Back in March when Sony announced the delay of the PlayStation 3 to late 2006, our comment was simple: it doesn’t matter, at least, at the right price. Unfortunately, in one of those “it’s a Sony” moves, the company this evening announced that it will be shipping two versions of the PlayStation 3 console in November, starting at a crazy high price of $500, and moving up to $600 if you want a bunch of features (WiFi, HDMI, and flash memory card slots) that were supposed to be in the lower-priced version. And it also unveiled a bunch of games that really don’t look very good – certainly not $100-200 better than Xbox 360 level good.
That’s not really the whole story. The $500 console now comes with a 20GB hard disk, and the $600 version comes with a 60GB hard disk. Both come with one Sony DualShock 3 controller, which looks almost exactly like its predecessors, but – thanks to Sony’s loss of a patent lawsuit – missing the “shock” vibration feature that gave them their names, and now featuring an axis and motion detecting technology inside, a la Nintendo’s Wii controller. They’ll be sold in “clear black” to start, with other colors to follow later.
Our prediction is that, absent some major change between now and November, the PS3 either dies a horrible death in stores, or achieves faux sell-outs simply by virtue of “shortages” that mysteriously posit a million or fewer consoles in each of several major territories. We will not be standing in line for this one, and for obvious reasons would not advise you to do so, either. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 just became a whole lot more attractive.