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How the PS3 Hit $600 535

Joystiq has up an interesting article today, gathering together information from a couple of places to discuss why the PlayStation 3 is so expensive. From the article: "Kutaragi was demoted after being passed over for the role of CEO and, when former Sony Pictures head Howard Stringer assumed the position, the relationship between the content and technology divisions of Sony became even more intimate. Stringer "quickly dubbed the PlayStation 3 as one of the company's 'champion' products." Kutaragi's desire to stratify the console market with Cell technology in effect wed Sony to the unpalatable prospect of charging an unprecedented price. Coupled with Sony's desire to not only push their own content on HD discs, but to control that medium with their proprietary Blu-ray format, the final price was escalated by two very advanced (and very expensive) pieces of Sony technology."
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How the PS3 Hit $600

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  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:40PM (#15421864)
    BluRay IS NOT PROPRIETARY.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc_Associat ion [wikipedia.org]

    Its board of directors consists of:

            * Apple Computer
            * Dell
            * Hewlett Packard
            * Hitachi
            * LG Electronics
            * Mitsubishi Electric
            * Panasonic (Matsushita Electric)
            * Pioneer Corporation
            * Royal Philips Electronics
            * Samsung Electronics
            * Sharp Corporation
            * Sony Corporation
            * TDK Corporation
            * Thomson
            * Twentieth Century Fox
            * Walt Disney Pictures
            * Warner Home Video Inc.

    Not so proprietary now, is it?
    • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:47PM (#15421885) Homepage Journal
      From Wikipedia also:

      "Proprietary software is software that has restrictions on using and copying it, usually enforced by a proprietor. The prevention of use, copying, or modification can be achieved by legal or technical means. Technical means include releasing machine-readable binaries only, and withholding the human-readable source code. Legal means can involve software licensing, copyright and patent law."

      Just because a bunch of companies get together a support a format doesn't mean that format is not proprietary. Is it open? Is it controlled by a common standards body? Can a reader/writer of the format be created by anyone for free?

      Not so non-proprietary now, is it?
      • Man, bullshit. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:37PM (#15422085)
        In this sense DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray are all proprietary. While from the perspective of a programmer or a Linux user DVD absolutely is proprietary, when we talk about things like consumer video formats "propreitary" does not in common parlance mean the same thing as if we were talking about a .DOC file. Consumer electronics standards and software standards are quite different contexts.

        Being "owned" is not the same as being propreitary. MP3 is similarly controlled by a commonly licensed patent pool, but nobody tries to pretend Mp3 is propreitary.

        By claiming Blu-Ray is "proprietary" in the fashion the article does, it is implying this is something special about Blu-Ray, some quality that HD-DVD and DVD do not share. This is at best misleading and at worst a lie, since Blu-Ray is identical in this respect to other formats.

        You're wrong, and the moderators are only moderating you up and the other guy down because they hate Sony and will reward anyone who can make them look bad, whether they're right or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:42PM (#15421874)
    I really think Blu-ray will bite Sony in the ass. I know a lot of people who will be getting a Nintendo Wii or XBox because of that price.
    • by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:55PM (#15421919)
      I really think *both* HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are doomed. Aside from better picture quality, the reason to upgrade is...

      That's right, nothing. (Okay, somewone will post another reason to upgrade in a second or two, just to prove me wrong. Bastards. :-) ).

      HD-DVD/Blu-Ray will have all the widespread adoption and universal acceptance that the post-CD physical audio media has had : Limited use only by the most discriminating users. MP3's rule the music world now (and/or WMA's/AAC's, depending on your choice of online music store); You buy a CD and what's the first thing you do? Rip it onto your computer. It won't be too long until purely digital media takes over video/movies as well, leaving BluRay and HD-DVD in the dustbin of tech history.

      • by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:07PM (#15421973)
        "Aside from better picture quality, the reason to upgrade is...

        That's right, nothing."

        And your point is? It's "High Definition" video, it's intended purpose is to improve picture quality. If you want it to make toast, buy a toaster.

        You can question how many people want HD video, but don't expect it to have any benefits other than what it's designed for.
        • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Sunday May 28, 2006 @06:37PM (#15422314) Homepage
          all widely successfull new av mediums have offered sigificant advantages other than quality over the format before. They have also had wide support from the media industry.

          Vinal brought us long playing times or smaller size depending on the particular record. tape brought us home recording and a reduction in size, CD brought US automated seeking, a further reduction in size (at least if you don't keep them in jewel cases) and much greater logevity.

          similarlly in home video since the original format wars, the only major success so far has been DVD which brought to video the automated seeking,longevity and small size that CD brought to audio.

      • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:28PM (#15422042) Homepage Journal
        That's right, nothing. (Okay, somewone will post another reason to upgrade in a second or two, just to prove me wrong. Bastards. :-) ).

        Sorry in advance, but...

        I think the sphere where one or the other (or both) will really take off is in computing devices. True, there are still a lot of people out there who don't even have DVD burners (nevermind dual layer DVD burners), but I can see the need for very large offline storage capacity by computer users ensuring that one or both of these standards does indeed take off. Who wouldn't want a single disc that can store up to 200GB of data (which, according to WikiPedia [wikipedia.org] is the current maximum achieved thus far -- whether or not such discs will be available to the general public anytime soon at a reasonable price is anyones guess)?

        We'll quickly get to a point where a variety of device types will be manufactured and released that use either standard -- computer optical drives, game consoles, video players -- and it only takes one of these to really take off for the others to follow (as there is a certain cost savings and end-user convienence in the long run to have all of these devices using compatible storage technologies). Indeed, assuming production of the 405nm blue-violet lasers really ramps up, we may get to a point where the red lasers needed for DVDs and CDs is actually more expensive to manufacture, at which point people needing to replace older equipment will simply go with the newer standard (particularly if the units in question are backward compatible, or in situations where backwards compatibility is unnecessary).

        I personally don't care about BlueRay or HD-DVD for video at this point -- I have a very nice Standard-Def TV, and don't really have the spare cash laying around to replace it with an HD unit. I likewise don't currently care about them for gaming -- my PS2 still works just fine, and has a ton of really good games I haven't finished exploring as it is (as I rarely have time to sit down and play much of anything as it is). However, being able to dump 25GB (or more) of data to a single optical disc on my computer does appeal to me quite a bit, and I'm looking forward to the day when Apple starts including BlueRay drives in their MacBooks (hopefully that day will come before the next time I need to upgrade my system :) ).

        Yaz.

        Yaz.

        • Okay. I will definitely grant you that. In fact, I'll probably upgarde to one of those when it becomes somewhat reasonable, as I need to backup a hefty amount of data fairly often (iDVD projects are pretty darn big...).

          But for video, I think I'm smack dab in the target market for a HiDef DVD, (60" Sony LCoS, home theater, etc), yet I don't see the need to re-buy all my DVD's and ditch my rather nice up-converting DVD player just yet, at the very least until one side or the other sorts itself out as the winn

          • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @06:10PM (#15422218)
            large bulk data storage should not be done on optical meda.

            it already takes ages to burn off 4.4 gigs onto single layer dvd-rs.

            how long will it take for 25-45 gigs?

            then once you get it off.. all your eggs are in one very fragile and irrepairable disk.

            dogs step on it and *snap* its gone. oh you wanted to update that rough draft of a book you backed up? too bad, you now have to burn back 45 gigs of data!

            I'm going with firewired hard drives or multivolume parity based raid arrays when my needs exceed the bounds of traditional dvd-rs. at least then i can maintain, alter, and repair my data once it's moved off my main system.
        • If you want to back-up that amount of data, you already have tape drives today that can do up to 1TB/tape.

          IBM supposedly found a way to get 1TB/mm data density on tape as well, and should be releasing a drive and tapes here in the next few years with > a petabyte of capacity.

          Optical has advantages(and disadvantages) over tape, sure. Just saying, if you have a legitimate need to back-up that amount of data, you already have a way to do so.
          • Optical has advantages(and disadvantages) over tape, sure. Just saying, if you have a legitimate need to back-up that amount of data, you already have a way to do so.

            Yeah you can do it, for extraordinarily high prices for home users. With all the media content people have on their computers these days it would be nice to have more storage capacity on optical disks. Tape drives are not very useful for home users.

      • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:34PM (#15422070)
        At this point I feel that the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray debate is going to go the way of laserdisc.

        Everyone will know that the quailty is better but most people won't care, at least common people who buy the large flat panel TVs and watch content with the wrong aspect ratio on it.
        Videophiles will buy it along with the $80 HDMI cables but I don't ever seem to remember Wal*mart carring any title on laserdisc in their stores.

        I thought I was going to buy into the HD formats but it is a mess right now to the point that I just don't care anymore about it.
        As somewhat of a purist, I was waiting for SED units with 1080p but at this point, if I have to buy a new TV (because my color is starting to fade), I will settle for 720p and stick with regular DVD's.
      • ZOMG! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Nazmun ( 590998 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @06:25PM (#15422277) Homepage
        A new video format that only allows for greater picture quality (with the max resolution of the best res HDTV 1080p) and movie length on a single disc. Thats no reason to upgrade from DVD's 480P, for life yo! What more do you want a new format to do? A dual layer blu-ray disc holds 50gigs and they've already gotten 8 layers working on the lab. Plus blu-ray has this new highly scratch resistant coating that appears to work really well.

        I don't know about everyone else but I've been holding out on HDTV's simply because there wasn't much I could do with one. HD gaming and cinema changes all of that. Half the reason most HDTV's don't look so good in stores is that a good portion are playing on dvd's with 480 lines of resolution. About 40% of the HDTV's in sam's are getting an actual hdtv feed.

        In summary a blu-ray drive will give you the following:

        1) Longer Movie Runtime
        2) Maxed out HDTV Resolution
        3) Scratch resistant coating that will alleviate one of the biggest longevity issues with dvd's.

        I'm not sure what more I could want with a new format.
  • #1 reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by From A Far Away Land ( 930780 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:43PM (#15421876) Homepage Journal
    The number one reason Sony's PS3 is so expensive is because they are not customer based anymore, they are "theory" based.

    The DRM Rootkit seemed like a good idea in "theory".
    A $600 game system seems like a good idea in "theory".
    In theory I'm not going to buy the PS3, and neither will billions of other humans because of the price.
    • Re:#1 reason (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh ( 602064 )
      Exactly. When you start to think of customers as aggregate numbers, and not as people, you loose touch with customer demands. This is something Microsoft is very good at addressing. Perhaps not satisfying, but at least addressing... :-)
      • Re:#1 reason (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:03PM (#15421961)
        You make a good point - MS is the exact opposite of Sony. In theory, Windows is a crap OS that nobody would ever buy. In practise, they do, though (for completely non-technical reasons).

        Something that works both in theory and in practise would be nice...
        • Re:#1 reason (Score:3, Insightful)

          by killjoe ( 766577 )
          1) People don't buy windows, it comes with their system.

          2) It comes with their system because businesses buy it and people want to take work home.

          3) Businesses buy it because it is the only OS that runs their software.

          4) For an increasing number of businesses (3) is no longer valid.

          Yes the foundations of the windows monopoly is cracking. MS knows this too which is why they are so intent on diversifying as fast as they can and buying companies left and right.
        • Re:#1 reason (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mewphobia ( 630153 )
          In theory, Windows is a crap OS that nobody would ever buy

          That doesn't mean that Microsoft should fail in theory. That means your theory is wrong.

    • Re:#1 reason (Score:2, Insightful)

      by calculadoru ( 760076 )
      In theory I'm not going to buy the PS3

      Guess that means that in practice you will then?
    • Re:#1 reason (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GreyKnight ( 545843 )
      A $600 game system seems like a good idea in "theory".
      In theory I'm not going to buy the PS3, and neither will billions of other humans because of the price.


      No, I wouldn't pay $600 dollars just for the PS3 hardware. However, as a diehard RPG fan, I just might consider ~$660 for Final Fantasy XIII. (FFX drove my initial purchase of a PS2).

      If Sony can tie enough good games exclusively to their platform, they may yet make PS3 a success. People will follow the games.

      However, if game companies start shy
    • Re:#1 reason (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      Unlike the PC market where selling most hardware above commodity prices is suicide and the entire market is crippled by MS, games and consoles have a broader market that is willing to pay for style and name. Just look at the number of people who pay more for a graphics card than they would for a Mac.

      Most of the decisions on the console seem to be based on pushing Blu-Ray. Unlike MS, Sony waited for the new format. MS chose to ship product and offer an add on. The addition of Blu-Ray probably is a key

      • But if the gamble pays off and sony can keep the 50% of the market, then by 2010 we might be looking at 100 millions homes equipped to run Blu-Ray.

        Yes, even if the PS3 does relatively poorly, by this time next year there's going to be 2 Million BluRay units installed base versus maybe 200K HDDVD units. In other words, even at $600, BluRay is still probably going to win, and in the long run that's worth billions and billions of dollars to Sony.
  • Poor management (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neuro.slug ( 628600 ) <neuro__&hotmail,com> on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:43PM (#15421878)
    I'm really scared for the PS3. I remember reading a recent comment on /. earlier about Sony's last-minute motion-senseing controller reeking of upper management mandating that said feature go into the product. I have a feeling that this same upper management is going to severely harm what was once a pretty sweet console.

    -- n
    • Re:Poor management (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jbellis ( 142590 )
      "I have a feeling that this same upper management is going to severely harm what was once a pretty sweet console."

      How could it once have been a pretty sweet console? It's still months away from release!

      Seriously, it's easy to sound "pretty sweet" when your product is still vapor. Making the tradeoffs needed as you get close to actually launching is the hard part.

      --
      Carnage Blender [carnageblender.com]: Meet interesting people. Kill them.
    • Sony Fan Boi (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Inoshiro ( 71693 )
      "what was once a pretty sweet console."

      What pretty sweet part are we talking about? 2 HDMI ports I can't use without a 2,000$ new TV? 7 player bluetooth, when I rarely (never) have a situation where I go, "damn, I wish my GameCube had 8 ports so everyone could play Mario Party instead of just 4 at a time"? The part where the PS3 is also an Internet router, instead of my current one, with 3 gigabit ports?

      Sony went and said, "everything those guys have, plus EXTRA!" for the past 3 years. Like the online s [ukresistance.co.uk]
    • I remember reading a recent comment on /. earlier about Sony's last-minute motion-senseing controller reeking of upper management mandating that said feature go into the product. I have a feeling that this same upper management is going to severely harm what was once a pretty sweet console.

      You might think I'm clueless, but you should pay attention if you want to know how this is going to go.

      I'm 40 years old and I've never owned a game console. Does that make me clueless? No, I've seen other consoles but

  • by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:46PM (#15421884) Homepage
    Information collected from RooKit Marketing suggested gamers were willing to pay that much.

    Let's face it, they've figured out that without a girlfriend, we've got money to burn.
    • That works for "us", but I really wonder about families. I see a lot less parents spending the money on a PS3. Sure all the games are expensive, but I see more families renting games nowadays and only buying games for birthdays, etc.
      • I see a lot less parents spending the money on a PS3

        When I was a kid, video games were the only way my parents could get any "them time". They tried locking my little brother & I out of the house, but we just climbed in the windows when we got hungry. Then they tried a Nintendo, worked like a charm.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:47PM (#15421888)
    I have inside information from Sony Electronic Entertainment (posting anonymously for obvious reasons) that yields on some of the components like the graphics chip and Blu-Ray controller chipset are as low as 20-30%. In conjunction with those being new and revolutionary technologies only manufactured in a handful of factories in southeast Asia will no doubt contribute to the $649 price point. Oops, did I just reveal something I shouldn't have? ;)
    • by Epistax ( 544591 ) <epistax&gmail,com> on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:11PM (#15421983) Journal
      Either you are an idiot or you have big balls. Or you're an idiot with big balls. At any rate I wish to subscribe to your idiotic large testicled newsletter.

      My previous employer boasted the best yields in IC manufacturing, but I never heard what any competition got. I don't know if anyone could tell me if yields this low are somewhat normal, but I'd like an idea.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yields this low would be a disaster. At this point we'd be reevaluating our wafer supply, going over our equipment for defects that would ruin the wafers, and going over our tests to make sure THEY actually worked.

        Nobody really talks about it, but it appears that roughly 2/3 of processors actually work when the whole thing is done (counting wafer defects, test failures, assembly botches, and "DOA" burnin failures). This number varies with process size (60nm process would fit more processors onto a wafer t
        • Yields this low would be a disaster. At this point we'd be reevaluating our wafer supply, going over our equipment for defects that would ruin the wafers, and going over our tests to make sure THEY actually worked.

          Nobody really talks about it, but it appears that roughly 2/3 of processors actually work when the whole thing is done (counting wafer defects, test failures, assembly botches, and "DOA" burnin failures). This number varies with process size (60nm process would fit more processors onto a wafer

    • Video game companies have a pretty good history of putting out game systems at a price point WAY below the market price point for the initial supply of the game systems. Most recently, it's clear that the market was willing to pay well more than retail to get one of a limited supply of XBox 360's.

      So a $649 price point may be just fine in the short term, and as the technology shakes itself out, Sony can lower the price.

      Early adopters are probaby willing to spend $649, so no reason not to charge it. The peo
  • Agendas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:51PM (#15421903) Homepage Journal
    A company blindly ignoring the customer to tend to its own agenda will be its downfall. Or at least the failure of any resulting products.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @04:54PM (#15421917) Homepage
    Again... because its technology is too cutting edge and too new and therefore too expensive, would have been much better to go with cheap commodity stuff rather than daring to push the boundaries and actually put some THOUGHT into the product.

    But what got me most was this

    Coupled with Sony's desire to not only push their own content on HD discs, but to control that medium with their proprietary Blu-ray format.

    If the PS3 gets reasonable marketshare then this could be considered its master stroke in 2 years time. While the XBox 360 will need a revision to support HD discs, the PS3 won't.

    But what irritates me most is the phrase "their proprietary Blu-ray format". I must have missed the bit where the MS Supported HD-DVD was an open standard with no strings attached. So Sony created an HD disc standard, just like they worked with Phillips on CDs and have created several other professional and consumer format standards, some which flew, some which didn't.

    Its a sad state of affairs when Slashdot articles don't even celebrate the invention and the investment, but bitch just about the price and want LESS gadgets in the box, and when the MS supported standard is implicitly suggested to be a more "open" option.
    • by Tx ( 96709 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:13PM (#15421990) Journal
      But what got me most was this

      Coupled with Sony's desire to not only push their own content on HD discs, but to control that medium with their proprietary Blu-ray format.

      If the PS3 gets reasonable marketshare then this could be considered its master stroke in 2 years time. While the XBox 360 will need a revision to support HD discs, the PS3 won't.

      What percentage of people actually use their consoles as a primary movie player? Electronics manufacturers are always dreaming of using convergence as a way to take over the world, but the reality is people are used to spending ~$200 or less on a DVD player, it won't take long for HD players to reach that sort of price range, and the ability of a console to play HD disks will be irrelevant to most people. Can't really see it being seen as a "masterstroke".

      But what irritates me most is the phrase "their proprietary Blu-ray format". I must have missed the bit where the MS Supported HD-DVD was an open standard with no strings attached. So Sony created an HD disc standard, just like they worked with Phillips on CDs and have created several other professional and consumer format standards, some which flew, some which didn't.

      Doesn't change the fact that the format war does nothing for the consumer whatsoever, hence the pointed tone about proprietary format. The same tone would be taken with HD-DVD, the point is the consumer gets f@#ked again.
      • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:33PM (#15422064) Homepage
        What percentage of people actually use their consoles as a primary movie player?

        People who don't want to buy two? Students? No idea, I just know that we coped for several years with a PS2 as the DVD player.

        Doesn't change the fact that the format war does nothing for the consumer whatsoever, hence the pointed tone about proprietary format. The same tone would be taken with HD-DVD, the point is the consumer gets f@#ked again.

        So what should Sony be doing, trying to get a large industry group behind their standard to help it.... oh hang on they are doing that... how about trying to use a non-proprietary (not yet Open Source) technology such as Java for the interactivity bits... oh hang on they are doing that.

        Let's put it this way. If Microsoft, who had an open choice like Intel, had backed Blu-Ray... do you seriously think there would still be a discussion? Can you think of a SINGLE technical reason to back HD-DVD over Blu-ray if you were Microsoft making that decision, BEYOND considering Sony to be competition?

        It isn't the same, and it isn't right to say that consumers always get fucked by these standards wars, often they lead to decent competition that drives the price down, and either leads to a dominant standard (VHS v Betamax) or total compatibility (DVD-R+R etc etc). Monopolar approaches tend to work in markets with lots of standards that need to agree(e.g. WiFi with 802.11x).

        Microsoft pushing HD-DVD isn't the same as Sony pushing Blu-ray, one company put energy and investment into inventing and creating something, the other made a political decision.
      • What percentage of people actually use their consoles as a primary movie player?

        That's a pretty silly question, because until the PS3, a videogame console has never the cheapest way to get a movie player.

        I know that this applies to absolutely nobody on Slashdot, but if someone did have a HD set and did want to watch HD movies, why wouldn't they drop $5-600 for the Playstation versus $1000 for a standalone player?
        • That's a pretty silly question, because until the PS3, a videogame console has never the cheapest way to get a movie player.

          It still won't be, even for an HD-capable movie player. Toshiba and RCA already have HD-DVD players available right now that are $500 and it's not at all ridiculous to figure that by the time the PS3 hits the retail prices of those devices will have dropped $50, $100 or even more (depending on which manufacturers release devices within the next six months).

          I've got to think that
      • What percentage of people actually use their consoles as a primary movie player? Electronics manufacturers are always dreaming of using convergence as a way to take over the world, but the reality is people are used to spending ~$200 or less on a DVD player, it won't take long for HD players to reach that sort of price range, and the ability of a console to play HD disks will be irrelevant to most people. Can't really see it being seen as a "masterstroke".

        I do, and I know lots of other people with small pl
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

    by marx ( 113442 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:04PM (#15421963)
    A new PS2-game costs $75 in Sweden. Who cares if the actual console costs $400, $500 or $600? Why isn't the gaming community "reeling" from the high cost of games? The games also are usually not fun to play for more than an hour or so.

    The game (and music and movie) industry is bizarre, deal with it. If the PS3 is fun and gets a sexy reputation, then people will buy it. If people think it's lame, then they won't buy it. I don't think the price has very much influence.

    For me, the fact that they added "motion sensing" at the last minute sounds much more worrying for Sony. It sounds like they realized the Wii was going to beat the PS3 and they had to copy it. I think I will get a Wii, not because it's cheap, but because the controller has great potential for fun gameplay.

    • STOP USING LOGIC! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:59PM (#15422182) Journal
      Geez, you might as well point out that 600 dollars would buy you 1/4th of a quad sli setup. Buy you the CPU of a top gaming rig. Is about half the price of a video iPod (wich by the way is more expensive AND less powerfull AND has a smaller screen AND supports fewer codecs then its rivals).

      There is a great desire among slashdotters to see Sony fail. They can't really fault the hardware so they got to focus on the price and common sense be damned.

      The PS3 not having as innovative a controller as the Wii. Neither does the 360. You don't hear people about that.

      The cell is actually a really powefull piece of tech so you can't make claims that it is underpowered or something.

      The PS3 will fail or succeed based on wether it can have games that are worth the price. Can the hardware be put to real use and can we get games that blast anything on the 360/PC away? So far nothing is showing up that impresses me but then none of the consoles impress me.

      The games don't really have to innovative. Give me F.E.A.R and just use that massive CPU to put 60 ai's in the game at the same time. That would sell me. Well if I can use a mouse with it.

      Oh just give me a PS3 with linux and an open spec to the hardware.

    • I agree. Hardcore gamers don't care about the price at all. They have plenty of disposable income. The hadcore gamers will line up at the door paying top dollar if the games as good. Once they buy theirs at the expensive rate the price will drop to a level where most people can afford it.

      Gaming is a luxury, it's like buying a titanium mountain bike.
  • by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:13PM (#15421989) Homepage Journal

    Sony is really heading into a direction that may land them back in the current generation. The PS2 is still going strong, the only reason that next gen systems are so quickly adopted is because their predicessors are so quickly dropped. It wouldn't surprise me if, after an extremely terrible launch, Sony's only option is to continue with the PS2 for another couple of years. I think that the PS2 could easilly take on the 360 in the next generation, not in power, of course, but in how entrenched the software framework is. Many developers will, obviously, jump ship and opt for the most powerful system. But depending upon the success of the Wii (which, unless the big N makes any huge mistakes, is looking pretty positive), this next generation may turn out to not be about horsepower at all, but about innovative game design. As much as I love the concept of the Wii, it doesn't require having a new gadget to be innovative, Katamari taught us that pretty directly. Sony doesn't make any money on their consoles, they'd probably be more than happy if they could continue selling current-gen games at the same rate as they have been, since licensing is where the money comes from. The dirth of so many great last minute PS2 games may insure the success of the PS2 for a while yet to come. It may be that Sony is planning on a slow adoption rate, and a slow drop in price until the system can really take off in 2 or 3 years.

    I'm sorry, I'm still diggin Dragon Quest 8 so much, I'm not sure I really see the need for a generational change in horsepower. Nintendo "gets it", the Wii is only about twice as powerful as the XBox, yet is looking to sell like hotcakes.

    Thing is, I'm 25, I have a decent professional job (as a TV commercial producer), and I love the games the Playstation line has given us, yet even I can't justify $600 for a next gen console. If people in my position aren't going to buy it, who will? I think the writing is already on the wall for the PS3, at least for the moment.

    • Sheesh, dont tell that to sony, they still think the console will sell, even despite the enforced blue ray drm, even with the hefty price point which puts it out of the league of many people, even if they think they can sell it without any games, because of their brand. Sony, a console is a toy, a console has to live with games, no one except for a few weirdos with too much money will buy something overpriced without games just because it is called sony.
    • by ClamIAm ( 926466 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @06:26PM (#15422282)
      I'm 25, I have a decent professional job ... yet even I can't justify $600 for a next gen console. If people in my position aren't going to buy it, who will?

      I think you're forgetting that there are a lot of people in situations similar to yours who have no problem paying $600 for the newest shiny toy, even if said toy has no games available for it. These are the ones who have bought the 360, and they will be buying the PS3 as well.

  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:15PM (#15421995) Homepage
    I am not surprised by the $600 being charged for a Sony Playstation 3. Sony products traditionally command a high price: a competing non-Sony product offering identical functionality costs 25% less. Just look at the prices of televisions, computer monitors, and VCRs from Sony versus Panasonic versus Philips.

    What Sony management does not seem to realize is that the American middle class will pay a premium only if the product offers premium quality. Nowadays, I do not see much difference, in quality, between a Sony electronic gadget and, say, a Panasonic electronic gadget. I refuse to pay the Sony premium. Increasingly, other potential and current Sony customers refuse to pay a premium without a corresponding premium in quality. For the year ending on 2006 March 31, the electronics divison of Sony lost $0.6 billion ($1.1 billion - $1.7 billion). [iht.com]

    If Sony maintains the $600 price tag, Sony will lose the gaming console market to Microsoft. Armed with a well-funded research division, Microsoft poses a formidable threat to Sony.

    P.S.
    Curiously, with the fading away of Bell Laboratory as the premier industrial laboratory, Microsoft's research division now assumes the mantle of America's #1 industrial laboratory. It is certainly the coziest laboratory, funded by an almost limitless supply of money from Microsoft.

    • Microsoft's research division now assumes the mantle of America's #1 industrial laboratory

      Microsoft the #1 research lab? I think not.

      IBM is far and beyond the #1 spender world wide on R&D and the purely scientific level. Last year they spent $5.8 billion on R&D. They have been granted more patents than any other company for 10 year running. And are granted more patents then the next 7 competitors.
    • Sony used to be worth it. You simply could rely on them to provide a reasonable quality product for a slight increase in money. Oh sure there were cheaper brands out there but you would get korean/chinese instead of japanese quality (yeah oldies I know, japanese quality, who would ever have thought to hear those two words together)

      Then something changed and Sony just started loosing it. Perhaps japan is just finding that korea is now the new japan (Korean quality? or for a bigger laugh Chinese quality?).

      S

    • Looks to me like they will both eat Nintendos dust. While they have been working on l33t hardware nintendo is concentrating on innovative games and expanding the market.
    • "Microsoft's research division now assumes the mantle of America's #1 industrial laboratory."

      And with innovation like this [maclive.net] out of Redmond, who could possibly argue otherwise? ;-)

  • $600 isn't so expensive for first adopters. And don't forget that to play with a XBOX 360 you need a new $1200 TV. So you are spending $1600, but if you buy a PlayStation 3 you are spending $1800. It's so different?

    If you want to play XBOX 360 without HD, you can buy a XBOX or a PlayStation 2 at a lower price per hardware and per game.

    • Re:High Definition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Osty ( 16825 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:44PM (#15422111)

      $600 isn't so expensive for first adopters. And don't forget that to play with a XBOX 360 you need a new $1200 TV. So you are spending $1600, but if you buy a PlayStation 3 you are spending $1800. It's so different?

      When first adopters are accustomed to spending $300 for a console launch (later adopters get it at the $150-$200 price point), $600 is quite a lot. Double, in fact. As for the price of a TV,

      1. You don't need it. Oh, sure, you won't get to enjoy the "next-generation high definition graphics" as much, but the games will still be quite playable on an old SDTV.
      2. Even if you did need it, you wouldn't need more than 720p or 1080i for the Xbox 360 (which is available for as little as $500, depending on brand, size, and technology of the TV you want to buy). For the PS3, you'll want a 1080p set, so consider that'll be at least $2500, if not much more. $400 + $500 = $900 for a 360 with a TV. $600 + $2500 = $3100 for a PS3 with a TV.

      Then again, most early adopters will already have an HDTV, so they're not factoring that price into the equation. A $200 difference is a lot when you're comparing $400 to $600.

      If you want to play XBOX 360 without HD, you can buy a XBOX or a PlayStation 2 at a lower price per hardware and per game.

      Not necessarily true. Aside from the fact that there are games on 360 that you simply can't play on Xbox or PS2 (like Oblivion or PGR3), just because you don't have HD doesn't mean you won't benefit from the newer system's extra horsepower. More actors on screen, more particle effects, better physics and AI, better frame rates (especially imporant in racing games -- PGR3 on 360 at 60fps is much smoother than Forza on Xbox at 30fps), etc. Sure, you don't get the benefit of higher resolution textures, and you may have to sacrifice some vertical resolution for letterboxing, but outside of first-person shooters where pixel-level accuracy counts you're not going to miss it all that much.

  • eBay 'em (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:30PM (#15422050) Homepage
    So many stores simply didn't sell 360s because they eBayed their entire stock. I don't see why Sony doesn't do the same.

    Just set a price. A DECENT price. $400.

    Then say "the first two shipments will be sold all on eBay by us. Bidding starts now."

    The fanboys and early adopters who are willing to shell out will drive all the systems up to $900 or more. Sony will sell 'em all, they'll make a profit (surely PS3s don't cost THAT much to make), and those of us who will wait for a more reasonable price will get it later.

    Instead, they're charging EVERYONE $600. They will sell fewer to "normal" people, and they won't get any of those insane profit margins that eBaying the first two shippment would get them. Sony is worse off, the average joe is worse off.

    It's simple economics. If you have a hot product, why fuss with stores and go straight to a market decided price (with a minimum, of course) by eBaying them for a while. I'm sure eBay would cut you a huge deal on the auction.

    Heck, you're Sony. You can auction them yourself off your site.

    But instead of charging $400 and getting tons of proffit from the people willing to pay $1500, you're charging $600 and getting a large loss.

    Genius.

    • Re:eBay 'em (Score:3, Informative)

      by interiot ( 50685 )
      The Xbox 360 didn't sell on Ebay for $1000+ for more than ~2 weeks. The reason it was $1000 was that on the eve of the launch, people suddenly realized just how much demand exceeded supply, and people who just had to have one near launch would pay quite a bit. Yes, console manufacturers could increase the price for a while, but only while demand exceeds supply. But they don't raise prices while supply is still low, possibly because they don't want to upset potential buyers. Companies spend a lot on adve
  • Sony are on crack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by payndz ( 589033 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:36PM (#15422081)
    Seriously, are they pushing the PS3 as a games console or some kind of 'fantabulous does-everything media contrapuhub with new ultra-shininess'? Because if it's the latter they're trying to sell a product for which the infrastructure is at least a couple of years away (HD-TV is and will remain for some time a minuscule portion of the market, whatever the early adopter contingent like to think), and if it's the former it's insanely overpriced.

    Does any game developer need a BR disc to provide a gameplaying experience that right now they can't fit on a DVD-9? Exactly what groundbreaking new gameplay paradigms are they introducing with the PS3?

    Just a glance at the PS3 release schedule on IGN (or other sites) doesn't fill me with the desire to open my wallet to experience TeH aweSome. Turok? NHL 2K7? Sonic? WWE Smackdown? NBA 2K7? Rainbow Six? Madden NFL 07? It looks like the same old piss in a new hi-res bottle. And as much as I want to play MGS4, I'm not going to pay the better part of £500 to do so, no matter what resolution I can now watch Stealth in as a side benefit.

  • $600 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Matthoc116 ( 977605 )
    PS3 hit $600 for two reasons. First, Sony decided to make a super-system regardless of price. They needed their dvd format to try and force it to be the dominant format. They needed to create a totally new processor for their system which will end up driving their system into the ground before its potential is realized, because no one knows how to program for it. Second, Sony is making poor design decisions. The internal hard drive situation is awful. As for if people will buy it, I have no doubt that
  • HD Adoption (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LIGC ( 974596 )
    When only 15% of American households have HD, going with an ultra expensive storage format only intended for a niche market is not a smart thing. When they don't have HDTVs, consumers can't see any benefits to warrant such a high price, and they'll save their money for something else.
    • Re:HD Adoption (Score:3, Interesting)

      by be-fan ( 61476 )
      Only 25% of American households have a PS2. What do you want to bet there is a tremendous overlap between the households that have a PS2 and the households that have HD?

      What Sony realized was that 1/3 of its target market already had HD. Moreover, well over half would have HD by the time the console reached "middle age" (eg: 2010). Proper support for HD was a no-brainer.
    • In europe at least digital tv is going to be shoved down our throaths. Within the early years of this console generation.

      I think we may see HD adoption go a lot faster because of the move to digital.

  • I just bought a Nintendo DS and having the blast of my life, and it probably will be a Wii once it is out additionally. The DS was a no brainer, the PSP was simply too expensive.
  • Calm down.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by weg ( 196564 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @05:53PM (#15422154)
    Come on.. calm down. The price will be down to $400 after a few months, unless the Sony CEO prefers to staple all those unsold PS3s in his office.. (presuming he has such a huge office)...
  • by DumbSwede ( 521261 ) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Sunday May 28, 2006 @06:21PM (#15422257) Homepage Journal
    I think the PS3 is coming out at just the right time and price point for Sony. HDTVs are flying off the shelves now, this being the first year HDTV sales exceed analog TV. The point of Blu-Ray in the very near future will be as a strong competitor to going to the Movie Theater. In fact if Blu-Ray truly supports 1080P and not just 1080P upconverted from 24fps but full-blown 60fps then in many/most cases the viewing experience will be far better than your average Ciniplex.

    I've said this before, but I'll say it again. If Sony really wants to get early adopters on board they should try to get the IMAX catalog converted to 60fps 1080P as quickly as possible, that and start shooting new movies in 60fps in an IMAX-lite version -- it would be fairly easy to adapt 24fps cinema equipment to 60fps. Pans would loose their jitter, double vision look. Action sequences would seem more realistic.

    Now it maybe that some future hyper-internet will support HDTV on demand, but for the next 5 years Blu-Ray will offer the best cheapest delivery system despite what Bill Gates has to say on the subject -- that and Hollywood's reluctance to distribute on anything other than a physical medium.

    One last note about visual quality, I recently watched "Passage to India" (shot in 70mm) in HDTV. The quality was glorious. This because the graininess of standard 35mm confuses HD compression and robs the final mpeg of the resolution it is really capable of. Films shot either direct to HD, with HD-video cameras, or converted from 70mm prints really show the real potential image clarity of HD. Hollywood will soon have to start factoring image quality of HD viewing into account when shooting new content.
  • Marketing trick? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oliderid ( 710055 )
    PS2 production couldn't face the demand during the first months. I'm maybe naive :-) but...Maybe they set the price at $600 to face the demand and few months later they will drop the price to challenge the XBOX 360.

    Only fools, fanatics or wealthy people will buy it at such a price.

    Anyway I may consider it...If it has a keyboard, a mouse, a VGA/DVI output, USB to a printer and a well known operating system with tons of applications (ie: if it is a PC).

    The only console right now that fits to my budget is the
  • Time will tell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @07:02PM (#15422393) Journal
    When the PS3 finally launches, then, and only then, will we know who played the smarter card. I see 3 outcomes:
    1. There are piles of unsold PS3s at launch.
    2. There are spot shortages but by and large, if you want a $600 PS3 you can get one.
    3. PS3s sell so well you can't get one except on ebay for $1000.
    From Sony's perspective, 2 out of 3 outcomes count as a win.

    Moreover, once the intial "I'll buy no matter what the price" crowd has passed through, Sony can drop their price and /. will dutifully announce the price drop.

    To see which way the chips fall, we'll have to wait until Sony ships. Until then, I'm skipping any PS3 rumors on /. .

  • by KNicolson ( 147698 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @07:09PM (#15422413) Homepage
    About three-quarters of Japanese gamers want a PS3 [whatjapanthinks.com].

    In addition, over a quarter of these gamers said they wanted DVD (or HD-DVD, Blu-Ray or whatever) playback in their console. However, they weren't questioned about the price point for a PS3, so I don't know if they would change their tune once they saw the cost!

  • Cheap bastards. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deep44 ( 891922 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @07:42PM (#15422513)
    I don't know what all the fuss is about. Throughout the life of a console, you will spend hundreds upon hundreds of hours playing, and for the most part, you'll be happily entertatined. Just to run some numbers (and these may be high for some and really low for others), let's say you play for 30 minutes per day, every day, for three years. That's around 545 hours, or just over 3 weeks.

    Name some other source of comparable entertainment (non-console) that costs less than that. Drugs? Hookers? Gambling? Booze? No, hell no, no, and no. As far as I'm concerned, $600 is nothing for the amount of entertainment I'm buying - I think the other companies are stupid for not charging more.

    Plus, truth be told, the people who are complaining the loudest aren't the people the console companies really care about - if you can't dig up $600 for a console, then you're certainly not going to be opening your wallet to buy new controllers, new games, etc.

    You can complain all you like about being poor or whatever sob story it is this week - face it: you own a computer, and you obviously know enough about it to post comments on Slashdot. You're not doing too bad - save the complaining for the kids at the orphanage (and even then, pretty soon they'll have more PS2s than they could ever possibly use).
    • Re:Cheap bastards. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Garse Janacek ( 554329 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @08:48PM (#15422686)
      Yes, I have a computer and know enough about it to post on slashdot. I have a six-year-old computer, because as nice as it might be to get a new one, I can't justify the expense. That's not really a complaint, I have as much money as I need right now, but I do have to be somewhat choosy about entertainment expenses.

      Yes, though I don't have much extra income right now, I could "dig up $600 for a console" if it was that important to me. But you're kind of presenting it as this all-or-nothing thing -- "this is how much entertainment you get, it is worth $600." Well, maybe. I'm actually inclined to say no, since you didn't factor the overpriced games into your hourly estimate, but it doesn't matter. In deciding to spend $600, I don't pretend that this is some segmented portion of my life and ask whether the entertainment justifies the expenditure -- I compare the entertainment I would get from the console to every other way I could possibly spend $600. Such as on an X-Box 360 and some games, or a Wii and even more games, or hell, a used PS2 and a box full of old games. Each of those choices would give me a better hourly entertainment rate than your "buy a PS3 because you can technically afford it" scheme.

      Maybe a console would be worth $600 if that was the only option, but considering the many alternative ways to spend my $600 + $70 every month or two, many of which have as much or more longevity than most consoles, I'm going to pass.

      (I am thinking about getting a Wii, though. I haven't bought a console since the SNES generation, but $200 for a system focused on actual entertainment, with plenty of downloadable nostalgia factor, is about my speed.)

  • PS3 is $500 (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @08:33PM (#15422646)
    The price of $600 is repeated endlessly, yet iit is false - the base PS3 is $500. The $600 model really only gets you HDMI, which you don't need to play games at 1080p and watch movies at 1080i. Why would you pay more to get less?

    The price of $500 is already expensive enough that you can have good discussions around buy-in at that price, all without over-inflating figures and thus making the rest of what you say suspect. After all, if they can't even get the price right what are we supposed to think about other facts they are presenting? The article mentions the $500 prine in passing as watered-down, but does not explain how - given that lack of completeness I have to assume the rest of the research they have done is similarily half-assed as well.
  • article: dumb. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @10:16PM (#15422937)
    It first goes ahead and assume Cell will cost a lot more than (for example) the CPU in Xbox 360. There's no reason to think so. Cell is not a monster chip, it's similar in transistor count to the PS3 GPU, the Xbox 360 GPU and the Xbox 360 CPU.

    Second, the article assumes Sony made decisions which made the PS3 more expensive around the end of last year when 360s were selling for $700 on eBay. Whether $700 is a reasonable price for a console or not, PS3 was already set in stone before 360 even came out. The 360 availability fiasco didn't enter into any of the technical decisions.

    Both of those things being said, I think $600 is an awful price.
  • by The_Real_Quaid ( 892126 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @10:48PM (#15423037) Homepage
    Another thing this article left out - the ballooning price of PS3 is also the result of ballooned R&D costs due to design incompetence and failure.

    The original PS3 design called for 3 Cell processors and no GPU. Each Cell CPU was to have 1 logic unit and 8 SPE's, and graphics would be done in software mode. Sony ended up with egg on their face and had to run to nVidia to bail them out.

    Originally nVidia was called in for "consultation" purposes, and both parties denied a GPU was in the works. But inevitably, Sony's lakluster design forced them to purchase nVidia's PC GPU to overcome the Cells graphical inability. Turning to nVidia costed Sony much more than they planned to spend, and buying the PC GPU's costed them even more.

    To add insult to injury, low yields forced Sony to cut the SPE's down to 7 operational SPE's per Cell, and costs forced them to cut 2 Cell processors away completely. Now we have an over-engineered, overpriced, and underwheliming architecture. Don't let Soy's infalted numbers fool you, the X360 was brilliantly designed, PS3 was botched, so for all the hype and price, you pay 2x the money for the same quality system, and Sony loses assloads of money. It's a lose-lose situation for everyone (except nVidia, who will walk away from this with a really fat bank account.)
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @10:59PM (#15423058) Homepage

    Let's not forget that Microsoft plans to bundle Halo III with 360 consoles, and launch competitively
    launch them on the same day the PS3 launches.

    If the $600 pricetag doesn't kill the PS3 all by itself, the competition will.
  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Sunday May 28, 2006 @11:07PM (#15423075) Homepage Journal

    Kutaragi was demoted after being passed over for the role of CEO and, when former Sony Pictures head Howard Stringer assumed the position, the relationship between the content and technology divisions of Sony became even more intimate.

    I think they could have phrased that more tastefully.

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