Wednesday, May 10, 2006

3-2 Ratio

At E3 in Los Angeles earlier this week, Sony executives - finally - announced a firm launch date and price for PlayStation3. The unit will ship on Nov. 11 in Japan and six days later in the U.S.

The delay announced earlier this year was tough to swallow. I've really been looking forward to getting the new model - even got a birthday check in February to be put towards a PS3 purchase. So November? It's a long way off, but manageable.

The price? Much less so: $499 for the 20-GB (a.k.a. cheap version) or $599 for the 60-GB version.


Moreover, the 20-GB version is missing some features that are on the 60-GB version (besides just more hard drive space).

That's a lot of money to drop for a video game system. Perhaps Sony is trying to find the threshold at which consumers won't pay for a system anymore. Sure, they've already got the hardcore gamers and high-end consumer regulars locked up. They don't mind shelling out.

But for a regular family, that's a lot of money - even for the cheaper version. That same money could get you a nice digital camera, a low-end (but still very serviceable) computer and, if you got the cheapest option at Best Buy, would get you a washer-dryer combination. All of those things would benefit the family as a whole on a regular basis - not just one or two members on a more infrequent basis (in the long term).

My wife and I (it's both of us, because I'm the video-game player and she's the breadwinner) have a couple of options.

-- Stand pat with the PS2. Sounds like the best - and most likely - option for now. However, Rockstar Games has announced that Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3 and XBox 360 versions) hits the shelves on Oct. 16, 2007. I am a huge GTA fan, so we'll have to decide on another course of action sometime in the next 15 months. (And no, I don't know why I'm worried about this now.)

-- Buy a 360. An OK option, but it would render the 15 or so PS2 games I have useless and I'd have to start a whole new catalog to get even a few 360 games I'd want. Any savings from buying a 360 would be negated in playing catch-up with the software.

-- Suck it up and buy the PS3. I'm loathe to admit Sony has me by the balls, but, well, they have me by the balls.

Perhaps this sounds as if it runs counter to the whole discussion about the big-screen television, where, from a man's point of view, bigger and newer is always better. That's true to an extent, but the fact is that both my wife and I will get a lot more use and enjoyment out of watching a new TV than the enjoyment I'll get from the PS3. And my wife is very tolerant, but not so tolerant that I could walk home with a PS3 without any prior discussion.

Maybe we'll hit the lottery and it will be a moot point. But until that happens, I've got some thinking to do.


P.J. said...

Well, as I've posted on my board and I'm sure you've seen, that price range is way too nuts for me.

I can think of 500 other things I could spend 500 bucks on. It seems like they just keep trying to rape people for a video game system.

The PS2 will work well for me unless I come across some free money. I don't play the PS2 enough to justify a new game for that every once in a while, so I would never be able to justify 500 on a system.

Good luck with the decision. I'd say wait until the new GTA comes out and by then you would think the PS3 would be more affordable!

ME said...

Hey man, I always read your blog! I didn't post any comments because we were already conversing on the subject via email & on the board.


Whoa. PJ's not getting it??? I'm shocked!!! :)

The comments you posted today were just ridiculous. The two systems are basically the same except for the audio & video output. Isn't that the name of the game so to speak? Aren't the next gen systems supposed to deliver mind-blowing graphics? If you can't play in HD, explain to me how that's worth it.

The more I read about the PS3, the more I'm glad I bought a 360. That $299 seems like a bargain now. Also, game developers will have a 12 month head start on producing games. The first wave of games for any new system is always filled with clunkers. When the PS3 comes out, the 3rd version on Madden & the 2nd version of NCAA Football will already be out for the 360.

Make sure you get that TV first!!

Brian said...

The more I read about PS3, the more I become convinced it's just a complete snowjob.

On SJ, I added some comments which I didn't touch on with you or on Hoohaa - basically how Sony is trying to include add-ons that will ensure it makes money down the road, which will further help disguise its continued lagging in nearly every other area of business (i.e., TVs, camcorders, cameras, etc.).

And I don't think my money needs to help them. I'll still take a wait-and-see approach, but Sony won't see a dime of my money until the price drops significantly.

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