Multiple PlayStation 3 SKUs "unlikely"

Sony Europe's Phil Harrison tells GDCE audience multiple models would be "confusing," comments on online plans for PS3, PSP.


When the Xbox 360's dual pricing strategy was revealed on August 17, the reaction was mixed. Many industry watchers considered the hard-drive-free, non-backward-compatible $299 "core system" a gimmick to allow Microsoft to offer the console for the same cost as the Xbox's original price in 2001. Others saw it as a bait and switch, since buyers of the core system will have to shell out $229.95 to get the accessories--a wireless controller ($39.99), hard drive ($99.99), remote control ($29.99), headset ($19.99), and high-definition AV cables ($39.99)--included in the standard $399 Xbox 360 package.

Today, potential purchasers of the PlayStation 3 learned they probably won't be faced with the same dilemma as those pondering the picking up of an Xbox 360. According to British Web site, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe vice president Phil Harrison told the 2005 Game Developers Conference that multiple PS3 SKUs would be "unlikely."

"Are there two versions of the Xbox 360 that people want to buy? I don't know," he said. "I look at those formats. I think it just confuses the audience. They don't know which one to buy, developers don't know which one to create for, and retailers don't know which one to stock... So I think we wouldn't take that strategy. We wouldn't create confusion."

If the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 launches are anything to go by, then the PlayStation 3 will likely launch with the bare minimum of hardware--namely the console and a single controller. It has long been Sony's business model to offer a range of accessories for its consoles for purchase separately, at an added cost to the consumer and an added profit for Sony. There have been a few exceptions to this rule, such as the current PSP Value Pack, which forces purchasers to pay for accessories they might not otherwise want (for example, a 32MB Memory Stick Duo and a cleaning cloth).

However, Harrison was also quick to point out that his statements were his "personal view" and are not the official Sony line on the PS3. He also wouldn't rule anything out, saying, "Exactly what we do with the launch? Too early to tell." He also gently rebuffed a question about the PS3's price point. "It would be foolish of me to make any comments about pricing at this early stage," he said.

The PS3 is expected to launch in spring 2006.

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