Now that Sony has revealed the price drop for the PS2, we may be seeing the final hardware push for the aging machine. Sony also mentioned in the press release that they're looking to appeal more to the casual gaming crowd with new PS2 software – the price drop announcement itself is tailor-made for the growing number of casual gamers – which means…yep, it means it may be in direct competition with the Nintendo Wii.
Sony made specific mention of producing new PS2 games "that appeal to families and casual gamers looking for social entertainment experiences." And with the new and very attractive price tag, this could drop the PS2 into the same league as the Wii; they could be considered to cater to similar demographics. During a recent GamesIndustry.biz interview with SCEA Director of Hardware Marketing John Koller, it seems clear that Sony might want to snag a little of the Wii's market share away with this move. Said Koller:
"Yes, we do think the $99 price point could steal some share [from Wii]. From a technological standpoint, the Wii is much closer to the PS2 than it is to the next-gen consoles. It's obviously not an HD box and the software development is on a par with where PS2 development is, so that's a much more realistic and similar demographic."
Koller admits that Nintendo has done a "fantastic job of capturing young and female" gaming audiences, and if the PS2 wants to compete in that category, it has some work to do. And of course, the PS2 doesn't have that nifty motion sensing that has the entire non-gaming gadget-loving world in a tizzy. On the other hand, $99 for some great party games seems like a decent offer, and Sony is banking on that for continued success with their last-generation console.
Feel free to read that whole interview; they even talk a bit about PlayStation 3 pricing. They don't seem to mention the fact that it has already happened , though. Odd…