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.