Sony is planning on selling its new Playstation 3 platform for $500. A second version of the system with more internal memory will sell for $600.
See, for those of you who don't know it, Steanso is a bit of a gamer. I don't play video games every day, and I almost never buy brand new games when they're first released (they start out at around $50, but if you wait awhile, they typically drop into the $20 range), but I do enjoy playing video games from time to time. I find them immersive and relaxing. They kind of just make you forget about the world for a little while and focus on problem solving within the game (and often that problem solving takes the form of cathartic, wanton destruction- blowing up obstacles with bazookas and whatnot). If I play video games for too long they make me feel kind of guilty (I have the same effect with watching pointless television) and maybe a little woozy (it can be difficult to readjust to reality when you've been piloting jet fighters for two hours straight).
Anyway, Steanso has always been a fan of platform games (like X-Box, Playstation, etc.) because they're typically easier to play than computer games (all of the games functions have to be able to be accomodated with a single controller) and because it always seemed like a smart idea to reserve the memory on my computer for bigger and better thing than videogames (ok, well, at least different things than video games). Buying the videogame platform was never a substantial issue because the systems were always relatively inexpensive ($200 for a new one, $100 for a used one). Now, however, as computer prices continue to fall and desktop PCs have moved into the $500 range, Sony has jacked up the price of their new Playstation 3 to $500.
What a rip!!!
It's just weird. Platforms have begun to get more and more features, playing DVDs and CDs, adding online capabilities, and so forth, but in the end, their primary function is to play video games, and they typically aren't used by the standard consumer for a lot more than that.
The new X-Box system is selling for $400, and I think that their price point may finally push Sony out of its lead spot within the industry. In the previous generation, the X-Box and Playstation 2, it was generally acknowledged that the X-Box had better graphics, and probably slightly better gameplay, but the fact that Sony had licenses for many, many more game titles than X-Box kept people buying PS2s so that they could choose from a wider variety of games.
But I think that Microsoft has gotten smarter and is seeking to license more titles with its new system. And its cheaper.
Here's the thing. $500 is a lot of money to lay out for something which is essentially a toy. I'm not saying I'm never going to do it, but it's something I'll have to think about pretty hard, and I think that I'm probably better off financially than a lot of the people who Sony is gearing these systems toward (Steanso ain't rich, kids, but he's single with no kids and drawing a steady government paycheck).
The people I really feel sorry for are the parents. Kids are going to be clamoring for their parents to get them one of these damn systems, with no real understanding or appreciation for how much money $500 really is. And parents will buy the systems in order to shut their kids up. And then other parents will by systems for their kids because the family next door got one for their kids. And then Mom is putting in overtime at work to pay for her kids to zone out in front of a machine that allows their kids to take on the role of warring inner city drug dealers as a form of entertainment. I mean, $500 puts a lot of tanks of gas into the ol' minivan.
Well, I gotta motor. Get your price point down, Sony. I don't know how things are going over there in Japan, but $500 still stings over here in the U.S.