Retail PS3 Bundles Too Pricey, Online Inventory Rises
While the PS3 remains greatly sought after, some people just aren't willing to take out a second mortgage to pick up a costly bundle. Retailers have tried to take advantage of the demand by providing crazy bundles - just like last year with the Xbox 360 - but they aren't selling very fast, and this has led to an over-abundance of PS3s online, according to tracking firm NotifyWire.
The company thinks the demand for the PS3 has already settled a bit; consumers may be unhappy with those forced software and hardware bundles, which can cause the price to top $1000 in some cases. "I think we're already at the point where people won't pay a premium for the console or be forced into buying bundles," said Ian Drake, president of NotifyWire.
Last year, $1000 360 bundles were flying off the shelves, so says NotifyWire:
"Last year we tracked several one thousand dollar Xbox 360 bundles which would sell out in less than two minutes after becoming available." Drake noted a US $1000 PS3 bundle was on offer at an online retailer for over 12 hours recently, claiming, "This sort of thing didn't happen with the Xbox 360 until well after Christmas."
However, while we certainly don't feel bad for those profit-mongering non-gamers who snagged a PS3 purely for profit, there is a significant difference this year with the PS3. Sony has continually said, almost on a weekly basis, that they plan to ship at least one million PS3s to North America before December 31. This past weekend was another example of these shipments - as small as it was - and both Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us have received more PS3 shipments this week.
Regardless of how many PS3s these retailers actually receive, the news itself has a definite impact. If consumers believe they've got even an outside shot at landing a normally-priced PS3 for Christmas, they're much less likely to resort to drastic measures (i.e., pricey bundles). The 360 all but disappeared after last year's launch, and with so many more preorders and a serious rash of defective units spreading throughout the country, the chances of finding more 360s on shelves was essentially zero.
12/21/2006 Ben Dutka