The Sony boss says that quality will always trump cost with the consumer.
Speaking to Fast Company, SCE America CEO Jack Tretton said that while price can help sell a new console, it’s not the determining factor at retail.
“I don’t think price makes or kills a platform,” said Tretton. “Something that’s lousy, that’s very inexpensive, is not going to be successful, and something that’s pricey will ultimately find its audience if there’s enough value there.”
Tretton compared consoles to portables like the iPhone, pointing out that many people have not been deterred by the high cost of Apple's various products.
"People are used to spending several hundreds of dollars to get a portable device," he continued. "I think in the long run, when you look at that total investment in a platform, the amount of money you spend on the hardware is a relatively small percentage of the total investment."
While I agree with Tretton that content is king, many people still think that the PS3's $599 launch price was a mistake. The entry cost was too high for many consumers, and the platform didn’t really start selling until later in its life cycle. It’s a little worrying hearing these comments coming from Tretton, since the new Sony handheld NGP does not yet have an announced price. My guess right now is that it might be a bit higher than what we’d like to see.