Sony Playstation 3: Two Thorns Away From Glory

Sony Corp (SNE) creator of Playstation 3 has two thorns in their path to glory.
  1. Nintendo Ltd (NTDOY) creator of Wii
  2. Microsoft (MSFT) creator of XBox 360

PS3 has a hard drive to store game data and music and can play DVDs using Sony’s Blu-ray high definition technology. PS3 sales took off very well in the early stage. However with the advent of Nintendo’s Wii which features a unique motion-sensitive controller and Microsoft’s XBox 360 which offers an extensive system for online play and high percentage availability, PS3 sales have been struggling ever since.

Problem with PS3
Gamers and analysts have praised PS3 graphics, but their high prices, shortage of console and weak line-up of games have raised concerns. Sony says that the Playstation 3 shortage will be eliminated by April/May, with another 2 million units on their way to the United States. Gaming sites claim of unsold PS3s. In response Sony CEO said that in many places the games are sold out. They plan to fill shelves across United States.

In January, Sony sold only 244,000 PlayStation 3s, compared to 294,000 for the Xbox 360 and 436,000 for the Wii.

A Gamer’s View
Dr. Andrew Garrett, a game developer for EA said…

I make video games, currently working for Electronic Arts on the latest Command & Conquer. Last year, the prediction that the PS3 would be the dominant console, just like the PS2 was. That is no longer the case. The extremely strong performance of the Wii, combined with the miserable performance of Sony has revised pretty much everyone’s expectations. Right now, most of us here think the Xbox 360 will be on top for this generation, with the battle for second place between Sony and Nintendo. Most of us still think Sony will beat off Nintendo, simply due to the older graphics on the Wii, but it’s not a sure thing. My opinion – get the 360 and/or the Wii. Skip the PS3 unless there’s a big change in the near future.

eBay imposing restrictions
In another story eBay (EBAY) in UK is imposing restrictions on the sale of Sony PlayStation 3 gaming systems due to high demand and their limited supply. eBay US had imposed similar restrictions during the fall holiday shopping season due to concerns over fraud/scam listings.

Conclusion: All three companies has clearly differentiated hardware and strategies. Who will win? Analyst believe that none of the 3 consoles will dominate the market in the next 5 years like the PS2 dominated previously. However, Nintendo’s Wii will outship and outsell the 360 and PS3 in 2007 and 2008.

Recommendation: Stock prices of Sony Corp took a hit after the company paid $150 million to end a patent dispute with Immersion Corp over technology used in its game consoles and as investors sold exporter stocks on a stronger yen. Surprizingly Nintendo Ltd stock prices have suffered after the the Japanese government decided to sell its stake, about 1.4 percent of the outstanding stock. Microsoft stock prices are also seeing more of red than green, mainly due to Vista and global market meltdown. However in the longer run, the company that will sell the most gaming console would be the clear winner at the stock market, which to me in Nintendo Wii.

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