The SKU Generation

I’m starting to feel like a contestant on The Price Is Right. How much do you think the PS3 is worth? Six hundred, five hundred or four hundred dollars?

In an “announcement” that shocked no one Sony UK officially pulled back the curtain and revealed the 40 GB version of its home entertainment console. This newest version will run our tea and crumpet friends 299 pounds (or 610 bucks, ouch), and is speculated to cost us 400 bucks. This special “Short Bus Edition” will feature 2 usb ports (compared to the usual 4), will not be including the multi media memory card slots (which were not included on the 20 GB version, remember that one?), and will not feature any sort of backwards compatibility.

Lets get this out of the way:

PS3 Fanboy Response – See, this is why Sony is the greatest. They listen to consumers and give them the greatest console in the world. They heard us complaining about the price being too high (even though they should charge double) so now they’re removing the extra features that we don’t need (but were given anyway, because Sony is sooo nice) so now everyone can enjoy the extensive library of exclusive games that the PS3 has to offer.

Xbox 360 Fanboy Attack – Sony is so stupid. This is why they don’t understand their consumer. They make a console that is way overpriced, doesn’t have rumble, and is only good for movies. Then they make the price the exact same as the 360 but take away features like PS2 compatibility? I’d rather play my core 360 and buy the hard drive separately because that’s way cheaper. Good thing that Halo 3 is FTW and has an excellent campaign with a rich fulfilling story, and that xbox live is charging me for premier service like achievements. As soon as my 360 gets back from customer service it’s nothing but tea bagging noobs online while singing into my headset.

We’ve all known for quite a while now that Sony had a cheaper console in the works. What we didn’t know was that this new edition wouldn’t be quite as feature-rich. Removing 2 usb ports from the console is odd, as they can’t cost Sony that much to include. The 360 has 3 usb ports, however one is there solely for the Wi-Fi adapter (100 dollar add-on), which this newest PS3 already has built in, so perhaps this exclusion is acceptable. Removing the multi media card slots was almost expected, as the 20 GB version didn’t originally have them, and isn’t a feature that many users take advantage of.

The most prominent feature to slip through the cracks is backwards compatibility. Does including this feature, even if it has to be via software emulation, really significantly add to the sticker price? If the tech has already been created, and successfully implemented in the other versions, does it make economic sense to strip down this new model? Apparently so.

How important is backwards compatibility? With today’s buy and trade consumer mentality, does anyone really go back to older gen games? Or was Sony thinking that since there are 120+ million PS2s already in homes removing this feature was a viable solution to the PS3’s “high” price point.

I don’t know, and question this latest move. As someone who owns 100+ PS2 games (only about half have actually been completed) this newest model doesn’t interest me. Backwards compatibility, while not exactly necessary, is an important feature to me. I’ve been known to crack open a dusty copy of last gen’s greatest offering and reminisce for a few hours. Still, I consider myself to be in the minority. Most people are probably willing to sacrifice previous gen support for a little extra cash in their wallets. Plenty bitched about the 360 not being fully backwards compatibly, but how many actually used the feature?

Odds are if you desire this feature then you have a working PS2 already. I’m not trying to justify Sony’s decision, as I don’t fully approve it, but I do in part understand it. I guess that you have to move on and grow up sometime.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,