The intertubes have been filled with speculation about an upcoming Sony announcement on its gaming strategy. The announcement is due today, and it looks like it’s going to be hot news. We’ve had a look and rounded up the biggest rumors for you.
Playstation 2 price drop. The PS2 is still a hot seller for the Japanese giant, despite approaching what must be middle age for the console (considering the PSOne now counts as an old codger.) New games are still being written for it, and Sony’s been refining the hardware for years. As a result of all that refinement the component count has dropped, manufacturing efficiency must have risen, and thus construction costs have fallen significantly. The suggestion is that Sony is now in a position to drop its price to just $99 from around $129 (on Amazon)–a move that would certainly drive up sales in our cash-strapped economic crisis.
Playstation 3 price drop. Oh how much would everyone love for this to happen? The PS3s sales have not seen the soaring figures Sony was hoping for, partly due to the lack of games available (influenced by how complex writing code for the PS3 is) and partly due to a price that places it above all its peers. The high price is determined by its hardware–the Blu-ray drive and the custom chips–and Sony hasn’t been able to shave much off the total construction cost. Rumors say Sony will drop the price anyway, and take more of a hit on the hardware in order to sell more consoles, that will lead to selling more games. But Sony’s corporate HQ has stamped on this with a big “no!”. It’s just not going to happen today, it seems.
Motion-sensing Wiimote-like control for the PS3. This is a hot ticket rumor–it’s been gaining traction for a while, and it makes perfect sense given the success of the motion-sensing games for the Wii. According to some it’s just on the way, but others think it’s actually ready and that Sony’s even been approaching third-party games makers to include compatibility in games due out soon. It’s possible, highly desirable, but hard to call as likely or not.
Updated Playstation Portable. Sony tweaked the PSP last year to the “3000” model, but it wasn’t a significant change and even resulted in what some say was poorer screen quality. Rumors have been circulating that a new PSP-4000 version is due and it’ll do away with the (always slightly bizarre) UMD drive and feature downloadable games content. This would be a welcome move, in part because it could allow the portable’s price to be lowered significantly. If also combined with a processor/hardware speed uptick it could move the PSP into market-leading “PSP2” status that could be as revolutionary as the PS2 was when it first launched.
There you have it. There are a few more suggestions out there, like a “Lite” PS3 without a Blu-ray drive, but we’re calling all of those way less likely. Of course these are all rumors anyway, and Sony is at times an enigmatic creature–it’s perfectly possible it’ll pull something out of the bag and surprise everyone. Or indeed, pull nothing out of the bag. At the time of writing this it’s late in the day in Japan and there’s been no word from Sony’s eastern HQ.
Update: Sony’s official PlayStation blog has a news piece confirming the “sub $100” PlayStation 2 rumor. The price will be in effect as from tomorrow, April 1st. Looks like I was right about Sony being enigmatic. There’s still some hope around the web that a bigger announcement will yet surface today.