Has it finally happened? Has Sony finally found the solution to its year-long Playstation 3 problem? It certainly looks that way.
According to the company, Sony has cut its software development kit prices in half to $10,250 in North America, $8,600 in Japan and $11,250 in Europe. And while this may not mean much to some, to me it indicates a startling change of course by a company that had heretofore lost sight of what is important in this generation.
And although I've beaten on Sony quite a bit on Digital Home, this change in policy -- namely, price reduction -- could spell trouble for both Microsoft and Nintendo.
Reducing the price of a software development kit is immensely important to the survival of the Playstation 3. So far, Sony has been desperately trying to court developers to make games for the console and has been generally unsuccessful in doing so. And while this can be attributed to more factors than the cost of the software development kit, it certainly makes it much easier for developers to jump into the world of Playstation 3 game development.
But perhaps the most important development stemming from the price cut is the ability for independent game studios to more readily create games for the PS3.
In fact, Game Development Association of Australia CEO Greg Bondar indicated that Sony's move would allow smaller software developers to be more competitive in the game industry.
"A lot of the larger, established studios can get into it, even they find it cost prohibitive, but in general it now gives us and our members a broader base of access to such technology and opportunity to develop. I think it has been a prohibitive factor," Bondar said.
As I've mentioned many times before, hardware does not sell consoles. Instead, a steady stream of good games will make any person go to the store and plunk down $399 or $499 for a console. And now that smaller game studios may be able to enter this market, Sony has created an environment that is conducive to innovative game development.
But the story doesn't quite end there. Sony's dual-pronged attack on pricing should be extremely effective. Aside from a reduced cost to developers, the company's decision to drop the price of the Playstation 3 to a more competitive level was a welcome move.
In effect, Sony has finally realized that success in the gaming industry does not rely on a highly advanced machine that has very few games to play on it. First and foremost, people buy consoles to play games -- it's as simple as that.
And for the first time since its release, the PS3 is no longer just a multimedia device, it's a full-fledged gaming machine that will appeal to the two most important facets in the gaming industry -- developers and consumers.
And while I'm still suspect of its motives, Sony is well on its way to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry. And if it continues to push the right buttons and create a compelling reason for consumers to buy the console, look for Sony to become the leader in this industry once again.