Executive says consumers are tired of “weird price moves.”
When the PS3 “slim” model was introduced back in 2009, the hardware redesign came along with a $50 drop (to $300) for both the new hardware and the remaining stock of old systems. Yesterday’s announcement of the new “Super Slim” PS3 design actually went the opposite direction, raising the price of the cheapest PS3 available from $250 to $270.
True, the low-end Super Slim sports more hard drive space than the current low-end PS3 it is replacing (250GB vs. 160GB), and the $270 bundle also includes a copy of Uncharted 3: Game of the Year edition, which usually runs about $40 on its own. Still, it’s a bit odd that there won’t be a bundle-free version of the new redesign that sells at or below the current PS3 price floor.
You’ll still be able to get the PS3 at $250 as retailers clear out of their existing stock of the 160GB model. But a Sony Computer Entertainment VP, John Koller, confirmed to Engadget that there would be no formal price drop to help clear out the older stock more quickly. Why not? Apparently, consumers think it would just be too weird.
There’s no price drop formally, but the thing that’s been happening in the market over the last year or so is that there’s been so many retail price promotions, and so many different gift card offers and all those things, being done by all of us (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony), that we’ve heard from our consumer, “Enough with all these weird price moves. What we really want is content and games and value.”
Actually, you could easily argue that the “weird price move” is reversing the long-standing rule that the base price for game consoles only goes down over time. It’s also weird to force Super Slim buyers to purchase the system alongside a pretty massive hard drive and a copy of Uncharted 3 (or Assassin’s Creed 3 with a $300 bundle coming late next month). These bundled games and accessories may be widely popular, but surely there are some consumers that want a cheaper, bare bones system that lets them choose their own software and storage options instead.
It’s especially baffling for Sony to be raising the PS3’s price for the first time right before the holiday buying season, where the system will be competing with a $200 base-level Xbox 360 (potentially drawing value-minded holiday shoppers) and the brand new Wii U, starting at $300 (potentially drawing the novelty-minded). Maybe consumers won’t mind or even notice that entering the PS3 market is now slightly more expensive, or will be attracted by the added value inherent in the bundles. But it seems to me that people only looking at the price tag just got $20 less likely to purchase a PS3 during this year’s holiday season.