On the same day the price cut was announced, Sony announced a new 80GB PS3, a console that will be bundled with Motorstorm and will retail for $599, the same as the first. The price cut for the 60GB PS3 was never intended to be a permanent cut for the product; it was only intended to clear out stock for the new version to be sold at the old price. GameSpot has reported that Kaz Hirai, Sony Computer Entertainment's CEO and President, has confirmed in a video interview that the 60GB PS3s are no longer in production, and that all new PS3s will be 80GB models to be sold at $599.
When E3 kicked off, everyone was pretty excited about Sony and the new $499 PS3. Sony had a $499 PS3 before, but it was a slightly scaled-down, 20GB version that was discontinued back in April. Now it seems like Sony's doing the exact same thing with the 60GB PS3 (originally the high-end model) that they did with the 20GB: kick it out the door and make sure the only available PS3 will sell for $599 a pop. Considering the biggest complaint leveled against the PlayStation 3 has been its price, this was simply a terrible decision.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America's director of corporate communications David Karraker told GameSpot, "This is absolutely not a bait and switch," he said. "We are offering a full-featured PS3 for $100 lower than the original price and will do so for months to come, allowing consumers the opportunity to acquire this model at this adjusted price."
For many gamers, even $499 is too much for a console. The Elite version of the Xbox 360 retails for $479, and it includes a 120GB hard drive (though it lacks the PS3's Wi-Fi support, Blu-ray drive, or media reader). The Premium version of the Xbox 360 only costs $399, and the Nintendo Wii only $250. The supposed $499 price was seen as a concession by Sony that, yes, the PS3 cost too much. Suddenly saying that they're just clearing out stock and that the only PlayStation 3 they're currently producing will still retail for $599 is utter madness.
The decision alone is made even worse by the timing. Today is the last day of E3 2007, and the entire expo is being capped off by confirmation that the PS3 price cut won't last. Nearly every media outlet is going to mention the price uncut in their expo wrap-up. Everyone is walking away from Santa Monica with the $599 PS3 back in their heads.
It's also Friday the 13th, but that might just be coincidence.