Price War!
May 14, 2002 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Price War! Pre-empting a similiar expected price cut by Microsoft, PS2 price will be cut by $100.00, while Nintendo refuses to jump into the fray. Sony so far has shipped 30 million PlayStation 2 units worldwide and 7.9 million in the U.S. (@$299=9,000,000,000). With today's price cut Sony hopes to expand its U.S. market base by another 8 or 9 million units. If you've been holding back is this enough incentive to get onboard?
posted by Mack Twain (40 comments total)
dang, i already got a ps2. but i like the price cut on the memory cards and controllers, and i think this is a smart marketing move, pre-empting Msoft's inevitable cut at e3.

the gamecube cut i imagine will be to $149 in the fall, which is what i'm waiting for there.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 12:43 PM on May 14, 2002

To be honest, yes. I like games but I'm not a gamer, so a $200 DVD with video game capability sounds great.

Anyone have hard numbers on how much the Xbox has sold? I posted a few weeks back about their horrid numbers in Japan, but does anyone know the overall numbers?
posted by jragon at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2002

I have been holding out for this special day. However, with the start of summer, a PS2 is the worst purchase to make right now. I think I'll use that $200 for a digital camera instead. I'm also curious to see how much the X-Box will be discounted.
posted by Werd7 at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2002

I love my ps2! It was worth $300 to me and $200 is almost low enough to get me to buy one for the anklebiters.
posted by revbrian at 1:02 PM on May 14, 2002

dang, i already got a ps2

Word! I got one a little over a month ago, at $299...go figure. Same thing happened to me with my Game Boy Advance: a couple weeks after I bought it at full price, they dropped it to $69. Bleh.
The really cool thing about this is that software seems to be cheaper now, too. They're selling THPS3 and Soul Reaver 2 for $25 each at my local Kaybee! The ps2 Greatest Hits series is growing, too...we might even see Grand Theft Auto 3 in there by the end of the summer (criteria for greatest hits status = 400,000 units sold, on the market for at least 9 months)

It ain't a bad time to be a console dork right now :)
posted by andnbsp at 1:06 PM on May 14, 2002

If you've been holding back is this enough incentive to get onboard?

Nope. I haven't had one of these time/brain wasters since I was a kid. I'm better off (not to mention a little less poor) for it.
posted by plaino at 1:12 PM on May 14, 2002

MS cut the X-Box from £299 to £199 within weeks of launch in the UK, compensating poor suckers who bought at launch with a £100 games voucher. It's not been selling: a few weeks ago, more Dreamcasts were sold in Japan than X-Boxes. I smell panic.
posted by riviera at 1:18 PM on May 14, 2002

jragon, most analysts peg the US sales of Xbox domestically at about 2 million units sold through March 31, and as far as i know they still haven't sold all of the 250,000 units they shipped for the japanese launch. as for europe + elsewhere, i don't know what the hard numbers are like there but Msoft did scale their overall projections for the year back from the 6 million units they thought they'd move to 4.5-5 million just recently.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 1:18 PM on May 14, 2002

Nintendo seems to be making the right step in online gaming. They're going to sell modems and broadband adapters for cheap, but Nintendo won't operate its own online gaming service. Instead, it will encourage game developers to operate online games. And Nintendo won't demand royalties for online gaming. I have a feeling that game developers will prefer Nintendo's online model, and Nintendo will prevail.

Also, although my family doesn't have a game console, my 5-year-old wants a Gamecube. He and I looked at a side-by-side-by-side XBox, Gamecube and PS2 at an electronics store, and to my utter surprise, I thought the Gamecube had better graphics. Kinda weird, since the other guys have more powerful processors.
posted by Holden at 1:33 PM on May 14, 2002

time/brain wasters

Eh, not completely. Everything in moderation, right? Don't be such a hata, yo :)

Besides, I'd say a good game like Final Fantasy X is loads more intelligent than your average night of prime-time television.

As far as poor Xbox sales go, could it be because it's a huge, inelegantly designed lump of plastic with no must-have exclusive games? Xbox stuff sure is pretty, but gameplay for "xbox only" titles has been less than compelling, w/the exception of jet grind radio future. It's certainly too early to tell now, but if what we've seen with prevoius generations holds true and the market won't support more than two major consoles, I wouldn't be suprised if the GameCube and ps2 emerge as the top dogs in the end, based on the strength of their exclusive titles/franchises/developers/etc.

Also, ps2 Linux is gonna be dope. Shrewd move on Sony's part: when they release that beast, they're basically gonna get an army of volunteer R&D workers playing around with the machine's networking capabilities. Imagine Microsoft releasing an open-source version of Windows and full technical documentation for the Xbox. Haw!
posted by andnbsp at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2002

yes, yes, yes, oh god yes.

I've been waiting for the prices to come down to get one.
posted by mathowie at 1:50 PM on May 14, 2002

compensating poor suckers who bought at launch with a £100 games voucher

The actual compensation was 2 games and an Xbox Controller.

posted by john_son at 1:51 PM on May 14, 2002

I stand corrected. Then again, I spent an hour in the pub laughing at my mate, who'd bought his at midnight on launch night in London.
posted by riviera at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2002

Dammit. I bought a PS2 about a month ago. If only I had waited.

Of course, if I had waited, I couldn't have been playing SSX Tricky all this time! Mmm...Tricky...
posted by Danelope at 2:07 PM on May 14, 2002

Hey Danelope, call your mom into the room so she can see how good you are!
posted by muta at 2:25 PM on May 14, 2002

Nintendo have been very smart, in my opinion. Microsoft and Sony have these great visions of the console as being part of some integrated entertainment system. Nintendo think it's just a box to play games on.

I'm not sure if I'm going to get any of them yet. My PC is good for a couple of years yet, and I've recently picked up a few oldies for between £5 and £10 each. They should keep me going for at least the nest year.. I only bought a PSX when it was reduced to £80, but I definitely got my money's worth out of it. In fact, I've just bought Syphon Filter 2 and ISS Pro Evolution second hand, so there's life in the old dog yet.

andnbsp: I'd say Halo seems to be the killer game for the XBox right now.
posted by salmacis at 2:32 PM on May 14, 2002

Nintendo won't opt for a gaming network. As chronicled in David Sheff's Game Over, they tried that in the 1980s, even pitching the idea of a Family Computer Network to stock analysts. The idea back then failed miserably. Nintendo is a company built upon tradition and it has learned remarkably from its mistakes.

But I must say that, having not purchased a console since the Nintendo 64, this new price offers a compelling reason to buy one. This is probably Sony's smartest move yet. Like Henry Ford fixing the Model T at a price that everyone can afford, Sony is pulling the same tactic with the PS2.
posted by ed at 2:35 PM on May 14, 2002

rumor: Nintendo will drop UK Gamecube price to £129
rumor: Microsoft will drop UK Xbox price even lower (than £199) in order to "stay competitive"
posted by none at 2:35 PM on May 14, 2002

"Who needs teeth anyway?"

I dunno about GTA3 becoming a Greatest Hit just yet: it's long since met the 400k mark, but I think they'll wait until it stops selling at $49.99. Buy it now. You'll have forgotten you paid full price 15 minutes after you get home.

I have to admit I'm hoping for the X-Box to follow suit and drop to $199. "[N]o must-have exclusive games"? I'd have Jet Grind Radio Future and Cel Damage if they existed for the PS2. Maybe Project Gotham too.

Can we drop the idea that no one's buying an X-Box because of the design? I have an Atari 2600 and an original Nintendo you should take a look at.
posted by yerfatma at 2:35 PM on May 14, 2002

Speaking of the Xbox in the UK, is the official launch site. It also hosts some of the most bizarre commercial ads I've ever seen. (If you'd rather not register: champagne (with generic warning for strong content), and mosquito)
posted by samsara at 2:58 PM on May 14, 2002

I got a PS2 with Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy X, SSX Tricky and GTA3 a coupla months back, with a few extra bits to let me play imports and fix the DVD (get a good cable to remove the green screening if you don't want a chip - about a tenner and the colour becomes as good as any DVD player I've seen).

A master system emulator was released a little while back, and a SNES one is nearly complete.. As well as other sundries such as a DivX player.. All with homebrewed libs - what'll happen when the Linux kit comes out? Hmm..

I'm actually kinda tempted to get a Dreamcast still - you can pick one up for about £40 with Soul Calibur - and you can play VCDs and MP3s on the damn thing (something Sony appear to have neglected for the PS2, damn..).

Now, back to Tekken 4 and Virtua Fighter 4.. Good games = good sales..
posted by Mossy at 4:47 PM on May 14, 2002

rumor: Nintendo will drop UK Gamecube price to £129
rumor: Microsoft will drop UK Xbox price even lower (than £199)

OK, the current x-box rumour (based on a pre-print of a wal-mart ad) is $199 at E3, with other markets expected to match the nearest price point after conversion.

So the UK x-box could well drop to £150. However, by the time they get there, Sony will almost certainly already be at that price point. In the UK that is. They've already beaten them to it in the US.

Game cube looks like $150 at E3, so £100 within a month or two. Maybe £125.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:09 PM on May 14, 2002

I'd also like to point out that Microsoft isn't trying to compete with Nintendo (they can't, they don't have Miyamoto). They're really out to get Sony, after the PS2 was talked up as a digital entertainment hub.

Good stuff in here.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:16 PM on May 14, 2002

If you've been holding back is this enough incentive to get onboard?

hell yes.
posted by juv3nal at 6:07 PM on May 14, 2002

With the price drop, I've seemed to convince my parents that they need a dvd player/ game system for their new 35" tv. I can't wait to get back home for the summer.
posted by ewwgene at 7:16 PM on May 14, 2002

Tip for fellow MeFi cheapskates: don't wait for the prices to drop on new video games. Wait a month or three and buy them used at Blockbuster when they clear out all of those extra "In stock guaranteed" copies after the game cools off a bit. Just picked up State of Emergency for half price that way, and spotted GTA3 for $29.99.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:12 PM on May 14, 2002

Yep. Three guesses what I'm doing this weekend.

Actually, I bought a GameCube about a month and a half ago, largely on the spur of the moment and fuelled by my girlfriend's kid brother visiting from several states away and extolling the virtues of Super Smash Bros. (good call, John). I have since been extremely disappointed with the lack of games, and the apparent lack of anything in the works. Sure, I'm looking forward to the new Mario and the new Metroid, but most of it... ::shrug:: I'm more stoked to play the Star Wars Ep I Racer sequel and Final Fantasy X. Of course, I'm even more stoked than that for Warcraft III, but that's a completely different story. :)

BTW, what the heck happened to good old side-scrollers? What I wouldn't give for Nintendo to release another Super Mario Brothers game that was nothing more than another 10 levels tacked onto Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World...
posted by dreamsbay at 8:53 PM on May 14, 2002

dreamsbay - they're on the $69 Game Boy Advance. The new Castlevania is off the hook. Side scrollers just don't sell on consoles as well as 3d platformers, but there are enough good 3d platformers now (Rayman 2 is amazing, nearly as good as M64) that I'm not complaining.

And Microsoft is probably worries. US Sales: 10 million PS2, 1.8 million XB, 1.5 million GC. Cost to produce: PS2 and GC about 150 bucks, Xbox almost 400. Worldwide sales: PS2, almost 30 mil; XB and GC - less than 5 mil each.

What's worse is that the killer app (and it is amazing), Halo, has already came out. GC has Zelda and Mario Sunshine coming this year, plus the incredible Resident Evil remake just released, so it should continue to sell decently. I don't know what it's going to take for XBox, but basically both Microsoft and Nintendo waited too long to release their system and Sony did a better job with 3rd party support.
posted by Kevs at 9:39 PM on May 14, 2002

Microsoft has $40 billion in cash and short-term equivalents. If they want Xbox to succeed, it eventually will.
posted by kindall at 10:38 PM on May 14, 2002

Microsoft has $40 billion in cash and short-term equivalents. If they want Xbox to succeed, it eventually will.

kindall, the reason microsoft has $40 billion in cash and short-term equivalents is that they are a (reasonably) canny bunch. This means they are likely to assess the situation and get out of the arena if the competition looks too fierce.
posted by toxicsoul at 11:07 PM on May 14, 2002

rumor: Nintendo will drop UK Gamecube price to £129

Eh? It already is at £129. They reduced it from £150 before it was launched. As for a US price reduction at E3, I recall reading on Gamespot that it's not going to happen (sorry, no link - Gamespot is a pay site now). They might reduce it in the fall.
posted by adrianhon at 1:38 AM on May 15, 2002

Wait a month or three and buy them used at Blockbuster

It's a good tip (I got Maximo for $9.99 this weekend), but with one caveat: make sure you trim all the excess Blockbuster sticker off the edges of the disc. Otherwise, the game comes with a free buzzing feature that makes your PS2 sound like a helicopter in flight. More importantly, some people have suggested it can damage the system (I don't know how true that really is).

I used a sharp, unserrated knife around the edge and it worked fine (as opposed to a Mach 3 razor, which was actually sharp enough to peel the edge of the disc away).
posted by yerfatma at 4:49 AM on May 15, 2002

Microsoft follows suit.
posted by yerfatma at 4:57 AM on May 15, 2002

I haven't had a game system since PS1, and haven't had it set up in years (ok, except for the SpongeBob game). I played Grand Theft Auto III a few weeks ago, as well as NHL Hitz, and a $200 PSII makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Which one to do? I like the games for PS2, but am honestly not familiar with what is available for Xbox beyond Oddworld III the Meech thing (I love Oddworld). Hmm. This is a tough call.
posted by adampsyche at 6:47 AM on May 15, 2002

If the GameCube drops to $149, I'm getting it. The Resident Evil remake looks awesome, as does Rogue Squadron II. The new Mario and Metroid games are also looking quite interesting.

I don't understand why Nintendo doesn't release a NES and SNES classics disc, that has has 10 or so of the top games on it. I would love to play Super Mario World, Chrono Trigger, etc.

I love that you can do that with Dreamcast by burning an emulator disc. And Sega released a Genisis Classics game with Sonic and some of their other hits.
posted by ry at 7:11 AM on May 15, 2002

the reason microsoft has $40 billion in cash and short-term equivalents is that they are a (reasonably) canny bunch. This means they are likely to assess the situation and get out of the arena if the competition looks too fierce.

Traditionally, version 3 of any given Microsoft product has been the first one that the public finds good enough to adopt in large numbers. They'd never get to v3 if they took their competition seriously. See, for example, Windows vs. Mac, Windows CE vs. Palm OS, etc., etc.
posted by kindall at 7:43 AM on May 15, 2002

for those that have purchased recently, only to find the price drop AFTER the fact....

Check to see if your sales place, or major credit card (if you used one) has a price match protection. It may be invokable, since the item was offered for less at a competitor...... *grin*
posted by dwivian at 7:54 AM on May 15, 2002

ToysRUs is doing refunds for those with receipts less than 30 days old.
posted by NortonDC at 8:29 AM on May 15, 2002

Nintendo has now dropped the price of the Gamecube to $149.99.
posted by ry at 10:36 AM on May 20, 2002

Compelling argument that the Xbox is economically doomed.
posted by NortonDC at 12:38 PM on May 20, 2002

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