I remember first reading Bluff Your Way in Japan in 1992, and one of the bits of the book that stands out in mind is the bit about interpreting answers from the Japanese. “If they say ‘yes’,” said the book, “they actually mean ‘no’. If they say ‘maybe’, they mean ‘yes’. If they say ‘no’, they’re not Japanese.”
If only interpreting statements by vendors was as simple.
On Friday, Sony President Ryoji Chubachi announced that Sony had no plans to cut the price of the Playstation 3. The quote attributed to him is “We have no plans”, and he attempted to dispel concerns about the PS3′s slow start in the market race by citing the slow start of the PS2, which initially had a poor library (some games publishers complained that it was a difficult machine to program), and was expensive for the time.
Later that day, Engadget reported the sighting of a leaked Circuit City circular (say that quickly three times if you can) that showed the PS3 marked down by US$100 to US$499. On Satuday, they reported that some Target stores were also selling PS3s at the reduced rate of US$499.
Today, we have the official announcement from Sony: the PS3 will get a price cut of US$100 to US$499. The reason? They’re introducing a new deluxe model, which comes with an 80GB hard drive (the PS3 currently comes in a “bargain” version with a 20GB hard drive and the “high end” model with a 60GB drive) and a free-but-you-paid-for-it copy of MotorStorm, which will retail for the 60GB unit’s old price, US$599.
In addition to having to deal with that say-one-thing-then-do-the-opposite issue, Sony will also have to rationalize the fact that in a time when even external hard drives, complete with USB interfaces, power supplies and their own packing are cheap like borscht, the additional 20GB for an extra US$100 seems a bit stingy. They’ll also have to contend with the fact that the XBox 360 is still US$100 cheaper, has a better library, a well-established online system and a lot of momentum.