Is Sony (SNE) cutting the price of its PS3 in slow-motion?
Two weeks ago, Dell (DELL) offered the PS3 on its website for $340, including shipping, a substantial discount from the console’s standard $400 price tag. Then the sale ended. Now it’s back: Same terms as before, PS3 for $340.
Other PS3 price cut mini-moves: A PS3-Bravia bundle at Best Buy (BBY), and we hear reports Wal-Mart (WMT) is offering a $50 gift card with a PS3 purchase. (Can anyone confirm? We don’t have Wal-Marts in New York City.)
We’re still not sure whether the cuts are coming from Sony’s side or the retailers. Sony traditionally exercises a lot of control over what it allows retailers to charge, and when we asked Sony reps about the Dell deal we never heard back.
It’s good Sony (appears) to have come around to the idea the premium-priced PS3 needs a price cut in a recession, but this is the wrong way to do it.
With these “$50 or $60 off if you act right now!” incentives, Sony might be able to whip up a few additional sales from people who really wanted a PS3 for the holidays and didn’t get one. But big-picture, Sony seriously lags behind the Xbox 360 in sales, and is getting crushed by the Wii.
To use a football metaphor, Sony seems to be making an all-out ground push for another five or six yards, to get a first down and breathing room in the way of remotely respectable January sales figures. But it’s already third quarter and the PS3 is several touchdowns in the hole: Sony needs to throw long with dramatic and permanent price cuts.
UPDATE: An eagle-eyed commenter notes: The PS3 is $50 off at Amazon (AMZN) too. The evidence these small price cuts are a Sony initiative is piling up.
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