Sony had hinted at something big happening this week, but it wasn’t the PS3 price cut we were all hoping for. Instead, it’s the long-serving PS2 that’s getting the few quid shaved off the retail price, and will drop from $129 to $99 in the US from tomorrow.
So far, no similar price cuts have been announced in the UK, although Europe gets 30 Euros shaved off their PS2s. That could be another sign of the difficult exchange rates, or it could be that Sony Computer Entertainment Europe just hasn’t gotten round to its own PS2 price cut announcement. (Update: MCV has since confirmed that the ‘European’ price cut does not apply to the UK.)
A quick check of most major online retailers reveals a surprising shortage of new PS2 consoles. That could mean the stores have been running down their inventory ahead of the price cut, or that with 140 million of the consoles sold, everyone who wants one has already bought it.
Sony’s director of hardware marketing, John Koller, is confident that the aging console is still relevant today though. “This new price means that more people than ever will be able to join in on the fun that so many of you PlayStation 2 owners have been enjoying for years, which means new families will become part of the platform’s record-breaking install base,” Koller writes on the official PlayStation blog.
And to be fair, there are loads of brilliant games on the PS2, which may lack the graphical spectacle of the likes of Killzone 2, but are still well worth a look if you value gameplay over the number of onscreen pixels.
Sony says there’s more coming too and that the PS2’s gaming library will grow to nearly 1,900 titles this year, albeit “with particular focus on the social and sports genres that are so popular with the emerging family demographic”. Oh, so it’s all party games and EA Sports titles. Joy.
We remain optimistic that a PS3 price could still emerge in due course, if only because it seems paramount that Sony closes some of the price gap between the PS3 and rival systems. With so many excellent titles just launched or in the pipeline for the rest of the year, it would seem a shame for hardware sales to be hampered by an utterly un-credit crunchy price tag.