Sony Boss Cautious About Australian PS3 Launch Numbers

In addition to the recently announced date for the European launch of the PS3, Australia will also join in on the debut when the console is released in March. In an interview with Australia’s Gamespot, Sony exec Michael Ephraim gave his take on the logistics of the PS3 launch.

Sony is only launching the 60GB model of the PS3, excluding the 20GB version until "later in the year dependent on demand". Ephraim commented on the decision by Sony, explaining that it was based purely on the numbers–practically all sales for the PS3 are for the fully featured 60GB model.

"Basically, every retailer and business partner we discussed the SKUs (stock units) with said that the 60GB SKU is the way to go. If you look at PS3 sales in the US, and if you look at the sales of our competitor’s format, the lead SKU has sold disproportionately better–it makes up about 97 percent of all sales." Ephraim continued, "We will look at the demand and the need for a 20GB SKU, but everything is telling us–including consumers talking to retailers via pre-orders–that everyone wants the top-end SKU because it has all the functionality."

Considering the premium price of the PS3, the logic of buyers seems to be that the additional cost of the top end machine is worth it when compared to the lower end unit. In addition to the standard features of HDMI output and Blu-ray DVD player on the 20GB model, the 60GB PS3 also offers Memory Stick and media card readers, Wi-fi wireless internet access, and the larger capacity hard drive.

When asked for his estimation of how many PS3s would be sold in Australia, Ephraim avoided stating numbers and sidestepped the issue. "It’s a bit early–we’d rather just work our way toward launch…It’s a very dynamic market we’re in, so it’s hard to imagine what the exact quantities will be."

Ephraim’s caution in stating exact figures is likely due to the uncertainty surrounding the number of units that will be available for Australia, the availability of Blu-ray movies, and sales of HD television sets. He described the situation surrounding the PS3 as a matter of "convergence" in which any of the factors listed could affect sales. But one thing is in Sony’s favor–Australia is heavily saturated with a Sony fan base of 2.2 million PS2 owners. If even a small percentage of these demographics decide to upgrade to a PS3, supplies on hand will most likely be short, forcing those who have been waiting for a PS3 to wait even longer.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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