Does the MS/Sony SKU parade hurts sales? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-23, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Does the MS/Sony SKU parade hurts sales?

I started thinking about this in the PS3 BC thread but decided it was off-topic enough to deserve it's own thread.

Since I don't own any PS2 games BC doesn't really matter to me. That said, if this is coming it just seems to epitomize one of the things that I think Sony (and to a slightly lesser extent MS) have been really bad for this gen, their endless flip-flopping and revisions. Around here we keep track of things like this, but for the average consumer or the parent buying a console for their child this endless parade of SKUs must be very confusing.

Prior to the Slim, Sony had released six different PS3 SKUs in North America in three years (not including special editions, bundles, or colour changes), usually with two in production at any given time. This wouldn't be so bad except that none of them had a different name, they were all identified by their hard drive sizes and, to add to the confusion, a couple of SKUs shared hard drive sizes. On top of that, to make it more confusing, not all the revisions are necessarily considered "upgrades" over the previous sets thanks to the removal of certain features (notably BC and USB ports).

Sony seems to have gotten a chance to start over with their seventh SKU, the Slim. It has a new name and a new look which makes it easy to identify, and right now their is only a single SKU (with rumours of a 250GB on the way). Hopefully they will figure it out this time.

In the past 4 years Microsoft released two SKUs, added a third, revised and renamed one (Core to Arcade), and revised and then discontinued one (the Pro). Over four years this adds up to 5 different SKUs (again, not including SEs, bundles, or colour changes). IMO Microsoft tempered the consumer confusion by releasing these consoles with unique names, but their problem has been the consumer desire for specific chipsets, which are difficult to identify.

I think this has been one of the clear advantages of the Wii, and one of the reasons it has sold so well. Since launch it has had the same single SKU, reducing consumer confusion. While the goal is obviously to offer consumers choice, most parents don't want to have to learn all this stuff before they buy a console to surprise their children.

This is the first console generation to really see this. While previous generations had revisions, they generally only sold one at a time. So what do you think, do these choices hurt or help Sony and MS?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-23, 02:35 PM
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Sony far and away win the award for confusing their customers with the PS3.

Hopefully the slim keeps it simple. Bundle until the cows come home. Just leave the bloody hardware alone. (yes the 250GB HDD that bundles will get is a hardware change but I think we can handle that if that's the only change".
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-24, 06:42 PM
 
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I wouldn't mind seeing another hardware revision if it meant true PS2 backward compatibility.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-24, 08:03 PM
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Interesting OP and I agree with it all. Average people stay away from PC gaming because of how confusing it is. All these different versions are confusing in the same way. You see a console go on sale, but then you're not sure if that's the "right one" to get. Meanwhile you can go run to a store and lineup for a Wii and know you're choosing the right one for your kid/niece/friend.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-24, 11:21 PM
 
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I think that sales are hurt more by consumers constantly expecting the "better deal" to be just around the corner.

I was going to pick up a Slim as a second PS3. Now, knowing that a 250 GB is seemingly inevitable, I am waiting to buy.

If the changes occurred infrequently, it wouldn't matter. But how many bundles/deals has MS put out this year alone? 5 or 6?

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-24, 11:32 PM
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..and to make matters worse, MS is releasing a 250GB Elite bundle when Modern Warfare 2 comes out. This will also be the only way to grab a 250GB HDD.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-25, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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There have always been special editions. I remember the N64 was eventually released in a whole spectrum of colours (I remember a test on Nintendo's website to find the colour right for you) and the Gameboy colour had a special Pokemon edition. The different colours and special designs are nothing new and I don't think they're really a problem, which is why I didn't include the Halo 3 or RE5 360s or the MGS4 PS3 on my list.

The difference to me has been the different SKUs, which is something new. Previously all consoles came in one hardware standard. Sometimes, like the PS1 and PS2 they would get hardware refreshes, but these were every few years. This whole concept of multiple SKUs is new and is meant to add choice and allow for cheaper options to exist, but I think they just confuse consumers.

Now it seems like the hardware changes come every few months and I'm really trying not to pile on Sony here, but the fact that they have different features but have no real individual names blows my mind. Call them the PS3 LX and DX and change the names with hardware refreshes. Like I said before, they have another chance with the Slim, but somehow I suspect they haven't learned yet.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-25, 02:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorontoColin View Post
Sony seems to have gotten a chance to start over with their seventh SKU, the Slim. It has a new name and a new look which makes it easy to identify, and right now their is only a single SKU (with rumours of a 250GB on the way). Hopefully they will figure it out this time.
Sorry to be picky, but the new iteration of the PS3 does not have a new name. The console is still called "PlayStation 3". "Slim" is just a moniker that gaming journalists invented to describe the new model.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-25, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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You're right, I assumed it was a corporate name (I believe Sony themselves referred to it as the Slim at the unveiling) but stores all list it as just the PlayStation 3 120GB. Seems like a wasted opportunity not to brand it officially. At least it's (I think) the first SKU to include a 120GB HDD, but still the lack of the Slim moniker on listings and packaging really doesn't help reduce confusion...
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-25, 06:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prufrock View Post
I think that sales are hurt more by consumers constantly expecting the "better deal" to be just around the corner.

I was going to pick up a Slim as a second PS3. Now, knowing that a 250 GB is seemingly inevitable, I am waiting to buy.
You can always get a 120 slim and a bigger drive right now for most likely less than what the 250 slim will be ($399). Lots of 250 and bigger internal drives for the ps3 for pretty cheap. No reason to wait. And the swap is insanely easy.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-25, 07:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TorontoColin View Post
You're right, I assumed it was a corporate name (I believe Sony themselves referred to it as the Slim at the unveiling) but stores all list it as just the PlayStation 3 120GB. Seems like a wasted opportunity not to brand it officially. At least it's (I think) the first SKU to include a 120GB HDD, but still the lack of the Slim moniker on listings and packaging really doesn't help reduce confusion...
Oh, I agree. A friend of mine bought a new PS3 just recently based on my recommendation and was confused when the unit -- a slim -- looked different from my 60 GB model. He thought he bought a revamped PS2.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-25, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eimaj View Post
You can always get a 120 slim and a bigger drive right now for most likely less than what the 250 slim will be ($399). Lots of 250 and bigger internal drives for the ps3 for pretty cheap. No reason to wait. And the swap is insanely easy.
Agreed. What I am saying though is that knowing something better is constantly around the corner makes people hesitate. How many people are waiting for the first bundle before buying a Slim? Do you honestly think an Uncharted 2 bundle isn't coming?

As for Xbox 360, even some seemingly minor exclusives must be considered as essentially new SKUs. The RE Special Edition was a guaranteed Jasper. That was a huge selling point and helped it -- from what I've seen in EB stores -- sell out quickly.

Sure, not everyone is on top of these things, but there is that minority that is.

And we are easily annoyed.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-25, 08:04 PM
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Sorry to be picky, but the new iteration of the PS3 does not have a new name. The console is still called "PlayStation 3"
Actually, it isn't. It is now "PS3". It used to be "Playstation 3":



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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-29, 10:19 PM
 
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I have more of a beef with that on the Xbox side with all the different hardware revisions some of which might as well be landmines. My sister just bought an Xbox and in 2009 there are STILL non-HDMI Xbox 360's haunting the shelves of retailers.

There are no less than THREE different revisions of the Arcade on the shelves, Falcon + Memory Card, Jasper 256 and Jasper 512.

As far as PS2 compatibility goes, I think that has more to do with MIPS-III core royalties than anything else.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 2009-09-30, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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I could be wrong but I thought that all the arcade jaspers had the internal card.

I should also note that point though, that MS did revise the 360 to include HDMI ports and then other than the Elite, MS wasn't very clear about which ones did and didn't include it (although it does say on the box somewhere).

It's kind of hard to blame them for retailers being unable to move older units though.
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