Sony has had a secret weapon during the launch of the Next Gen systems called the PS2. Now sure it’s not exactly a secret but it definitely has been a weapon for them as the PS2’s sales have managed to stay very healthy in the face of fierce competition from not only rival companies but even Sony’s own PS3. Knowing that and seeing Sony’s struggles in the overall picture one has to ask, when and if Sony should ever kill off the PS2?
Looking purely at NPD numbers while the PS2 has declined in sales since its hay day it still is a pretty significant player in the market. Just looking at a snap shot of 3 months of NPD sales figures from 2008 you clearly can see there is still a significant amount of people buying up new PS2’s.
January 2008 – Playstation 2 sold 264,000 units
July 2008 – Playstation 2 sold 222,000 units
December 2008 – Playstation 2 sold 410,000 units
The PS2 now resides as the cheapest home console and most likely is its driving force for staying relevant in the monthly sales totals. You couple that with a vast back catalog of games, continued support from 3rd parties and a poor economy and you see the recipe for the PS2’s success. You piggy back the fact that the machine costs make it a cash cow at this point for Sony and one can’t really see an argument for killing it off.
You can’t see an argument for killing it off unless you factor in their desire to push consumers to Blu Ray and the PS3. Sony has begun trying to push in that direction via lack of support towards the PS2, etc… but it’s a very slow move. This is where things get tricky for Sony. Sony wants to convert all those PS2 buyers into future PS3 buyers. However, the PS2 adopters we see today most likely are bargain shoppers looking for a cheap, good gaming experience. The PS3 is not that solution as it stands and Sony would potentially be pushing roughly 200,000 unit sales over to their rival console makers whom offer up much more inexpensive Next Gen offerings. That scenario is the last thing Sony wants to see happen. Given Sony isn’t in a position to offer up a large price cut, the potential PS2 buyers are going to be no closer to buying a PS3 now than they were before hand. Sony is trying to push the value proposition but really in my opinion this is a losing argument in face of a “dollars and cents” consumer. When and if Sony can bring the PS3 to a price point that it will convert those potential PS2 buyers still remains to be seen
One thing is for sure though. Sony can’t and won’t kill of the PS2 anytime soon. I guess the only real remaining questions for debate are: When will Sony decide to actually stop production of the PS2? And how long can the PS2 stay viable?