Video game industry analysts I spoke with last week for today’s story previewing the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) were fairly certain we would see a price cut from either Sony or Microsoft sometime before the holiday season.
“These guys have got to do something, or Nintendo is going to run away with this business,” said Mike Goodman, director of digital entertainment with Yankee Group Consumer Research.
Last night, Sony confirmed those predictions, lopping $100 off the price of the PlayStation 3. It now retails for $499, still the most expensive of the current generation video game consoles.
Sony also rolled out an 80 gigabyte hard-drive version of the PS3. According to this Associated Press report, the higher-capacity model will be packaged with racing game “MotorStorm” and sell for $599. This model won’t hit North American markets until August.
From The AP:
[The higher-capacity PS3] plays into the company’s upcoming strategy of eventually offering downloaded high-definition movies, video games, movie trailers and demos, Sony spokesman David Karraker said.
Karraker said further details on high-def movies for download would be released at a later date.
Could that later date be, say, Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m., when Sony holds its E3 press conference? And what might this mean for Microsoft’s Xbox 360?
The company isn’t tipping its hand just yet. The president of Microsoft’s Japan unit, Darren Huston, is quoted in this Wall Street Journal roundup as saying the Xbox 360 has “very competitive pricing” right now. He added that Microsoft would continue to “assess market dynamics.” Not clear if his comments apply just to the Japanese market or to the Xbox 360 business globally.
Microsoft in March announced a $480 high-end version of the console, with 120 gigabytes of storage that appeared to be aimed squarely at the PS3’s target audience.
I’ll be keeping track of the major announcements from Santa Monica this week as E3 begins Tuesday. Check back here for updates following Microsoft’s press conference Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. Nintendo goes before the cameras Wednesday morning at 9, followed by Sony.
In other news going in to E3, Sony issued an apology for a shoot-out scene that takes place in an Anglican cathedral in “Resistance: Fall of Man.” According to this AP report, the game depicts a “gun battle between an American soldier and aliens inside a building that resembles Manchester Cathedral in northwest England.”
Here’s another story updating Nintendo’s efforts to make the DS Lite an integral part of baseball through a pilot project with the Mariners at Safeco Field.