If you’re hoping to find a brand new Playstation 3 under your Christmas tree we hope you get what you want. The system has a stellar library of exclusives and 2013 looks to continue that trend with The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls, and a new God of War.
But if you don’t get that PS3 you’ve always wanted for the holidays this year than maybe price was a factor for those shopping for your gift. The entire gaming industry scratched their heads when Sony raised the price of entry on the PS3 a few months back with the PS3 Super-Slim model. It was already the second best selling console in North America at $249, so raising the price to $269 seemed kind of odd to say the least.
I believe the PS3 is likely due for a price drop sometime in early 2013. This isn’t because of any behind-the-scenes knowledge, I’m just taking into consideration all of the PS3 holiday bundles available now.
Sony has yet to release the PS3 Super-Slim model on its own without any bundled content or games. The PS3 slim went for $249 with 160GB HDD since late 2011. Whenever Sony bundled free games (Like the Modern Warfare 3 bundle) the system would cost $299. So that’s about a $50 price increase for a single bundled game.
They will have to sell a non-bundled Super-Slim PS3 at some point and early 2013 seems like the time to do so. Why have they waited so long to do so? One reason could be that they can make more money off of $269 and $299 bundles than a $199 or $229 stand-alone console.
Therein lies what I think will happen when the PS3 Super-Slim is finally sold outside of bundles. The price of the PS3 could tumble all the way down to $199. Take into consideration all the value Sony will be taking away once they stop shipping their holiday bundles.
The Uncharted 3 GOTY bundle is $270. A copy of Uncharted 3 GOTY Edition retails for $40, one month of Playstation Plus figures to be $6, and it includes $30 in credit for Dust 514. That’s $76 of content. Sony could remove this content and you’d be paying almost $200 for the PS3 on its own.
Look at some of the retailer exclusive bundles. Target has an Epic Mickey 2 bundle that includes a PS Move set with the camera ($79 value) with Epic Mickey 2 ($60 value at the moment) and one month of Playstation Plus. Target has been selling this bundle for $299 until this week, now its on sale for $269. Let’s just look at the $299 price point. Subtract all of those bundled items and you’d come with a PS3 for $170!
Best Buy has gone even further. They’re selling the 250GB PS3 Super-Slim with Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and God of War Saga for $249.99 already. Both of those games cost $40 each at most stores, take that $80 away and you’ve got a $170 PS3.
GameStop’s holiday bundle has Little Big Planet Karting ($60), Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 ($20) and Lego Batman 2 ($30) giving you $110 of value on top of the PS3 you’re already getting. Subtract this and you’ve got a $180 PS3.
Sony can and will do whatever they want. When the holidays end they will have to begin shipping stand-alone PS3 models. These models will likely receive some sort of a price drop. Perhaps it will be a tiny one, falling to $229. It could also be larger, perhaps to $179 or $199.
Sony may have wanted to make more money off holiday bundles and we couldn’t blame them. The amount of game consoles purchased during the holidays is obviously increased over non-holiday months so it makes sense why they’d only release more expensive bundled systems the past few months. People are going to buy them anyway, so why give them a cheaper option that you make less money off of?
It is more important for Sony to do a PS3 price drop during non-holiday months where the PS3 barely sells 200k per month in the US, not during holiday months where it can easily pass 500k during Thanksgiving week.
We can’t say for certain that the PS3 will receive the price drop it should have received when the Super-Slim was originally introduced but we think its pretty likely when you look at all the value Sony has put into their holiday bundles. Sony likely has a very good reason why they’ve waited to release a non-bundle Super-Slim PS3 and that could very well be that they wanted to delay a price drop until after the holidays.
So if you don’t get that PS3 you’ve always wanted for Christmas don’t worry. You find the system more affordable shortly after the holidays.