SPOnG quizzed Sony Computer entertainment UK's managing director Ray Maguire about the £425 price tag on the 60GB PS3, why there are no cheaper 20GB PS3’s being made available at the UK launch and to find out exactly how many PS3s will be available in Blighty on March 23rd.
Firstly, why no 20GB models? Surely the price controversy could have been played down a little if the cheaper model, with no built-in Wi-Fi and no memory card slots, which Maguire has said in the past would retail for around £350, was also going on sale. Why isn’t it?
Maquire told us that, “The response that we’re getting back from the marketplace – not only from retail, but also from consumers – is that what they really want is the best. They want to go for the wireless model; they do understand that the PlayStation 3 is a machine which has a lot of downloads available right from day one, and that they want to put their own media on it from day one".
He continued, "So a big preference has been shown towards the 60GB model. And when we look at the sales figures from both Japan and the US, that's reflected at retail. You can either have not enough of both in the marketplace for day one, or you can have round about the right amount of one".
But surely consumers can still get their photos and video on to 20GB PS3s via USB cables. Plus, the hard disk is user-upgradeable. Ah well, those arguments are all by the by as we are only getting the £425 60GB model this March, like it or lump it.
Whatever, lets get onto the other important question. How many are we getting?
“[The UK] constitutes just over 22 per cent of the market in PAL – I say PAL rather than Europe, because PAL now extends out to over 100 territories, and some of those territories are quite strong. For instance, we have some of the strongest Middle Eastern and Russian sales forces compared to competing products. That means my overall number is a bit lower than it would be if I had a less well-established product. So we’re round about the 22 per cent mark which, if you divided that into the million would give you 220,000 units".
Maguire adds, “I think if I go down on bended knee, I might get a little bit more… I will try to get as many units as I possibly can. But it will certainly be the biggest launch that the games industry has ever seen, in terms of day one numbers into the marketplace. Probably over four times PlayStation One, and close to double the amount of PS2s. So, it’s going to be a logistical nightmare – that’s a lot of trucks to get around. Product is already on its way, on ships, at the moment, and there is more being generated every single day”.
Woohoo! So there’ll be plenty to go around at least. Finally, we asked Maguire if he was relieved, after the well-documented problems with the delay in Europe, to which he replied, “Absolutely. It’ll be great to finally unleash it upon the world in every area, and give people a chance to see exactly what the machine can do first-hand. Because I think PlayStation 3 is such an all-encompassing product that it’s hard to grasp all its elements until you see it and touch it”.
“Once it’s out with general consumers and they’re seeing it for the first time in many cases, then I think our job really begins. As people get an idea of what they want – more games, better games, wider genres – and we start making sure the games really start doing justice to the 1080 panels they’ve bought, then that’s the start of things”.
More games, better games, wider genres. Yes please Sony!!