Well, one thing’s for sure: The New York Times, at least, can’t decide whether the PlayStation 3 is doing well or not.
In the con category, we have:
Early results from this holiday season aren't promising. U.S. sales of the PS3 fell 19% last month from a year earlier, while sales doubled for the Wii console and rose 8% for the Xbox 360, according to research firm NPD. Analysts say they expect PS3 sales for this month to be flat or lower than last year, while sales for its rivals are likely to rise. And Sony may not reach its goal of selling 10 million PS3 consoles in the fiscal year through March, analysts say.
Sony's strategy of selling a pricey game machine with advanced features and cutting-edge components appears to be backfiring as a deepening recession has U.S. consumers more price sensitive than ever.
If Sony doesn't close the gap with its rivals, it could risk making the PS3 an afterthought to game publishers, who focus most of their resources on the machines with the most users. At the end of September, the Wii had a wide lead with nearly 35 million units sold since its launch in 2006 compared with about 22 million Xbox 360 consoles and 17 million PS3 machines. Nintendo last month sold 2 million Wii machines in the U.S., while Microsoft sold 836,000 Xbox 360s and Sony sold 378,000 PS3s, according to NPD.
Meanwhile, over in the pro category, yet another NYT article provides a slightly rosier outlook:
Sony is closer to breaking even on its new-generation PlayStation 3 videogame console because it costs 35% less to make than the previous model, according to technology-research firm iSuppli Corp.
Integration and key changes in components has brought the latest PS3's cost down to $448.73 from $690.23 for the first-generation model, said iSuppli.
The PS3 sells for about $399 in the U.S., at least $150 more than Wii and Xbox 360. However, the PS3 accounted for 16% of global videogame-unit shipments in the second quarter of 2008, second only to Nintendo's Wii, which accounted for 54% of the market.
Andrew Rassweiler of iSuppli predicted the PS3 may be able to break even in 2009 with further hardware revisions.
Just so we’re clear, the good news here is that Sony may soon stop selling the PS3 at a loss, not that it will somehow “break even” on overall PS3 costs. If these figures are correct, however, Sony still loses $50 for each console it sells. Not counting packaging and royalty expenses.
Sounds like a gangbuster business to me. :)