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As big an issue as the reduced backwards compatibility is, the most significant stumbling block is the price. No matter how you look at it £425 for a games console is a lot of money, and once you’ve added on the cost of a couple of games, a second controller, a Blu-ray remote and an HDMI cable, you’re looking at close to £600!
Of course Sony will tell you that with the Blu-ray functionality and the potential power and versatility of the PS3 it’s still a bargain, and when you look at how much Blu-ray players cost, there’s some substance there. However, when I bought my PlayStation 3 out in Japan in January it cost me around £250, which means that we’re paying over 40 per cent more in the UK. And it’s not even as if we’re paying over 40 per cent more for the same hardware, we’re paying more for LESS hardware, because the PS2 chips are missing from the UK machines.
It’s clear that UK consumers feel that the initial purchase cost is just too high for the PlayStation 3, with most retailers struggling to shift their allocated stock, but that doesn’t mean that I think that the PS3 will fail. Ultimately there are enough PlayStation fans who have been waiting for their next fix. OK, so they may not be able to afford one straight away, but they’ve probably already decided to buy one as soon as the first price drop hits.
It’s a real shame that Sony has managed to mess up the European launch of the PlayStation 3 so badly. We’re getting the console late, we’re paying through the nose for it and we’re not even getting the same hardware as Japan and America – with that in mind it’s tough for me to recommend that anyone buy one at this point in time.
But like I said, it’s a shame, because the PlayStation 3 really is an impressive piece of kit. This really is so much more than just a games console, and it really could be that digital entertainment hub that Sony would have you believe it is. And it really does have the potential to be a truly great gaming platform. As things stand though, Sony has managed to make the PlayStation 3 look like the least attractive next generation console, when it really shouldn’t be.
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