While the PS3 and Xbox 360 have seen significant price drops since their respective debuts, particularly the former by way of the PS3 Slim, the price points are still not where EA would like them to be. Even four to five years after their launches, the publisher would like to see lower prices on console hardware.
“I think pricing has not come down as much as we would have expected at this point in the cycle compared to the last,” said EA’s CFO, Eric Brown, at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. “We do have a long way to go with respect to pricing. Last cycle, approximately 48 percent of PS2 units were sold at a price point of $149 or less. Clearly at $299, we’re nowhere near that price point.”
When asked about the lifecycle of this generation’s consoles, Brown explained how we likely won’t see a quick transition to a new generation like we did when the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii released.
“It’s a possibility that we don’t see a sharp and distinct console transition like we’ve seen in the past. Today, we have two of the three consoles operating at full, high-definition and are running games at 60 frames a second,” he continued. “If you have a multi-billion capital investment to develop the next generation hardware, the question I would ask is, ‘If you were to produce that, what would you display it on?’ There’s really nothing in terms of broadly available consumer viewing technology other than 1080p televisions. You could upgrade in theory, but you wouldn’t get the obvious graphic benefit that we saw that drove the transitions in the prior cycle.”