Sony needs a Wii

Both Sony and Nintendo have announced the price of their forthcoming games consoles: the PS3 will be a “Holy crap! You’re kidding!” £425, while the Wii will cost $249 in the US (so I’d assume well under £200 over here). Meanwhile Xbox 360s are currently selling at £279 for the premium system and £209 for the core system, and that’s bound to drop before Xmas. Which makes me wonder: what the hell is Sony playing at?

Yes, the PS3 is impressive, on paper at least. Yes, there’s a rabid fanbase of PS2 owners. But come Christmas, there’ll be oodles of Xbox 360 games, a stack of Wii games, and about three PS3 games; there’s bound to be PS3 shortages, and that will no doubt lead to retailers taking the piss by only offering bundles. So you’ll have a choice: an overpriced PS3 bundle with a few lacklustre games (and by “overpriced” I mean “overpriced compared to the overpriced PS3 itself”), or for the same cash you’ll be able to get a 360, Halo 3 (possibly), a Nintendo and a few games for that as well. Hmm, tough choice.

Maybe Blu-ray drives offer something utterly amazing, so compelling that games developers will prefer PS3 development to Xbox or Wii development. But I suspect not . Faced with the choice of developing for a next-gen console that’s hugely expensive and won’t be widely adopted for ages, or for a much cheaper console that’s already in millions of homes, making PS3-exclusive games might not be the smartest strategy.

I really wonder about Sony sometimes. From Super Audio CD to its bone-headed refusal to make MP3 players that support MP3, and now its insistence of bundling Blu-Ray to put the cost of a PS3 into orbit, it’s like watching a very slow corporate suicide.