In a recent article over at Bloomberg, several publishers were quoted while giving their thoughts of the PS3 price point, the Wii’s development atmosphere, and what their plans are going forward. Many developers and publishers are hoping that a PS3 price drop can give PS3 sales a lift, which would have a ripple effect on game sales. It’s no secret that the 360 and Wii have been dominant in software sales, with the PS3 lagging pretty far behind. A lot of this is due to the PS3 pricing structure, as many gamers are still within the mindset that the PS3 is just too expensive to pick up at this point.
I think there’s more to the issue than just a simple price point. The 360 got out of the gates early and got their fan base hooked on silly little things like Achievements. I’m not saying that Achievements are bad, but these little buggers are basically causing multiplatform owners to shun PS3 releases if the game is also available on the 360. I hear it all the time: “I’m going to get the 360 version, as I want the Achievement points.” Sony’s answer with the trophy system wasn’t quite enough, and it’s come far too late in the game. Maybe a price drop would help, but it seems like Microsoft has won over the loyalty of their console owners in the multiplatform arena.
The Wii is a different challenge altogether for the PS3. Publishers are now saying that they’ll be forced to cut PS3 budgets to give a bit more attention to the Wii, simply because they get better results on Nintendo’s platform for a cheaper investment. The article stated that Activision generated 32% of their revenue from the Wii last year, compared to 19% from the PS3. Those numbers are telling, but what is the bigger issue is how much money was devoted to the Wii versus the PS3. A typical Wii project is going to cost 1/3 (or less) than what it costs to put out something on the PS3 or 360, so the return on investment is essentially 2-3 times higher. It’s not favoritism for publishers like Activision to shift assets to the Wii from PS3, it’s good business.
I personally hope that the PS3 can rally a bit and catch up to the 360 and Wii over time. I feel that a healthy Sony is good for the gaming industry, and it will continue to force Microsoft and Nintendo to innovate while still keeping their prices down. Should Sony continue to struggle and fade, it’s really not going to be a good thing for anybody; Sony haters included.
The original article can be found at Bloomberg, here: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aHTaK6Q9IUFo