September 1st, 2008
NB: As it stands the Australian dollar stands at about $0.98 American dollars, so almost equivalent, keep this in mind when reading. Of course this article was also written a while ago too.
Despite my enthusiasm for the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, there was a lot of friction involved in balancing up whether a Playstation 3, at this stage in the game, was worth the $AUD750 purchase. Truth is, I am a very cautious buyer and I never like to plonk down the cash on a big investment unless I am certain that the investment with more than cater towards my needs.
Another personality trait of mine is that I hold no shame in playing games that are a few years past their used by date. So the bright lights of next gen didn’t really woo me to a great extent. Therefore if I was going to buy a PS3, I needed a real sufficient reason to do so. Fortunately for the big wigs at Sony, MGS4 was more than sufficient but it didn’t mean that the choice was an easy one by any lengths.
The Third Place
My biggest gripe with buying a (PAL region) Playstation 3 is that I only have one purchasing decision; the 40gb model. Back late last year Sony ceased production of the PAL 60gb model leaving only the newly introduced, streamlined 40gb model. Now it’s not the 2 USB ports or 20gb of additional storage that drove me into writing this piece, it’s the Playstation 2 backwards compatibility. Refering back to that second personality trait, I still have plenty of PS2 games on the shelf. The feeling of missed opportunity was only amplified after sampling the upscaling of Die Hard with a Vengeance (DVD) and Vagrant Story (PSone).
While I understand Sony’s reason to provide a cheaper, more economical marketing mix for consumers I am dumbfounded as to why it comes at the sacrifice of a premium model. The prospect of having all three Playstation consoles, DVD, Blu-ray and stored media all in one place is something that I’d be willing to pay for. All I can do now though is bank on the possibility of a PS2 emulator in future firmware updates.
Another stain on the Playstation 3’s not so white dress is the lack of bundling of the Dual Shock 3 controller. I personally went out of my way to buy a Playstation 3 bundled with the latest game (MGS4) and Sony Australia (read: Sony Europe) can’t even bundle in a Dual Shock 3 controller (which has out on the Australian market for well over a month).
The Worst Thing of All Is…
To conclude my brief bitch session I want to conclude on what has always been the greatest act of robbery within the games industry. The NTSC and PAL price discrepancies.
If I was an American buying a Playstation 3, I would be in an undoubtedly better boat (perhaps one with a bloomin’ rudder!). The NSTC Metal Gear Solid 4 bundle paints a very different story in that it does come with an 80gb model Playstation 3 AND a Dual Shock 3 as well as a few free vouchers. Sure fine, they get a better deal. What makes this deal considerably better for the American’s is that it is $AUD230 cheaper than the Australian bundle and yet the Australian bundle is significantly a lesser package.
While this form of daylight robbery has always been a given among the territories, this extent of rip off is unjust and unfair. It doesn’t take a marketing guru to know that you keep a balanced price for all geographic locations, filling in profits from those locations geographically closer to your main distribution channels. Microsoft does not get through that easily either with a similar discrepancy in their prices.