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Sony in the Game Business

Sony has just introduced a new PlayStation3. This product comes in a new slim form factor. Its price is $299. This is a 25% reduction from the $399 price of the current model of the PlayStation3. The price cut comes as the PS3 has struggled against its competitors, whose products have carried lower prices. Sony was in a Leader’s Trap.

Not only is the PS3 struggling against lower-priced competitors, it is also facing the head winds of a badly depressed market. Industry sales of game hardware and software are down 29% from a year ago.

The problem? Even at the new price, the product is more expensive than the industry leader. Nintendo’s Wii console sells for $250. The wildly successful Wii sets the price bar for the heart of the market. Its total console sales have passed 20.7MM compared to just over 15.5MM for the Microsoft Xbox and about 7.9M for the PS3. A competing console price higher than $250 really focuses the customer’s attention on the value of the marginal benefits.

Sony justifies the fact that the PS3 will remain the more expensive console because it offers a Blu-Ray player. Customers may not see it that way (see the Perspective, “The Two Greatest Consultants in the World” on StrategyStreet.com). The new PS3 may end up as a high end, Performance Leader, product with limited market share.

Sony has climbed part way out of its Leader’s Trap (see Video #42: Leader’s Trap on StrategyStreet.com) but still has a way to go. You will see more of the same in our next blog.

Posted 8/31/09