Culture

by Carlo Longino




Are High Prices For Next-Gen Gaming Consoles Propping Up The Market For Old Machines?

from the the-smurfs-game-never-cost-this-much dept

The talk of the video game industry at the moment is the imminent launch of Nintendo's next-generation Wii console and Sony's long-awaited (and oft-delayed) PlayStation 3. But despite all the hype, recent earnings reports reiterate that it's older consoles that generate all the money in the games business, with analysts surprised by the strength of sales of games for the six-year-old PS2 and the two-year-old Nintendo DS. This is to be expected, on one hand, since there are so many of the older machines in circulation: more than 106 million PS2s have been sold, and though Microsoft is thrilled with Xbox 360 sales, only 6 million of the console have been sold since its launch a year ago. What makes the strength of PS2 game sales so surprising is that as the release of a next-generation system gets closer, many gamers tend to hold off on purchases, wanting instead to spend their money on new systems and games. Game publishers also tend to slow down releases, working to create games for the launch of the newer platforms. However, price sensitivity seems like it is playing a big role here. For instance, Sony recently cut the suggested price of the PS2 down to $129, whereas the Xbox 360 starts at $300 (with no price cuts forthcoming), and the PS3 will start at $500 -- not to mention games for the newer consoles typically run about $60. That might be acceptable to video game companies' core demographic, but as a wider range of people get interested in gaming and are looking for games that aren't necessarily based on ultra-realistic graphics and surround sound, it seems unlikely that they'll jump in at the high end of the market, and flock instead to cheaper systems with cheaper games. This means the supposedly old and busted likes of the PS2 -- which is currently outselling the Xbox 360, incidentally -- and other older machines could have some life left in them yet.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2006 @ 12:05pm

    Nostalgia

    There are going to be retro titles on all next gen titles (I'm not sure about PS3 though). You can buy heaps of classics on Xbox Live Arcade and the Wii really is innovative. I still have a Nintendo 64 and just recently, I finished 007 Goldeneye. Old consoles are great because you remember them as a fond part of your childhood but if you start playing them hardcore you just realise they are crap. You can't compare the games from back then to today's games. Today's market is still innovative. Personally, I'm getting a 360. It was released first, it has Xbox Live (realise PS3 has a Playstation Online but there's only a dozen people using it) and most importantly, it's for hardcore gamers like me.

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