Sony Planned to Upgrade the PS3 but Microsoft Beat Them to It

I find this infuriatingly stupid: Sony has (inadvertently) revealed plans to release a new PS3 that has a 80Gb hard drive. It’s not that I don’t like the upgrade; I don’t agree with the decision to upgrade now. A product that has been in the market for barely 6 months (wait, no, it hasn’t) is not ready for an upgrade. It was only released this week in Europe!

Why in the world are they trying to upgrade the hardware? To attract more buyers? Allow me to point out a simple flaw in their reasoning:

  1. Build the biggest and best console
  2. Wait for people to come buy it by the cart full
  3. Realize sales are tepid and panic
  4. Make the biggest and best console even “better” by upgrading it
  5. Wait for people to come buy it by the cart full

It’s a commonly known fact that the “if you build it they will come” strategy is poor at best. And clearly, they built it and they didn’t get anywhere near what they thought they’d attract. Now they hope on attracting more people by following the same retarded logic from the first time around. By starting this measure so early, they risked a leak. And boy did it leak. So now anybody thinking about a PS3 has a real incentive to wait. I mean how mad would you be if you bought a 20Gb PS3 only to have it “discontinued” the next day? Good way to slow your sales there, Sony.

And what about the increased cost of the drive? Why add $5 per machine when you could save that difference and get your product to stop bleeding away your hard earned profits. What’s 20Gbs anyway? If you’re going to do an upgrade, at least do it like Microsoft and go big (120Gb). Not to mention the upgraded 360 comes in its own color, allowing for extra bragging rights to adopters.

Sony is approaching this all wrong. They made critical assumptions when designing their product which turned out to be wrong. But instead of correcting those mistakes, they continue down the same path. In constrast, Microsoft is doing an amazing job. They resisted the urge of bundling the HD-DVD player. Microsoft has a lot to gain by the HD-DVD format becoming accepted, but they recognize that bundling the player for $200 would be a critical error that will price them straight out of the market.

I don’t think Sony realizes it yet, but they are boxing at Microsoft’s pace. And Microsoft knows exactly where they’re headed, while Sony seems to be caught off guard more and more frequently. Now, it looks as if the 360 is a far better deal, coming with nearly double the capacity of the lower model for less money. If there’s one measure any consumer can understand, it’s hard drive capacity.

This may also be Microsoft’s power play to get Sony to match them at 120Gb, in hopes of further increasing the cost of PS3 production and hurt Sony’s bottom line. Sony can’t possibly raise the price of the PS3, so they’d have to eat the added costs. That, or they let Microsoft take the crown for disk capacity. This is an extremely difficult move for Sony to mimic. In short, it is a deviously smart business move by Microsoft.

2 thoughts on “Sony Planned to Upgrade the PS3 but Microsoft Beat Them to It”

  1. You’re absolutely right. Now that I think about it, I do recall Sony’s three tier idea being mentioned almost a year ago. That said, I think the lackluster sales and the high price point would be a good enough reason to refrain from releasing another potentially more expensive model. The only way they can actually help themselves is if they dropped the price of the other two systems by $30 and released the new 80Gb at the top. This would most certainly fuel some sales with the new perceived “discount” models.

  2. The 80GB has always been planned, Michi. In fact originally it was to be released with the 60GB version but Sony kept on sighting lack of blu-ray parts on extended delays for both versions. I think in the end they decided to release the 60GB version and then delay the 80GB version till they had secured enough parts.

    I work in a video store and our distributor has always had the 80GB version available for pre order along side the 60GB version.

    Your right about them pricing themselves out of the market though, they are better off selling the console at cost or slightly below cost and bringing in the money through games (aka, micro softs ploy.)

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