This rumor's pretty dubious, but several blogs are reporting that Sony plans to cut the PlayStation 3's price tag by $100 in April. That would put the 80GB PS3 at $300. The source: an analyst at Wedbush Morgan who's also saying that Microsoft will chop $50 off the Xbox 360 Pro around E3 2009 (in June), putting that system at $250.
When it comes to gaming systems, price drops are the equivalent of an economic stimulus plan, and breaking $300 would obviously make the PS3 attractive to a whole new batch of consumers, regardless of poor economic conditions. Price points are price points and things start getting pretty magical when you get under $300 (and in the case of the Xbox 360, $250 is even better).
Naturally, it doesn't take a rocket scientist--or an analyst at an investment firm--to figure any of this out. And giving yourself a nice four-month buffer to predict a price drop doesn't exactly impress. But people love to speculate on this sort of stuff, and with word that Sony will report a big $1.1 billion operating loss for 2007/2008 (its first operating loss in 14 years), the pressure's on Sony to rev up its Playstation 3 franchise for the health of the company and its Blu-ray platform (yes, the PS3 has a built-in Blu-ray player, lest you forgot).
The good news is Sony has a number of highly anticipated exclusive titles coming to the PS3 this year, including Killzone 2, Infamous, Heavy Rain, MAG, God of War 3, Uncharted 2, and MLB 09: The Show. Combine that with a $100 price cut and the PS3 should get a nice jumpstart--whenever it comes. But nothing's a given these days and clearly Sony has to balance taking a loss on the hardware to spur profits on the software (game) side.
Is $300 a magic price point for the PS3? As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts.
Note: After this story posted, Sony reps called to tell me that the company had no plans for a price drop and that the Wedbush Morgan analyst's speculation was based on his own conjecturing, nothing more.