Sony's announcement of the PlayStation 3 Slim and a price cut to $299 has most pundits high on the company. None of them doubt that Sony will be able to push more PS3s for the rest of 2009 -- it's just a question of how many the company can sell. As for its competitors at Microsoft and Nintendo, analysts believe that a price cut is on the way for the former and the latter needs to shake things up. Gamasutra recently spoke with some of gaming's top analysts and scored some interesting information on Microsoft and Nintendo.
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter believes that an Xbox 360 price cut will hit this fall, depending on current sales. He said, "Last year, they sold around the same 240,000 per month, so if they see sales drop to 150,000 or below, I think that they will likely respond with a $50 cut in mid-November." EEDAR's Jesse Divnich believes that an announcement will come much sooner, but it won't be a straight cut. He's of the opinion that the Xbox 360 Pro SKU will be eliminated, with the Elite falling to $299. Divnich said, "It is no different from Lexus introducing their 2010 models at the 2009 prices and clearing out their 2009 inventories."
Nintendo is in a tougher position than Microsoft. While consumers can argue (and they will) about the value of the PS3 Slim vs. the Xbox 360 Elite (if both are at $299), the Wii looks like a comparatively poor deal at $250. Divnich said, "While the target audience for the two platforms varies greatly, some consumers will face a tough decision to purchase the Wii with outdated processing power or the PlayStation 3 with a built-in Blu-Ray player. However, the market size of those actually debating between a PlayStation 3 and a Nintendo Wii is relatively small." Pachter believes that tough times are ahead for Nintendo, "I think that they may see sales suffer, and certainly will see sales down year-over-year."
Obviously, the console wars have gotten a hell of a lot more interesting. I can't wait to see the September 2009 NPD numbers. Will Sony charge ahead? Will Microsoft hold steady? Is Nintendo prepping for a big dive? With one more major tradeshow slated next month (Tokyo Game Show), it's too soon to tell. Microsoft and Nintendo still have time to make aggressive moves that can position its consoles well for the holiday rush.
Still, it's fun to speculate. Any prediction on how Microsoft and Nintendo will react to Sony's price cut?