Sony has announced a price drop for the Playstation 3, but only for Japanese folks. The lower-end version of the console will sell for 49,800 yen, or something like $424, a drop from $515. Sony denies that the price drop will hit the U.S., but we can hope.
Here’s my thinking: The perception of Sony’s price makes the PS3 look like a disaster. In the U.S., Sony can rely on consumers sitting back and overpaying as the PS3 sells out and creates shortages everywhere, but in Japan, Sony risks angering its base. So, they drop the price in Japan to calm the home front, and plan to wait out the shortages before giving North America a cut (since the cut is just costing them a huge amount of money).
The beauty: The lower-end PS3 represents only 20% of the stock. This means that the Japanese, now more willing to accept the PS3 because of the price drop, will saunter into stores and see the $424 PS3 sold out, but the $600+ PS3 still in stock, and the more desperate buyers will pay for the now-ridiculously-expensive unit.
Since Sony dropped the price, the higher-end PS3 looks like the biggest rip-off in gaming. The differences between the two consoles are (a) 40 gigabytes of hard drive space, (b) a memory card reader and (c) silver finish. Yeah, that’s worth two hundred bucks!