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PlayStation 3 hits 2 million in the UK

Ray Maguire admits to a tough time ahead, but is confident of further console growth

Sony Computer Entertainment UK has revealed that the PlayStation 3 has broken through the 2 million unit milestone in the UK, ahead of the second anniversary of its release in Europe, while the PlayStation Portable has now passed the 3 million mark nationally.

But the company's senior VP and MD for SCE UK, Ireland & Nordic, Ray Maguire, has admitted to that Sony is going through a tough time at the moment, partly due to overarching issues that the company has no control over - although he is confident that its flagship console will continue to grow by around another 1 million units in the next 12 months.

"I think it's a tough time for everyone," he said. "Probably more so in the UK, because we're hit by the effects of currencies - euro, pound, yen and dollar - and the weakness of the pound is definitely an issue that affects us more than the rest of SCEE.

"We have to do as much in this office as we can to make sure that we can build on the success we had last year in terms of the units we sold, great IPs that we had to bring to market.

"This year we've got even more, even better product to put out there - but trading is difficult, it's really tough. Just credit insurance - credit limits are going to be challenging for the whole of the year.

"These are things which are completely out of Sony's control - it's about the environment in which we trade, but we have to be responsible, we have to do what we need to do to make sure we give back to the shareholders what they need."

He was bullish about the PS3's premium price point, noting that the sales performance was strong, despite an ailing economy in which people might look to cheaper alternatives.

"For any product to gain an installed base it needs two things - a great product, and a good price," he said. "We've clearly got the best product you can get, so there's a big tick in that box. The price - it's a premium product, so therefore it costs a premium price, and that does give us issues in terms of the expected sell-through that analysts and the media want, but actually when you look at it in isolation: close to a million units in a year which is really tough, at a premium price, actually shows that's a great number.

"If you look at the RRP that we've had out there for 2 million units, and compare it to PlayStation One and PlayStation 2, it's amazing that we've got to this kind of level. Actually, I'm really pleased with that - it does show that the premium product was the right strategy to have.

"It also shows that we have potentially more longevity in PlayStation 3 than we had in the previous PlayStations, simply because if the price goes down we've still got a massive market place to sell in to. Really that's testament to the risk that was taken - do you have a fully-loaded feature-set, or do you just go for price?

"If you just go for price at the moment it must mean, by looking at the stats, that the cycle will be shorter for those which are not so forward-facing, compared to PlayStation 3 which has clearly got many years to run."

The first part of the interview with Ray Maguire is available now. Part two will follow next week.

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