Impress Watch, the Japanese gaming website, has been awfully busy since the start of TGS, and now they've began quite the rumor.
Written by Munechika Nishida, a contributor to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and Ultra One PC magazine, an article over at Impress Watch is the latest in its "Random Tracking" editorial series. It's a pretty in-depth piece, but one little nugget of information that leapt off the page involved the price of PS3 games. According to "multiple sources," the article lists the possible price range as 8,800 – 9,800 yen, which translates to about 75 – 84 USD. Now, bear in mind that the regular retail price of a PS2 game is about 6,800 yen (about $58), although it's been known to spike at 8,800 yen for the most popular titles.
Obviously, this requires some elaboration. Around E3, Sony was apparently planning to cut third-party developers some slack by lowering royalty costs. They believed users would be creating their own games online, and Sony couldn't possibly collect royalties on such titles. Therefore, Sony would offer third-parties a similar pricing structure, and the savings from royalty costs would be passed along to consumers in the form of lower game prices.
That's all very well and good, but it appears Sony's marketing approach has changed. The article states that the company has made "no progress" in the preparations for allowing users to create their own games. Now, necause they haven't managed to turn the PS3 into an open platform, sources speculate that they're switching to a more traditional business model. This model was utilized with both the PS1 and PS2, which involves selling the hardware for a lower price with any losses covered by software royalties.
This strategy alteration might cause us to see a change to Sony's plans for multiple PS3 SKUs. While Sony has announced that the 60 GB PS3 would constitute 80% of the system launch, this article suggests they may shift their focus to the lower-end system in an effort to adopt a single-SKU model. To support this idea, Nishida cites several software distributors who noticed a "change in Sony's marketing approach" at the end of August.
What does it all mean? Well, nothing yet. There was no indication of the price estimates affecting the U.S.; indeed, the aforementioned retail ranges haven't been confirmed for any region. But the subject content of this article is destined to warrant a clarification by Sony, so keep checking back for updates concerning this issue.