In a fresh new year, it's time for a fresh new round of predicting that Sony will drop the price of the PS3 - starting with one analyst who believes the console will see a dramatic cut this April.
Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter is anticipating that Sony will slash the price of the 80GB PS3 by $100, bringing it down to $299. Microsoft will follow suit in June, Pachter believes, with a $50 cut to the price of the Xbox 360 Pro - but the juggernaut that is the Wii will hold stable. Of course, you don't have to be an analyst to see that Nintendo has absolutely no reason to cut prices with the Wii barreling along, selling like hotcakes (that are made out of heroin).
"Once the PS3 is at a more affordable price point, we think that sales of that device will once again begin to grow," said Pachter.
Let's look at this from both sides, shall we? On the one hand, yes, it's true that the PS3 is in last place worldwide this generation by a comfortable margin, and Sony desperately needs to do something to jumpstart sales. Sure, Killzone 2 is right around the corner, but ... color me skeptical, but it feels like we've heard this refrain before. If Metal Gear Solid 4 and LittleBigPlanet couldn't pull the PS3 out of its slump, I remain unconvinced that KZ2 can. Sure, I've no doubt that PS3 owners will be glad to have the game, but I don't see it being as much of a potential console-mover as MGS4 was.
Furthermore, I don't think anyone would really deny that the Xbox 360's lower price was at least a contributing factor in Microsoft moving more units than Sony did in 2008 - especially in an era when people are trying to become thriftier and cut unnecessary luxury costs. So yes, the argument that Sony needs to cut the price of the PS3 certainly holds water.
On the other hand, it seems like analysts have been predicting another PS3 price drop every other week for months on end now - and SKU juggling aside, those predictions haven't really materialized. Sony has firmly stated that its goal for 2009 is to make a profit, and dropping the price (without a corresponding drop in costs) just seems like it'd make an already tough objective even tougher.