Yes, the PS3 is très expsensif . But let’s get to the heart of the issue: why ? Does Sony just enjoy having a console priced out of reach for mere mortals, or is there something more to it than that.
Joystiq’s Christopher Grant has posted a piece about how the PS3 got to be $600, and it’s worth a look, if for nothing other than curiosity. Grant points to two specific components whose development was done primarily by Sony: the Cell processor and Blu-Ray.
We already knew that Blu-Ray was going to be expensive, and some have pointed out that the PS3 at $600 is going to be around $400 less than competing Blu-Ray only players; so you get a game machine and a Blu-Ray player for just over half the price of a Blu-Ray player alone. In that sense, not a bad deal.
Grant goes on to quote Slate’s Tim Harford, who wondered in the days after the Xbox 360’s release why Microsoft wasn’t charging more, since due to the scarcity of 360s, they were regularly going for well above retail price on EBay. Will we see a repeat of this phenomenon when the release of the PS3 comes nigh, or will the high initial pricetag scare off gamers? I would be unsurprised to see either eventuality, come November.