The PlayStation 3 may not be doing as well as many suspect.
According to NPD sales numbers, the number of PlayStation’s sold last month was almost 19 percent lower compared to November of 2007. Some may chalk it up to the economy, others to regional market saturation. However, the Washington Times puts the blame squarely on Sony’s shoulders.
While Times correspondent Sonny Bunch praises the PS3 for excellent movie quality and for being the best Blu-ray player out there, he is puzzled by a myriad of issues coming out of Sony. The biggest issues seem to be drive space vs. price. "The Nintendo Wii remains the most popular system in the land, and, at $250, isn’t necessarily a budget buster," said Bunch. "Xbox 360 has made serious inroads by dropping the price of its core system to $199. So how did Sony respond? By releasing a new version of the PS3 that’s $100 more expensive."
While Nintendo has essentially skirted the hard drive issue, and Microsoft offers its consoles in various flavors when it comes to hard drive space, Sony chose to up its internal storage capacity from 80GB to 160GB. Sure, most live by the "more is better" philosophy, but even that can be wrong one time out of 100. Bunch asserts that the vast majority of PS3 owners, or potential owners, do not need 160GB of internal space.
Hardware aside, Bunch is also perplexed by the absence of a certain media distribution service that everyone else is seems to be enjoying. "Samsung has just released a Blu-ray player that will stream Netflix movies. The Xbox 360 has just added the same capability," said Bunch. "How does Sony respond? By allowing PS3 owners to stream Netflix movies? No, that would make too much sense." Sony even went one step further and barred Netflix from streaming any Sony films to the Xbox 360.
These issues combined with Bunch claiming that Sony has done a lackluster job marketing Blu-ray players, has the Times writer convinced that Sony is doomed unless they make some changes, especially on the Blu-ray front. "Sony and the rest of the Blu-ray manufacturers need to implement a radical shift in their marketing strategy : Hammer home the fact that not only will their new Blu-ray player play high-definition movies, it also will vastly improve the picture quality of their previously purchased libraries," said Bunch.
With any luck, the holiday season will be kind to the PlayStation, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see Netflix on the XrossMediaBar sometime soon.