Will Gamers Balk at PlayStation 3's High Prices?

Posted on May 12, 2006

PS3 DesignAre the new PlayStation 3 (PS3) prices of $499 and $599 too high? Some gamers think so but Sony's Kaz Hirai defends the prices in this CNN/Money article.
While gamers and many industry analysts are still recovering from their surprise at the high price tag for a premium PlayStation 3, the man whose division makes the machine said he doesn't understand the fuss.

"I think when you look at what we put into the box -- Cell, Blu-Ray, backwards compatibility, the ability to go online -- I think it's a very compelling package for consumers," said Kaz Hirai, president and chief executive officer of Sony (Research) Computer Entertainment America. "The totality of what we bring to the table makes it a good value for consumers."

With its highly advanced processor (called the "Cell" chip) and a top-of-the-line Blu-Ray disc player, the PlayStation 3 was bound to be expensive. Standalone Blu-Ray players cost roughly $1,000. But when Sony announced plans Monday to offer two versions of the PS3 for $499 and $599, it set a record for major console launch prices.
Sony announced the prices at the E3 Expo. The higher priced model ($599) has a 60GB drive compared to the $499 model's 20GB drive. A BBC article explains a few other differences and similarities in the two models.
The two models have very different specs. As well as different hard drives, the cheaper machine will not have in-built wireless or an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) connector necessary for hooking the machine up to a High Definition TV or monitor.

However, both systems will come with a new controller. Sony has abandoned last year's boomerang-shaped prototype and reverted to a design similar to the current model for the PlayStation 2.

One key difference is the inclusion of a motion sensor in the wireless Bluetooth controller.

In a demonstration, a virtual duck was made to jump out of the water by moving the controller upwards.
You can see the specs for the PS3 here. Some gamers are not happy with the PS3 prices. Kikizo Games writes, "The price comes as a shock to the many people that thought Sony would offer its new console at something closer to what Microsoft is charging for the premium Xbox 360 package. Outside of the ill-fated 3DO console, it's also the most expensive console ever." Other bloggers, like Whatever say the PS3 prices are fine.