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Sony exec questions high price of Wii, 360 hardware

Sony Australia's Michael Ephraim has questioned the price point of rival next-gen hardware, stating the Wii is "a lot to fork out" for the intended family audience, while branding the Xbox 360 as "pricey".

Sony Australia's Michael Ephraim has questioned the price point of rival next-gen hardware, stating the Wii is "a lot to fork out" for the intended family audience, while branding the Xbox 360 as "pricey".

Speaking to Australia's The Age newspaper, Ephraim also said he believes that the PAL delay of the PS3 will not impact sales in the long term.

"My only question for this Christmas on Wii is the price point," said Ephraim.

"Even though it's affordable, at AUD $400 (EUR 237) plus whatever you need to buy accessories-wise, I'm guessing you need to spend about AUD $500 (EUR 296) to take home a Wii and enjoy it."

"For this Christmas, I think that price point is still not family entertainment because AUD $500 is a lot to fork out, but we welcome the Nintendo heritage of gaming where they can appeal to a broader audience because long-term that is critical for the industry," he said.

And while admitting Microsoft had done "fairly well" at launch, the Australia boss believes the Xbox 360 is focused on too narrow an audience and still priced too high.

"I think their product offering is still not broad enough. The content is narrow and appeals only to a very core group," he said.

He added: "It's still pricey, and I'm sure Microsoft will do everything they can, but if you just look at the offerings from each format and the marketplace that we are now playing in, especially PlayStation 2, it has to be affordable because we are talking about mass-market and non traditional gamers."

Discussing the PlayStation 3, which will retail at AUD $830 (EUR 492) and AUD $999 (EUR 592) for the two sku's, Ephraim stated that the post-Christmas delay of PAL units was an initial disappointment, but retail had backed the move and was now looking forward to a clear sales window during the March launch.

"We would have loved to have launched for Christmas. But based on our discussions with retailers, they are very keen and excited about a March launch because it gives us a period to communicate with our customers that is not cluttered," he said.

"So in the long run, if you take a five-year or three or two-year view, it won't have any impact at all," added Ephraim.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.