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WSJ: PS3 Stuck Behind Xbox 360

The console wars are as alive as ever. While the days of Nintendo 64 vs PlayStation are long gone, the three current generation consoles are constantly vying for new demographics, domination in specific regions, and all around sales and revenue.

The Wii from Nintendo has asserted itself as the console to beat this generation, and while many in America may prefer a PS3 or Xbox 360, the Wii has dominated the market in overall units sold. While no one is content to be #2, the Xbox 360 has a very strong presence in the West, outselling the PS3 3-to-1 during the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales.

A year after many were calling the PS3 a shoe-in for #1 worldwide, the Wall Street Journal is calling it quits on Sony, claiming that the PS3 will be stuck in the bottom slot forever.

Like with many consumer categories, the WSJ points to to NPD numbers for November 2008, prime time for holiday shopping. While Nintendo and Microsoft saw their sales jump 100 percent and 8 percent respectively over November 2007, Sony saw PS3 sales drop 19 percent. Furthermore, several analysts believe that December PS3 sales compared to last year will remain relatively flat. Also, many are wondering if Sony will meet its 10 million unit goal for the fiscal year ending in March 2009. With dismal holiday sales figures, things are not looking up for the PS3.

"Sony's strategy of selling a pricey game machine with advanced features and cutting-edge components appears to be backfiring as a deepening recession has U.S. consumers more price sensitive than ever," said the Journal. While Microsoft has made new Xbox 360s available for $200, and the Wii has always been $250; Sony has not warmed up to the price-cut strategy that its rivals use now and everyone has used in the past. Sure, you get a Blu-ray player with your game console, but for those who just want to play video games, dishing out $400 is a tall order, especially in these economically trying times.

Combining an expensive console with a weaker games library than either of its competitors and a Blu-ray feature that some do not want or care about is putting the PS3 in a tough spot. Daisuke Wakabayashi of the Wall Street Journal put it best: "If Sony doesn't close the gap with its rivals, it could risk making the PS3 an afterthought to game publishers, who focus most of their resources on the machines with the most users." Hopefully, Michael Pachter of Webush Morgan is right in thinking a PS3 price cut in coming in a few months.

If Sony doesn't drop the price, we may not see a PlayStation 4.

  • Tindytim
    They're already selling at a loss. They really need a model in that $200-$250 sweet spot, which would be a large loss, but they would certainly see a larger gain.

    However, it is much to late to really become to competitive. Hopefully they won't follow the Wii and make an underpowered system, with over simplified games.
  • zodiacfml
    there will be a PS4, only using most of the parts of PS3.
    all ps3 need is to survive for the years to come.
  • megamanx00
    The PS3 needs

    1) Better developer support. Too many are complaining that programming for the Cell CPU and RSX is a bitch even if it's just to port a game that's already on the Wii or 360.

    2) The system is still too expensive. A big part of the expense has always been blu ray due to the dumb blu ray consortium and their asinine licensing fees. The PS3 is going to need to really drop to a $299 price point to make any headway.

    3) PS3 needs more exclusive games that gamers care about. Sorry, I've said it before, but Metal Gear Solid geriatric snake isn't going to cut it.
  • enforcer22
    "A year after many were calling the PS3 a shoe-in for #1 worldwide"

    wow who was that dumb. I been saying it since before it came out the thing was crap.

    Anyways im not much for a xbox either. two consoles that my comp could beat underclocked 50% dont care..

    I would take a wii though ;)
  • Master Exon
    It's weird. Ever since the fiascoes and shenanigans at E3 2006, it seems pretty obvious that the PS3 would be number 3 this generation. The facts simply added up. I honestly think that maybe 50% of the PS3 sales are directly related to the 360's red rings of death.
  • decoppel
    I can't believe how many of you are writting them off, once this recession wears off and the PS3 is cut down to a price more competitive (even though the 360 costs equal if not more to equal the PS3 in features) people will mass for it.
  • antilycus
    Not hard to figure out. Sony is sony's worst enemy. They are pig headed liars (Killzone 2 trailer anyone?). Coming from someone that has experience, the CELL wasn't designed for CPU tasks. While technically it should be easier on developers because you can't write to individual cores (they are controlled by a MASTER SPE), the processors inside the CELL aren't full processors and arent designed for the type of instruction sets that games pose on a CPU. No amount of developers is going to change that. that's hardware.

    But on the flip side of that, developers still dont have the time and resources to take advantage of writing for multicore processors either. Most of them are writing for 1 processor and seeing how far that gets them.

    As of right now the technology isnt the problem, the brains behind the games are. Not saying they are stupid, but to completely forget or completely rethink how you write a video game is nowhere near easy.
  • bunz_of_steel
    Sony gets what it made for itself. A console toy for only the snotty rich kids. Who wants a $400 toy that only plays games or movies anyway? I know there are ppl that do but I'm not one of them and most ppl want something that is inexpensive.... yeh that means not $400 dollars dudes! Buy PC that's the way to go and you would learn a lot more instead of watching movies, playing games and getting fat.
  • fulle
    When the PS3 was about to release I was really excited about all the cool new features, blue-ray playback, cell, the whole bit....

    But, then I looked at its memory specifications and knew it would just be an overpriced machine that will usually fail to produce superior graphics to the Xbox360. "256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz"... its hard not to laugh when you consider Sony's trying to game at high resolution with that. Can you imagine the HELL of trying to program a game for this system, knowing that you have to get it running as fast as on the 360 with Cell to deal with and no freaking memory.

    More expensive *is not equal* to more powerful.
  • deltatux
    Like I've commented on Tom's Guide many times before, the PS3 is more positioned to be a computer or a media centre than a gaming console. Great, it has Bluray, but for gaming, it's still slower than good 'ol DVD. I think most gamers and developers will rather have speed over "ample space". The space on the Bluray is an OVERKILL over the DVD. You don't need Bluray for gaming this generation. The only reason why you need Bluray is if you have very poor compression algorithms.

    If Sony adds a TV tuner built into a PS3 and has a good media centre software, I'll gladly pick one up.