Sony yesterday predicted that PS3 unit sales would increase by 3m (30 per cent) in the next 12 months – a figure that Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian says can only be achieved via a $100 price cut to the machine.
PS3 guidance suggests pending price reduction – timing and amount uncertain,” Sebastian explained in an investor guidance statement. We believe Sony's outlook supports expectations for a PS3 price reduction this year, likely at some point between the E3 industry conference in June and the end of the summer, as Sony is able to reduce PS3 production costs.
A significant price cut could provide the PS3 with a needed shot in the arm. In addition to a $100 price reduction, which would put the PS3 in easier reach of a mass-market audience, we note that Sony has a healthy lineup of upcoming first-party video games planned over the next year, including inFAMOUS, God of War III, Heavy Rain, Uncharted 2 and Gran Turismo 5.
A price cut would also be positive on the margin for software publishers and GameStop, given lackluster sell-through thus far of the PS3 and the potential for price cuts to generate additional consumer interest in the platform and PS3 software.
"We also believe the sweet spot for console sales is below $300; thus, a price cut of less than $100 would likely be perceived negatively by the market.
For Sony PlayStation, we believe the next 12 months are critical to regain market share, particularly with Nintendo losing some momentum near-term, and with Microsoft likely introducing a new gesture-based user interface.”