Forecast of PS3’s Impending Doom

Not to get overly political, but Sony Computer Entertainment’s management is starting to remind me of the Bush administration. Despite constant dire warnings from so many experts (including an editor with the official Playstation magazine) that the PS3 is careening toward a disastrous launch, the company seems doggedly hellbent on staying the course, dismissing the resourcefulness of the competition, and in the face of mounting criticism, even going so far as to hire writers to post sunny good news about the PS3 on a “semi official” blog.

You keep hoping that Kaz Hirai will suddenly show up on a podium and announce a drastic rethinking of PS3’s pricing, or release schedule, or its online/download services, or its exclusive game line-up, something, anything, but the moment never comes. If the chart above linked to below doesn’t break through their cocoon of optimism, nothing will.

Created by jvm of Curmudgeon Gamer, it’s a comprehensive listing of videogame consoles released over the last 30 years, arranged by date and graphed according to their absolute price (cost on date of release), and relative price (current cost adjusted for inflation).

See the chart posted here. Even at a quick glance, it’s easy to draw some conclusions: the consoles that tend to succeed most in recent years are priced within the $225-350 range, in today’s numbers, while some of the biggest disasters (3DO, CD-i) are priced two or three times that.

At between $500 or $600, the Playstation 3 skews toward the danger zone, and has a price point comparable to the fairly disastrous Sega Saturn of 1995. (And by today’s dollars, it’s $150-250 more than the Playstation 2, released back in the day when it seemed Sony could do no wrong.) Priced at about $250, the Nintendo Wii seems best situated in the chart’s retail sweet spot.

Kudos to Curmudgeon Gamer for crunching the numbers. Maybe they’re too late in coming for Sony’s good, but they’re something. Then again, maybe Playstation has such powerful brand loyalty, millions of gamers will miraculously rise up next week to acclaim the PS3, despite the high cost. But from where I’m sitting, that’s about as likely as 150,000 troops being enough to secure the peace in a Middle Eastern country which… well, in a post-election spirit of national reconciliation, I’ll leave it at that.

Hat tip: Anthony J. Siino III.