When Sony acknowledged the existence of the PlayStation 3 Slim model in August – and revealed that it would significantly decrease prices across its console range – the gaming market was thrust into a console pricing war.
Both Nintendo and Microsoft have now responded by reducing pricing on their respective consoles and announcing new bundle packages to be released in time for the holiday season.
Below is an explanation of what has changed within the console market in the last month.
PlayStation 3 (Sony)
Sony’s announcement in late August that its’ new PlayStation 3 Slim would retail for $250, and that prices on the 80GB and 160GB standard models would be reduced by $100 respectively, was the spark that started a pricing battle within the market which has come to benefit consumers.
Kazuo Hirai, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment recently revealed that the company has now sold one million PS3 Slim units in three weeks. This resulted in significant increases in year on year sales figures in selected territories – most noticeably in the USA which posted a 300% year on year increase in PS3 sales.
To capitalise on this Sony has confirmed that it will be shipping a series of PS3 bundles featuring 250GB hard drives (the standard is 80GB and 120GB). These bundles will feature a number of PS3 exclusive games including infamous and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
In addition to this Sony is releasing new motion control hardware for the PS3 in 2010 which, according to the company, will feature some of the most advanced motion control capabilities in the world.
The PS3 also has a number of exclusive titles due for release in the coming months. These include Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Gran Turismo 5 and God of War III.
Locally the PS3 Slim is available at selected outlets for roughly R3 800, although stock levels are currently low due to high demand. Retailers have been slow to implement the standard console price cut, some of which are still selling for between R5 000 – R6 000.
Xbox 360 (Microsoft)
In response to Sony’s price cuts and new announcements Microsoft has also unveiled several price cuts to its Xbox 360 packages.
The Xbox 360 Elite package, which features a 120GB hard drive, saw an international decrease of $100 which brings it in line with the pricing of Sony’s standard 80GB PS3. The Pro package, which features a 60GB hard drive, saw an international decrease of $50 which brings it in line with Sony’s PS3 Slim.
Microsoft has also acknowledged that it will be releasing a new ‘super elite’ package which will feature two wireless controllers and an Elite console with a 250GB hard drive. This will retail locally for roughly R4 200. In addition a Forza 3 Elite bundle will be released locally for R4 999.
Like the PS3, the Xbox 360 will also receive motion control capabilities in 2010 in Project Natal.
According to My Gaming the Xbox Elite package is currently available locally for roughly R3 400, which is in line with the international suggested retail price. The Xbox 360 Pro package differs in pricing between retailers but is currently available at BT Games for R3 000 while stocks last.
The Xbox 360 also has a number of console exclusive titles which will become available in the coming months. These include Forza 3, Left 4 Dead 2 and Halo: ODST.
Nintendo has been the last of the console manufacturers to respond to Sony’s price cuts, announcing yesterday that the console would be cut from $250 to $200 internationally.
The official Nintendo distributors in South Africa, The Core Group, have confirmed with MyGaming that the Wii will be available for R2 499 in South Africa. This is R200 less than the console cost when it was released in 2007.
The Wii package will not feature any new bundles or capabilities. Nintendo has however recently revamped its offering by including Wii Sports Resort as the standard game that ships with the console instead of Wii Sports.
It remains the strongest selling current generation console worldwide, having captured the casual gaming market. To date Nintendo has sold over fifty million Wii consoles worldwide.
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