Retail praises Sony's "excellent" PS3 price point

Sales increase 15-fold upon release of slim; "Sony really needed this" says SimplyGames director

Sony's release of the new model PlayStation 3 at its reduced price point of GBP 249.99 has increased sales by up to 15 times, independent retailers have told, with consumers trading in old models of the console - as well as rival platforms - in exchange for the new slim hardware.

The sales increase has been even more positive than expected, according to SimplyGames director, Neil Muspratt, who reports "catapulted sales" that soared following the release of the PlayStation 3 slim.

"We sold approximately 15 times the volumes of 80GB the week before," he confirmed. "Sure, sales on the 80GB had slowed and the launch of any new price or configuration gets immediate results. But this one seemed especially effective and the timing means we should see a good sales run through to Christmas now."

"It's an excellent price point," reckons ChipsWorld MD Don McCabe. "It makes it affordable. I think in the past Sony has suffered by not being able to get over to the consumer how good a machine it is. At that sort of price point people are more inclined to give it a bash."

McCabe confirms his company sold ten times more PS3s than Xbox 360s last week, even with the Elite's price drop to GBP 199.99.

On Microsoft's price cut, McCabe is less positive. "360 has dropped in price but that just seems to have brought it back to level. We're selling more PS3s than we are Xboxes at the moment."

Whether this is a trend that will continue is difficult to predict. "Once we get 4-5 weeks in of the new machine then it'll be interesting. You'll be able to see what the take up against the Xbox is," said McCabe.

Retailers agree though that the sales surge is what Sony, and the industry as a whole, desperately needed.

"Sony really needed this shot in the arm and this sort of initiative brings momentum for the entire industry," commented Muspratt.

Consumers perhaps haven't realised just what the PlayStation 3 can do, added McCabe, and its continued success could rely on Sony getting this information across. "It's a very powerful machine. It's seen as a games machine and a Blu-ray player and that's about it. Where that's just two things it can do - it can do an awful lot more. Its down to the games, but it's also down to Sony educating the users."

Retailers have some concerns that over-competitive pricing could decrease the impact the price drop is having on profits later in the year however. Further reductions will "inevitably happen", said Muspratt.

"It's always a concern," added McCabe. "The machine is at a very good price anyway so why do you need to drop it an extra GBP 20-30? All you're going to do is pull market share and, at the end of the day, everyone needs to make money."

Since the new PlayStation 3 slim's release, Chart-Track has confirmed its sales are up over 1000 per cent week-on-week in the UK. The most recent software chart reflected that success too, with multi-platform game sales up by as much as 128 per cent following the PS3 and Xbox 360 price cuts. In Japan, the console sold 150,000 units in four days to beat its own launch record.

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