Sony Managing PS3 Expectations

So a article says that the PS3 will cost $800 and not come out until 2007

Of course that’s just silly.  Sony would get killed releasing a game console that costs that much.  But it’s all part of managing expectations.

Is $500 a lot for a console?  Yes it is. 

But if people speculate for months that the console is going to sell for $800 or more, then when it shows up for $500 it’ll seem like a deal.  So that’s my prediction of what a PS3 will cost.  Still, a lot for a console, and $200 more than the XBox 360 Core (US$ prices).

As for availability, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are problems ramping up production.  Microsoft has been unable to build enough to meet demand, and the PS3 is going to be even tougher to build given that it uses equally demanding parts for most of the console, and has the added complication of a Blu-Ray drive. 

Blu-Ray drives have never been manufactured in volume, so whether they’ll be able to keep up with demand is a question I don’t think anyone knows the answer to yet.

There’s also the complication that Sony only recently started promising an XBox Live type online service for the PS3; in the past, Sony has left it up to the game developers to take care of the online experience.  This is something that it took Microsoft a long time to build and get right; if Sony is trying to throw that together quickly I think they’re going to find it’s more difficult scaling something like that than it seems. 

“But Sony runs EverQuest, so they have experience with massively multiplayer”.  The difference with EQ is that it’s based on servers.  A single EQ server handles a few thousand players.  With XBox Live, everyone’s connected to the same service at the same time.  It’s a much more difficult problem than EQ.

XBox Live had some troubles in the early days, but they handled the onslaught of the Halo 2 release, and now the XBox 360 release, and haven’t had any serious troubles.  I look forward to seeing how Sony fares.