How Sony Can Boost PS3 Sales

As this holiday’s video game sales are tallied up, one thing is already clear: As an article in the Wall Street Journal notes, Sony’s PlayStation 3 remains in a fairly distant third place, still eclipsed by Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii. While it’s probably too drastic for Sony to walk away from the PS3, I definitely think they need some bold and creative changes to make their console competitive, namely to acquiesce to market realities while leveraging two underutilized assets. Here’s how:

Release a discounted, broadband-centric model of the PS3 WITHOUT a Blu-ray:
Sony’s high-definition Blu-ray decisively won the standards war, but the market’s been slow to give them a victory parade. For now, the PS3’s Blu-ray player doesn’t seem to be a huge selling point, but for Sony, it’s a huge investment. (Merrill Lynch estimated the Blu-ray will cost the company $100-$350 per unit over the console’s first three years.) The short-term solution is to manufacture a new PS3 line that comes without a Blu-ray. Sony could sell it for considerably less than the current $400 MSRP. While the standard PS3 will still be for sale, this cheaper model (call it “PS3 Net”) could come with several consumer-selected Sony games pre-installed in the hard drive (see below), and take advantage of high-speed broadband, especially in Japan, for downloading games, movies, and other content via the PlayStation Network. (And PS3 Net owners can still buy an external Blu-ray drive later.)


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