In a recent issue of the Japanese magazine Famitsu, the father of the Playstation Ken Kutaragi was quoted as saying: "If you consider the PlayStation 3 a toy, then yes, it is an expensive toy. However, it is more than a toy. It is a PlayStation 3. And it is the only PlayStation 3. I hope that those who understand this will gladly purchase it."
This would seem to corroborate SCEE's recent admittance that the next-gen system was not priced for mass market appeal. Of course, Kutaragi has a point – the Cell processor and other features make the PS3 capable of performing all sorts of high-end media functions and you're really getting all the bang for your buck at $500-$600.
The problem seems to lie in convincing the consumer that Sony is going to fully back up all of its promises. They pledged similar media support with the launch of the PS2 and besides the obvious DVD playback capabilities, Sony eventually just went back to promoting it as a gaming machine. Much touted online services and HDD functionality never really came to fruition and, let's face it, who ever uses their PS2 to play audio CDs?
Also look to the PSP for more examples. They still haven't followed through with their Sony Connect service or made any significant strides towards improving the portable's capacity. Instead, we get stuck with minor updates that make a difference mainly to net-savvy tech hounds who know how to take advantage of different sound playback formats and the like.
If Kutaragi's statement is an accurate reflection of the whole company's core goals with the Playstation 3, even the price shouldn't be able to hurt expectations, but it would seem to be a do or die situation when actually putting their various plans into action. Nintendo's Wii is getting a lot more attention despite its distinct toy-like feel and Sony needs to be able to combat that by delivering on the admittedly grandiose promises.