SCE Australia boss on the 40GB PS3

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia and New Zealand managing director Michael Ephraim on the new 40GB PS3 model, discontinuing the 60GB version, and copping flak from gamers.

by

Sony AU managing director Michael Ephraim.

Sony has recently confirmed its PlayStation 3 plans in Australia. The 60GB model is being discontinued, with the newly introduced 40GB version the only one available for the foreseeable future. GameSpot AU chatted with Sony Computer Entertainment Australia and New Zealand managing director Michael Ephraim on why the company decided to introduce a brand-new retail unit, what flak he's expecting from gamers, and how much of an impact he expects the new 40GB model will make on PS3 sales.

GameSpot AU: Why bring in a new 40GB model to Australia?

Michael Ephraim: Clearly the 40GB model is to bring the cost down and bring in a price point that we can expand the market going into Christmas.

GS AU: So how will this affect sales?

ME: I'm very confident that if you talk to any retailer we're involved with, that they're ecstatic about the announcement--they're unanimous that this will give it a real kick along.

GS AU: Do you want to quantify what effect it will have?

ME: I'd rather not go out on a limb and try to do crystal-ball gazing. But we have a predetermined amount that we want to sell before Christmas which we think we'll achieve, but it's not something I want to make public right now. We're sitting at 83,000 units install base, and by the end of the year we should come very close [to] or exceed that number in this quarter. So that gives you an idea of what we want to do. We're confident that this new price point and the introduction of some great new games like Uncharted and our Haze exclusive from Ubisoft will basically tick two boxes: price and range of software. Both of those will be addressed this quarter.

GS AU: So what is it about the 40GB PS3 that does not allow it to play PS2 games?

ME: I'm not technologically versed, but my understanding is there's no PS2 chip in there which was removed when we talked about software emulation, and that software emulation program is not in there. The decision in this is that we've really done a lot of research, and the PS3 is such an advanced technological product that the people who are buying it now are enjoying all the other applications--games in HD, movies in HD--that the issue of backward compatibility on PS2 hasn't really hit the Richter Scale. These people are enjoying new technology. A lot of people have also commented that there are 2.4 million PS2s in Australian homes--if you want to play a PS2 game then you can play it on a PS2, and I don't want to be cynical or rude about that. But if you think about what the PS3 offers, there are so many functions to keep the consumer happy and busy that backward compatibility is not high on their agenda.

GS AU: So this decision to remove backward compatibility is from research Sony has done of what people do after they get their PS3 at home?

ME: Exactly. And the PS3 has so many new "wow" factors that people are enjoying those and not going back to the PS2 games.

GS AU: Do you still expect to cop flak from gamers out there, though?

ME: To be honest, no matter what we do we cop flak. We seem to be copping flak on just about everything we do. What we just have to say on that is, if you look at the sales figures, we've done 82,000 PS3s since launch in March 07. Nintendo Wii has sold 168,000 units since December 2006. And Microsoft's Xbox 360 has sold 222,000 units, but they launched March 2006. When you look at that--83,000 units at a price that everyone said was expensive--that's a very solid result. We think now that with the price reduction, we're going to come very close [to] if not exceed doubling that number by the end of this year.

We got flak about the price, but if you look at dollar value we're ahead of the other next-generation consoles, especially when you look at 82,000 PS3s at a A$1000 versus Nintendo Wii's 168,000 units at A$400. We've copped flak about the price, but the product is still selling extremely well. We copped flak about putting in new technology such as Blu-ray, and we think that will resolve itself when high-definition and Blu-ray becomes a standard. We'll probably cop flak about backward compatibility, but as we sell more PS3s, people will come back and say, you know what, at the end of the day it didn't really matter.

We will cop flak, but we have to take that on the chin, because we believe the PS3 product will prove that the vision was correct. Whenever you have a new item that is establishing new boundaries in entertainment, you're going to cop flak. If you look at the price point of the PS3 now, I cannot bring myself to compare the PS3 and the Wii. Although they're both next-gen systems, one has taken a right turn and one has taken a left turn--it's like comparing apples and nuclear bombs. Nintendo Wii should be compared with PlayStation 2 for the functionality, the experience, and the demographic it appeals to. Consumers in that space will compare between a PS2 and a Wii, not a Wii and a PS3--they're just completely different animals.

GS AU: So what will happen to the 60GB PS3 model here in Australia?

ME: The 60GB model--with what stock we have left in trade--will be phased out, and the 40GB model is what we'll be supplying stores with going into Christmas and the new year.

GS AU: So once current 60GB stocks are depleted there will only be one SKU--40GB--left?

ME: There will be one SKU--40GB. And any de-speccing of the unit we've done on PS3--except for backwards compatibility--can be upgraded by the consumer very easily. If you want portable media slots, you can buy USB adaptors. You can increase your hard drive or use an external hard drive, and you can also use USB port extensions. We haven't taken any applications away--we've just reduced the capability of the machine in those areas, but people can upgrade if they want to use that functionality more.

GS AU: So Australians won't see a price drop or a new bundle package that UK consumers received on the 60GB model?

ME: We've already done that--that's the starter pack that's been running out there that has Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm, and a second controller.

GS AU: So that will be ongoing?

ME: Yes. That offer is out there as long as there are 60GB units out there. Once that fades away the 40GB will be the only SKU.

GS AU: Care to make a guess how long the 60GB model will last in the channel?

ME: There are very limited stocks. I would say 20-30 percent of retail stores have them in stock right now. That was always part of our plan to transition smoothly to a new SKU.

GS AU: Michael Ephraim, thanks for your time.

Discussion

74 comments
Al3x_n90
Al3x_n90

to bad the 40 gb ps3 doesn't have a memory card reader....

thrushbeard
thrushbeard

Apparently according to the Sony NZ site you also lose the ability to use the PS3 as a SACD player as well.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@ livinglegend305: Ofcourse Sony can#'t please everyone if they don't try. They could have the 60gb stay in production but they don't, doing that I'd be very happy as if I got a PS3 I'd want BC so I can get rid of my PS2. Why do they have to try and rush people into buying the console by making them limited in supply just becuase they are cheap?

ChinoJamesKeene
ChinoJamesKeene

I think they dropped backwards compat because they removed the memory card reader. That and i think they can scale back investment in making the entire library of ps2 games softemulatable on the euro/PAL version on the PS3. The Americans and Japanese have emotion engines in built into their SKU so its hardware based. But anyhow, People complained about having to buy Blu-ray players but they weren't complaining about buying PS2's again in the whole package. I think they should have just done this version to begin with, plus the Dual Shock 3.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

vote-quimby - Indeed. Nintendo makes money on hardware sales, and MS is a few months away from profitability thanks to software licencing (360 owners buy lots of games). What does Sony have?

livinglegend305
livinglegend305

if the gamers want BC then puchase the 60 gigs. there are still supplies left..sony cant please everyone

bennae66
bennae66

apologies to everyone who was offended by or disagree with my previous rant. i do that sometimes, feel free to ban or report me if i get a little out of hand with these things. some things one needs to just get off thier chest and forums unfortunatley are a good outlet for these things.

bennae66
bennae66

considering my ps2 broke prematurley over 3 yrs ago, i have kept my gun games for it (not really any available for xbox, ps3, 360) for when i eventually get a ps3 i will finally be able to play virtua cop and time crisis 3 again without the need for ANOTHER ps2 purchase just for those. it seems yet another feature dropped from the ps3. it went from expensive 60gb with emotion engine and rumble (originally scheduled). to expensive emotion engine with no rumble. to expensive no emotion engine and no rumble. to overpriced no emtion engine, no rumble and smaller hard drive. oh but wait; they will release a separate rumble controller again later! everyone upgrade your existing controllers... my god at this rate i will NEVER buy one. sorry sony, you stuffed it up one too many times. i may as well throw my ps2 games in the bin and play halo and mass effect. this news has pi*&ed me off since i actually was going to get one.

everlast219
everlast219

I don't understand why they can't hav backwards compatability if its meant to be done in software anyway. If the emulation has been done in software, then why can't they just include the software with the 40gb model!? if its in other models then they must hav already coded this software and it must work. if the 40gb model is no different except for hd size, then why cant they jst include the software? are they just 'trying' to piss ppl off??? lol

finalsquall76
finalsquall76

I must admit, I don't play ps2 games much. I just want more ps3 games. The only ps2 games I'm playing is ones I need to finish. So I think once more ps3 games do come out, people will won't mind the absence of no BC. imo or anyone else who agrees :P

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

"scrapking" you're right as of now that HD-DVD beats Blu-ray thanks to its ability to provide interactive features. But you won't be right for too long. Once BD Java becomes standard in all Blu-ray players, what advantage HD-DVD had will be negated. Thus bringing this format war back to square one. Also your argument about HDD space is completely unnecessary. Since you can upgrade the HDD for both platforms. Need more space, get a better HDD. I have no idea why you even brought it up.

super_tails
super_tails

Ha. I found it rather humorous that the SCE boss of Australia assumed people want to experience the 'new' (and I use that word very loosely) technology that the PS3 has to offer. Sony are simply digging themselves into an even larger hole by releasing this downgraded console on the market. The complete lack of backwards compatibility is crazy talk. The Wii has done VERY well on it's virtual console side excluding it's easy to use interface. *Ends Rant*

bacchus2
bacchus2

Nintendorocks said: That sucks for Austrailia, only having the 40 GB. Sony should bring the 80 GB to Austrailia, also. They will... eventually

Marka1700
Marka1700

The 40GB model is a good idea, but removing the 60GB model from the market is a bad idea. Some poeple do care about reverse compatability. I for one would like to upscale my ps2 games.

vote-quimby
vote-quimby

I love how he tries to trumpet up the dollar value of the units sold. Sure, at $1000 a pop Sony has taken in more money than Nintendo. But he seems to forget Sony is losing money on every unit while Nintendo is making a profit on each unit. You gotta love PR spin.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Translation: Our system's so damned expensive and there's so little out that we need to stem the bleeding. If cutting BC makes it less expensive, so be it. It won't sell well anyway, but at least we won't lose as much.

Cult_of_Cthulhu
Cult_of_Cthulhu

oh and I just got the email from Sony the price will be $699 still more than I can import an 80gig version from the US ( yeah I know 110V and all but pluease more for less? forget it Sony)

Cult_of_Cthulhu
Cult_of_Cthulhu

next step Michael Ephraim" Well we wanted to be really competative so we've started putting PS2 units instead of PS3 in the box, plus we've packaged it with some games that you can get off ebay or what not for about $30, and we've reduced the price point to just $499, because we heard thats what you all want guys, guys?"

Fists1
Fists1

Price is Au$699 and im deffinetly glad that i have the 60GB if only they had a little more of the emulation software. is there any way to install your own emotion chip?

qubeley
qubeley

That sucks big time. Sony just think that they can decide what their customers can and cannot play. Now more determined not to get a PS3

Zeigfried590
Zeigfried590

Randolph Ramsay, why didn't you ask the MOST important question?? How much will the new 40GB PS3 actually cost?? Only once we know how much it costs can we say it's good/bad value for money.

ali_388
ali_388

i was going to buy the 60 gb in chrismis dam uuuu sony why cant you be more like the sony in amirica and just releese all of them myby your to cheep look your year is 08 plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz dont do this

ali_388
ali_388

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@ KamuiFei: So how was the price and BC fixed? BC is getting worse (soon to be the only model in europe, the 40gb PS3 doesn't even have BC) and the console is also the most expensive. Then the PR was never sorted, there still isn't enough good games (how many 9.0 or more games can you name on the PS3?) and the bad PR was never apologized for. The only thing Sony has corrected is the pads which 1 year later they finally bring out the dual shock 3 (which by there own statement is last gen tech since they dissed the rumble feature to hype there failing motion sensing technology) and the price is somewhat better but considering thats mostly due to the fact that they are stripping down and selling out of production consoles it's not really a proper price cut. There will also always be fanboys, get your head out of your butt and just look at it objectively. The PS3 is losing BC which is very important and was touted from day 1 by Sony to the point where they would slag MS off for not having full BC but now they're backtracking. Just the same as they backtracked on the pads and soon they will backtrack on something else most likely.

W3A53L
W3A53L

"it's like comparing apples and nuclear bombs" "Nintendo Wii should be compared with PlayStation 2 ... for the demographic it appeals to" Wait, so did he just openly say that the PS3 has decided to ignore the very demographic that made the PS2 by far the most successful last generation console... and now made the Wii such a success. I suppose this would explain why they think backward compatibility is unneeded

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

I agree...people will find fault in everything Sony does because of a few mistakes, even if they are fixed or improved. There will always be whiners and haters.

knicknut17
knicknut17

I think taking out the PS2 backwards compatibility is a horrible move. Then again, they are doing this because they will probably drop the price of the PS2 down even farther. Their idea is that, if you want to play PS2 games, buy another PS2...Sneaky mo fos.

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

That sucks for Austrailia, only having the 40 GB. Sony should bring the 80 GB to Austrailia, also.

brucies_bubbles
brucies_bubbles

Sorry, but the only PS3 games I have played recently on my PS3 were demos. And most were boring. People will pay anything as long as there are the games.

Xaovagon
Xaovagon

@ 4esth where did you seriously get the Beta for Home at?????.

Xaovagon
Xaovagon

Riiiiiiiiidddddggggeee Racccceeeeeeerrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!! and the... GIANT ENEMY CRAB

kinglink2
kinglink2

Nice damage control but there's too many holes in his arguements. Every company has to deal with flak, but Sony's flak seems to be because sony doesn't even use their minds and just generally insults the intelligence of the consumers. I mean I read this as "we'll lower the price but we'll take away USB ports, your backwards compatibility and stop making the better model!" Wow thanks.

scrapking
scrapking

When comparing costs of the 360 w/20GB drive versus a PS3 w/40GB drive, keep in mind that PS3 games require installation and extensive caching off the drive (due to the PS3's Blu-Ray drive being inadequately slow) whereas 360 games don't need near as much space for such activities due to it's much faster (both seek and transfer) DVD-ROM drive. Once you own a decent assortment of games, a 40GB PS3 is pretty close to a 20GB 360 in total usable space left over. And Blu-Ray being a selling point requires you to A) have an HDTV, and B) be willing to live with Blu-Ray's less advanced (at least at this point) interactivity versus HD DVD. Which after seeing Blood Diamond and 300 on HD DVD, I wouldn't be willing to do. Great picture and audio quality is only half of what is necessary to have a great next-gen DVD experience, great interactivity and special features is the other half and thus far HD DVD has absolutely beat the pants off Blu-Ray in this regard. I understand that HD DVD is less of a player in Australia at this point because it came late to the party there, but I live in Canada where it is very much a strong contender.

Medicine_Man
Medicine_Man

People b!tch about the price..so sony gives you a $400.00 version that still has the blu-ray player and a 40 gig hard drive. Still better then a 360 pro, if you are looking at it from a cost standpoint.. But instead peaople still b!tch cause they now have no BC in the 40 gig $400.00 version.. Some a'ssholes will never be happy. Seems to me, its like one of thos slot machines in vagas that gives away cars, folks can win a car for a quarter ...but they will still b!tch when they have to pay taxes.. Christ, I sware some of the fan boys on here buy ps3's just to take it out of the box and piss on it.

Romanticide
Romanticide

GIANT ENEMY CRAB. This console was doomed from the start.

eayoshi
eayoshi

Sounds to me like the same 'non-consumer friendly component-based' and 'lack of true backwards-compatibility' strategy they were ripping MS's XBOX360 a new hole about is exactly what they're reverting to.

Simsyas
Simsyas

"To be honest, no matter what we do we cop flak. We seem to be copping flak on just about everything we do." At least they admit it. =]

TheWakeUpCall
TheWakeUpCall

I think they should have left software emu of the ps2 games in tbh, they had nothing to gain from taking it out.

FlareKnights
FlareKnights

Guess I'm glad now I picked up a 60gig early and can still use BC. Honestly played by favorites from the original Playstation on the PS2 and now on the PS3. One thing I really liked was the ability to play my favorites from various generations on one system. Still playing more PS2 games right now than PS3. Don't think it's a great choice they are making to take it out. Oh well will just enjoy my PS2 games and be happy I've got the PS3 that can handle it.

xxxarlow
xxxarlow

Gentlemen, can you please leave the matchmaking to either the appropriate forum or Private message each other. Who would of thought this news story would end in love.

pixelsword
pixelsword

@aesth: Do you play Warhawk? I do, and I'm going to be on I think around 6 pm EST. If not, I also have Resistance, and Motorstorm that I play on, I don't play the rest of my games online, I pretty much like these games online.

cf2012
cf2012

I have the 60gig with bc and i played maybe 2 ps2 games. Its time to move on people. Who cares about bc.

4esth
4esth

pixelsword: Gump619

pixelsword
pixelsword

@ 4esth: You're in the Beta? What's your PSN?

4esth
4esth

"ME: Exactly. And the PS3 has so many new "wow" factors that people are enjoying those and not going back to the PS2 games. " Where are these wow factors because I'm still playing final fantasy, god of war, and other PS2 games on my ps3. Home (at least the beta so far) sucks and doesn't offer enough for me to be wowed. I'm wondering what else besides their two hour long heavenly sword is there to wow me and keep me from playing my ps2 games? I think they let an intern do their research.

Warfust
Warfust

Holy crap talk about putting both feet in your mouth. #1 - Not listening to gamers who demand BC, as well as backing off of touting it as a core driving force. #2 - Comparing the PS2 demographic to the Wii one, now there is a way to move your product! Tell everyone that your old customer base is more suited to the Wii than the PS3!!

xxxarlow
xxxarlow

"Compared to PlayStation, the hardware was difficult to work with because of its more complex graphics hardware and lesser overall performance, as noted by Lobotomy Software programmer Ezra Dreisbach.[3] In order to bring Duke Nukem 3D and Powerslave to Saturn, Lobotomy Software had to rewrite the Build engine almost entirely from scratch to get adequate performance from Saturn.[3] And during testing of an unreleased Quake port for PlayStation, Saturn's performance was found to be notably inferior for the game.[3]" Sega Saturn, Wikipedia Sounds familiar, I'm sure I've heard something like this recently.

pixelsword
pixelsword

As probably the one of the few people on the thread who owns a 60GB PS3 from the first months from Launch, I can tell you that you WON'T be playing your games, even your favorites. It plays well on the PS3, it's just that after you put in your first PS3 game, you don't go back to play. The only games I put on were ones that I wanted to see if the PS3 would upscale them, like Black, and god of war. Yeah, they looked better. W00t. Then I put Lair or Warhawk back in and play for another five or six hours. But I will say this: adding the emulated software wouldn't have been a chore, that would've only been a few more gigs on the hardware, and that's it.

anzagi1
anzagi1

Despite what the constant complainers say, this is a great move in time for Christmas for gamers to get into next gen console gaming at a good price tag. Its a good price tag for the ps3 alone, but including the next gen of movie playback is a great bonus. and ok, you may not want blue ray yet, but when the price of hd tv comes down, get one, you will not be dissapointed! I persoanlly feel sony are making some good decisions at the moment, its going to be a great festive season, with the new skus at a cheaper $, new great games like haze, its all good