The Times today is reporting that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has suggested that his company, the largest independent gaming company in the world, might cut support for Sony if the PlayStation 3 doesn't become more profitable. Among the juicy quotes:
"I'm getting concerned about Sony; the PlayStation 3 is losing a bit of momentum and they don't make it easy for me to support the platform," Kotick explained. "It's expensive to develop for the console, and the Wii and the Xbox are just selling better."
And this little gem...
"They have to cut the price, because if they don't, the attach rates are likely to slow. If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony."
The latter quote comes right on the heels of Sony firmly denying at this year's E3 that there will be any price cut for the PS3 anytime soon. Sony is still convinced that their box is a great value. And while it may indeed offer a lot of features for the price, gamers simply aren't biting.
Sony has already lost tons of money on the PS3, so it certainly wouldn't seem logical for them to drop the price significantly—it may just be too risky. Unfortunately, dropping the price significantly just might be the only thing that keeps their attach rate competitive.
In my view, though, it is probably too late for the PS3. From the start, the system seemed unnecessarily bloated—an expensive Blu-Ray player built in, and a bloated, expensive, unnecessarily complex proprietary processor that few games, if any, can take much advantage of. The initial price tag of $600 was laughably outrageous, and it's current price tag isn't much better. While the Wii offers a completely different kind of experience, Microsoft has been targeting much of the audience as Sony, and seems to be doing a much better job of it with a smart implementation of Xbox Live that has grown to encompass a broad array of features, and a relatively simple DirectX-based development platform.
I have a hard time seeing the PS3 coming down in price anytime soon, and, if true, will cost Sony a competitive install base. A smaller install base could, as today's news indicates, drive away publishers and neuter the growth of the platform's games library. I'd like to see Sony get on their feet with the PS3—competition is vital for consumers—but my suspicion is that things might not turn around for them until they start focusing on their next-gen platform.