

Sony, please: just pick a model and go with it. If you want to have a permanent option or something - I don't mind the idea of having 2 SKUs on store shelves, provided they stay the same - then fine. But this process of continually implementing all new models is starting to wear on me...and others.

3/4/2008 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (11 posts)

Warukyure [Power User]
Tuesday, March 04, 2008 @ 10:33:28 PM
Reply

I think it will be over by summer. I think 40 and 80GB are the sizes they will market, but I'm not sure if they are going to change the controller in the 40GB bundle.

My bets are:
1) 40GB, No DualShock3 bundled, 1 Movie (should get something besides Spiderman3...)
2) 80GB, DualShock3 Bundled, 1 Game. (Probably by June there will be a budget line up and its probably gonna be Resistance or Ratchet.) Much like MGS4 Bundle.

The reason they are getting rid of 80GB's now is probably to clear the floor for units with DualShock3s.

Sidenote, if Sony ever made a PS2 redesign, I'm sure they could reinvigorate sales of the PS2.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bamf
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 12:47:32 PM

I feel that both should have the Dualshock3.

For me I think there should only be one SKU. Having the 60gb only at launch would have been fine and the cost reduction can be past onto the consumer. All these Sku's are only really offering extra or less with price reduction HDD's. What Sony should of done is given consumers a writtin guide with diagrams or pictures for installing a HDD.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deffious
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 1:56:13 AM
Reply

I don't understand you people sometimes. Especially the types that make up these write ups. one would expect that you guys ahould be more in the know of what is happenning.

Yes, the 80gb and 40gb are gimped when compared to the 60gb. but the truth is that it was costing sony more to make those SKUs and people were not buying into them. Every one were clearly going at sony to lower costs and they did. At the expense of BC on the 40gb.

i think its a fair deal, if you want BC (and this talk about it not being full is lame, it covers over 85% of PS2 games) get the 80gb. I think its great that there is a clear distinction between th two SKUs (80gb and 40gb).

Most importantly, what does it matter if they introduce a 120gb SKU? What is important is that the price. If a 120gb SKU is relaesed at $500, how is that a problem? If the wanna replace the 40gb with an 80gb but keep the price at $400, how is that a problem? Don't make problems up where they don't exist.

Bottom line, whatever sony is doing is working, just look at the sales trends since the announcement of the 40gb sku.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 10:59:31 AM

You missed the point, Deffious. I'm well aware of everything you said, and if you read carefully, you would've realized my problem isn't with what they did in the past. I KNOW why they issued the different models. My problem is with the corporate policy of continuing to "evaluate market trends" and subsequently issuing new models. They obviously plan to keep doing this, as evidenced by every official reply I've received from Sony.

Early on, yes, I understand the reasons behind the multiple models. But there is absolutely no reason to continue this, now with the PS3 on the rise. If they keep producing new models, it will not go over well with consumers. That's a cut-and-dry fact.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ManaKnight
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 1:30:55 PM

Ben, I doubt Sony will be making many more SKUs, other than re-bundling/unbundling SKUs from now on. The only thing people do need to understand is, the 20GB/60GB is never coming back, gone for good. I expect 80GB will be gone for good, and they'll stick to just the 40GB, whether people like it or not.

Sony just has one really big problem:
-People like the 40GB price, but upset it has no PS2 BC (even if they have a PS2).
-People don't like the 80GB (or previous SKU) price, but it has the PS2 BC.

Just what should Sony do then? Some will say just go with the higher model, but at the same time it keeps them further away from mass market price and will always be more expensive than 360 (which really hurts Sony because those looking to buy multi-platform games will probably buy a 360 over PS3 because of price).

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Gabriel013
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 5:22:32 AM
Reply

I think they should have launched one SKU (with FULL bc) and then reduced the price as production costs came down. That way my mate buying on launch day gets the same machine as me buying a few months later, as another mate buying one a year after launch.

Flip flopping about is annoying.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Warukyure [Power User]
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 8:39:14 AM

It's also a tactic. When you launch 2 SKUs, the lower end one is usually only a bit less to produce than the high end one. When you compare the 40GB and the 80GB, the only differents are the trim (probably a few bucks), the 40 more GB (also probably $10-15 more because of bulk order), and the extra USB ports (shouldn't cost more than $1 to solder on 2 ports onto a board that supports 4). Basically, they make back more on the 80GB so when you have 2 SKUs.

The 40GB serves 2 purposes:
1) It's cheaper for the consumer, it gives people with less the chance to still own one and thus push numbers for Sony.
2) When you compare the 2, would you rather get the Full 80GB version or the Lesser 40GB version? It helps push the more expensive model.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

ManaKnight
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 8:38:15 AM
Reply

Gabriel013, let me explain to you the problem.

Sony was planning to release a PS3 with an emulated EE at launch initially (but still used the GS chip). However, development was behind schedule and since Sony wanted near full BC initially, they went ahead and included the PS2 hardware.

The next step was Sony knew they would take massive loses with the PS3 initially, but they felt they'd be able to quickly recover selling out (where demand exceeds supply) along with people buying a decent amount of games and accessories (which helps). The big problem in the beginning was the 20GB sold at a $300 loss while the 60GB sold at a $240 loss. Initially, when the 20GB lacked HDMI, it wouldn't have lost as much (although still more than the 60GB). And when the PS3 demand starting to come to a wall, Sony was in pretty big trouble because they were experiencing masses loses, people just not buying enough games and stuff, and people were still complaining about the price. One reason why Sony's Q1-Q3 results in 2007 were so negative in the PlayStation sector was because of the SKUs taking massive loses.

So the software emulated EE is just about finished, which reduces the cost of the PS3 since it allows fewer components compared to the 20GB/60GB, and I believe a cheaper blu-ray disc diode was used in the 80GB in the U.S. (so that decreases manufacturing costs). Doing this caused the PS3 to reduce price, but it was still sold at a loss (I'm guessing $100, when the price tag is $500). A;so, since 80GB HDDs are more mass produced, they could get them cheaper than 60GB (40GB increments is kind of industry standard).

Despite these actions, many publishers and general public still wanted a $400 PS3, but there just wasn't a way to have PS2 BC in some way and a PS3 being priced at $400 (removing card readers, decreasing HDD size, etc. So Sony had to remove the GS and all the PS2 components, which reduces the PCB, needs less solder, uses less current (partially because of 65nm too) so lower wattage rating components can be used, and so on. The 40GB PS3 only costs $400 for Sony to make and it's a bit easier to keep the costs low with. One reason why Sony did good in Q4 2007 in the PS sector was because of the 80GB not taking as big of a loss along with the 40GB worldwide losing them very little or gaining some profit.


So what I'm trying to say is, if Sony would have kept the 60GB or some SKU with full BC, the problem is they would have still been forced (even with going 65nm for the Cell) to sell at $600 still to be able to break even or take a small loss. And if they would have been $600, it would have been very hard to sell PS3. People wanted a cheaper PS3, and since they couldn't exactly make it cheaper until sometime in 2008 with the original SKU, they had to revise their SKUs. That explains why Sony has so many because their previous SKUs just weren't working (people weren't buying them and they were still too expensive).

One reason the Xbox 360 has a cost advantage is because it has zero original Xbox components for its BC. If it did, 360 probably would have been $100 more for a while (compared to its retail price). If people wanted PS2 BC so badly, they shouldn't have complained about the price originally because they were getting a very good deal.

Sony has stated, the 40GB SKU is the ONLY SKU going forward for sure. From what I hear, the MGS4 bundle is just the remaining 80GB consoles and some 80GB consoles were pulled from retailers to use for MGS4.

I'm not a big fan of several SKUs, but when your product isn't selling as well as you'd like and can't easily reduce the cost at what you are at, you gotta do something.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Minishmaru
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 10:59:51 AM
Reply

Meh, i'll say it again...I love my 60gb launch ps3 :-P Best model PERIOD

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

K Phantom
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 @ 5:53:48 PM
Reply

You are right Ben. SONY is killing me, i cant buy a 20GB then a 40GB then a 60GB and then a 80GB and soon a 120GB, We have to have the newest out there right?. I mean...COME ON!!!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

KingRed
Thursday, March 06, 2008 @ 12:12:39 PM
Reply

I have to agree with Minishmaru. Minishmaru you said it Best, I love my 60gb launch Ps3 Best model PERIOD.

I def feel you on that.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Do you regret buying the PS4 so early?
Nope, I love it!
Not really; I still play it plenty.
A little, I was hoping for more games.
Yes, I could've waited.

Previous Poll Results