Here in North America, Sony launched a 60 GB PS3, as well as a low-end 20 GB version that it's already shelved. The PlayStation 3 faces daunting pressure from Microsoft's
Interestingly, Sony hadn't launched PS3 at all in South Korea until now, so the 80 GB model will be the only game in town there come June. The 80 GB PS3 will retail for $588 -- cheaper than the price point on the 60 GB version in North America. Apparently, Sony's pushing the higher-capacity machine in South Korea because that country's more advanced in its use of high-speed Internet and online multimedia, suggesting that the PS3 would be used as more than just a gaming console. (Is that another way of saying that people in other regions weren't willing to pay up for additional features? Xbox also allows people to do much more than just play games.)
While this does confirm rumors that had previously circulated about an 80 GB model, Sony is not revealing plans to release it in any other regions yet, although a spokesperson admitted it's a possibility. The surprising retail price point in South Korea, however, opens up all kinds of other questions about the PS3 and pricing in other regions. (It's getting confusing to even track what capacity PS3 is available, in which country, for how much.)
Sony's no stranger to bearishness here at the Fool -- it's got a one-star rating in our community intelligence database, Motley Fool CAPS. (Of course, Sony shares are also currently hitting new 52-week highs.) Some Fools think it's a good short (in CAPS anyway), although others think it's not prudent to dismiss the stock entirely.
It appears that Sony has been taken off guard by the competence of the PS3's competition on all fronts. (I also suspect it may be underestimating the PR damage done by its fake blogs, invasive spyware, and battery recalls.) At any rate, the confusing, chaotic PS3 rollout to date makes me think that Sony's lost its strategic direction in video games. Since previous PlayStations have been crown jewels in Sony's product portfolio, I fear that the company may face more rocky times ahead.
Nintendo is a Stock Advisor selection.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.