Yesterday Sony trimmed both the size and the price of its PlayStation 3 console, hoping to energize a slumping market with a sexier product. But in the background of this announcement is the news that video game sales are rapidly declining, and the PlayStation 3 is at the bottom of the heap.
The NPD Group reports the PlayStation 3 moving only 122,000 units in July, a mere 14,000 more than its predecessor, the PlayStation 2. This is sad news given that the PlayStation 2 is nine years old and totally outdated in its hardware. For comparison's sake, the Microsoft Xbox 360 moved 203,000 units, and the Nintendo Wii moved 253,00.
With a slimmer and cheaper iteration of its console, Sony hopes to bump those numbers up in its favor. But it may be too late.
Since its release, the PS3 has suffered the lonesome kid on the playground syndrome -- it's just not popular. It was expensive, and though its cost-to-build fell 35 percent to $448.73 from $690.23, Sony still ends up in the red with every sale. Sony hopes to break even sometime this year. Also, based on several game reviews I have read, the PS3 often suffers graphical glitches in its games that Microsoft's Xbox 360 simply does not. It's clear to those who pay attention to the little details that Sony's rivals can do what the PS3 does, but in many cases, better.
Cutting the price of the PS3 is just slapping a fresh coat of paint on a crumbling house, and it seems to me that no matter what Sony does with its PS3, it may just be doomed to failure.