Gamers are beginning to feel the sting of a harsh reality that early adopters of all other types of technology have known for years - new technology is really expensive.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton knows this, and he would really like it if everyone else started to get on board with this idea - since his company is gearing up to release the PSP successor, tentatively named the NGP.
Although nothing official has been announced, potential prices for the forthcoming handheld have already received rampant speculation across the Internet. Rumors of $300 and $400, or more, have even the most eager buyers and loyal PlayStation fanboys cringing at the thought of having to donate an organ just to play a tiny version of Nathan Drake.
However, in an interview with Fast Company, Tretton offers some reasonable perspective for gamers to consider before complaining about the price of a new piece of hardware being too expensive.
Take a look:
Notice that Tretton slyly steers the conversation towards portable devices. In making a statement like, “People are used to spending several hundred dollars to get a portable device…” one has to think he’s probably trying to prepare gamers for a potentially hefty NGP price point. It could certainly be said that we have Apple and the iDevice family to thank for putting that idea in the collective mind of every electronics manufacturers out there - but it isn’t without a fair amount of truth. A device like the NGP, as well as the 3DS, is looking to compete for pocket space with other pricey, multi-functional entertainment portables like the iPod Touch, which has an entry-level price of $230.
Aside from just taking the “Quit whining; you already spend hundreds on iPads” approach, Tretton does make a good point about where most of a buyer’s money goes - throughout the lifetime of the system. Citing that hardware costs are only a fraction of the amount of money a player will spend throughout the life cycle of a console is a completely fair point. Even at this point in the current generation of consoles, it isn’t unreasonable to think that a passionate gamer has spent upwards of $2,000 on games, DLC, or other services. Put in that light, a $600 PlayStation 3, or a $350 portable, doesn’t seem quite as ridiculous, although it might help some gamers to understand why they haven’t been able to afford that new house or Corvette they wanted.
As video games continue to make their way to the front of the mainstream entertainment line, their use of new technology will also grow. Rather than just getting dated PC tech under the hood, consoles and portables will continue to be packed with new features. The 3DS, for example, has the potential to become the first truly mass-market 3D device at $250. While this seems expensive to gamers who view it as a handheld, consumers wanting to get their hands on 3D technology but don’t want to pony up thousands for a television probably don’t see it the same way - and if any of the NGP price rumors are true, the 3DS is going to seem like a steal very soon.
Should we start bracing for the NGP price backlash? What price will you be willing to pay for what the NGP is offering?
Portable gaming fans will have to wait and see when Sony drops the NGP price bomb soon.
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Source: Fast Company