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Pressure mounts for PS3 price drop

Peter Moore and Alex Evans among those supporting action from Sony

EA Sports president Peter Moore and Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans are among those commenting in public recently about the price point of the PlayStation 3, and noting that the console would benefit from a price cut.

"Sony obviously still has a ways to go with their pricing," Moore told Bloomberg, adding that although the company was committed to Sony's platform, he did expect a price cut eventually.

Meanwhile Evans told Gamasutra that, from the point of view of a developer, he believed it was important for Sony to broaden the PS3 installed base in order to benefit titles such as LittleBigPlanet.

"They've had all these, you know, SingStars and the EyeToy games. They've had their casual gaming audience on the PS2, and they have to translate that over to PS3 now.

"As they do that, I'll be very happy with that, because that's how I see PS3 growing. That's why I'm kind of comfortable with it for now... As soon as they drop their price, ho ho ho."

But Sony is resisting such calls for now, as senior VP of marketing at SCEA, Peter Dille, explained.

"Everybody in the development community would love for the PS3 to be free, so they could just sell razor blades," he said, underlining that the company was aiming for profitability and not simply expanding its installed base.

However, such a view isn't shared by Janco Parnters' Mike Hickey, who expects a cut of around USD 50-100 in the next two months.

"If they can't meaningfully increase their install base, then you will likely see a capital reallocation," he told Bloomberg, while Pacific Crest's Evan Wilson added: "The publishers need the PS3 install base to grow in order for most of these games to be profitable. It's an easy equation for them, but it's very different from the one that Sony has to take on."

The speculation comes during the middle of a cost-cutting plan from Sony which will see around 16,000 jobs lost and several manufacturing plants shut down, although few changes are expected in the PlayStation division.

The company's stock was up 1.1 per cent at the close of the Tokyo Stock Exchange today at JPY 1913 (USD 19.5), down to almost a third of the 52-week high price, but up around 25 per cent on the low.

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Phil Elliott