By Steve Boxer
So, as of Wednesday 10 October, the PS3 will no longer cost a whacking £425 ? instead, you?ll be able to choose between a 40Gb version with various extraneous bits and PS2 backwards-compatibility removed for £299, or the full 60Gb version with two games for £349. Hurrah!
But amid the new-found temptation of a much more affordable PS3, are you confused by any of this? As ever, we went straight to the horse?s mouth: SCE UK managing director Ray Maguire, to discuss the differences between the two PS3s, how Sony was able to cut the price and what this means for the future. Maguire, as ever, was bullish about the PS3?s prospects, and was keen to stress that Sony has been listening to prospective customers. This is what he said.
So the PS3 as of Wednesday will come in two skus: a 40GB entry-level one at £299 and a 60Gb Value Pack at £349?
I?ll take you through it. We?ve been listening to our consumers over the last few months, to find out what they feel about PlayStation 3 and some of the barriers to getting into the next level of gaming. Quite clearly, although there has been a massive uptake in PlayStation 3, there is a bigger swell of opinion underneath which says: ?I really want to get into PlayStation 3 but it?s just too expensive.? With that in mind, we went back and had a look at how we could get that entry-level price down.
What we?ve done is create a brand new sku, which has a 40Gb hard disk, and we?ve taken out some of the components from the 60GB sku. The first things we took out were the Memory Stick slots. And we reduced the USB ports from four down to two. We?ve taken out backwards-compatibility as well. The reasons for doing these things are thus: with the memory slots, there are many peripherals on the marketplace now which give you all that functionality at a reasonable price. As far as USB is concerned, USB hubs are now widely available and also extremely cheap. So people who want that functionality can upgrade if they choose.
Regarding the backwards-compatibility issue, we felt it was reasonably important at launch, when there weren?t that many titles on sale, that backwards-compatibility was included to some degree in there PS3. There is a cost associated with that for us though. We feel now, going into Christmas, with about 65 titles, there is sufficient choice that instead of looking at backwards-compatibility, we can use that money better to get the entry-level cost of gaming down. What we have now is a 40Gb PS3 with the features I?ve just been through at £299.
Of course, not everyone wants to have different devices underneath their TV. So the other offer we?ve got is that the Starter Pack that we?ve got at the moment, which has an extra controller and two games, is being replaced by the 60Gb PS3, with just one controller and two games, for £349.