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Well, the pricing and release info for the PS3 is finally in. Sony will be releasing two different versions of the system (similar to what Microsoft did with the XBox 360), and just like with the 360 they’ve made sure that anybody who is a gamer and actually has a brain would instantly spurn the cheaper choice. The two choices are:

Release Date: November 14th, 2006

Full Package w/ 60GB Hard Drive: $600 (a.k.a. $599)

Package w/ 20GB Hard Drive: $500 (a.k.a. $499)

Now, you might be saying that you would be willing to take the cheaper one. It just has a smaller hard drive, right? Wrong! Sony may be emphasizing that the main difference is the size of the hard drive, but in reality the cheaper one will lack support for Memory Sticks, SD and Compact Flash cards, it will have no built-in Wi-Fi, and will not have HDMI output (sorry, no 1080p resolution for you). What can be inferred by this is that once Blu-ray technology takes off you also won’t be able to watch those lovely movies in high definition. This is because the HDCP (i.e. copy protection) signal can’t go across a component connection, only HDMI and specialized DVI. If you try and watch one of the new high definition Blu-ray movies that carries the HDCP signal through a connection that doesn’t properly handle it (such as standard component), the output of the movie will be downgraded to 480p. While Microsoft may have screwed you a little bit, Sony is screwing you a lot. Anything you did without if you bought the cheaper XBox 360 (such as lack of a hard drive, wireless controller, etc.) could be purchased later and added on to your existing system. It sucks that you have to buy them separately, and you’d end up spending more than you should have, but you wouldn’t have to buy a new system. With the PS3 you will be forced to buy a new system if you want any of those missing features, because you won’t be able to upgrade your existing one (with the possible exception of the hard drive; I haven’t heard if the drive is internal or external, but I believe it is internal, i.e. non-upgradable (at least conventionally)).

So what does this mean for me? It means that this will most likely mark the beginning of something kinda unfamiliar to me: not buying a system until it goes way down in price. Since I can’t in good conscience buy the cheaper system knowing that I’d just have to buy the other one later (I’m not that much of an idiot), and since $600 is an insane price for a new system (even one that plays high definition movies), I’m going to simply have to let this one slide for a while. When I picked up my XBox 360 I had to trade in two of my other systems and several games just to bring the price point down to a reasonable level, and the original price of the 360 was only (and I can’t believe I’m saying “only”) $400! I now remember something that I saw on IGN. I believe they were reporting on a conference with on of the Sony execs. In regards to the possible price point, he said that their intention was to bring a console to the market that people would be willing to work extra to be able to get it, on that was so great that people would go to extra lengths to be able to afford it. Well guess what? I have yet to see any system launch that would cause me to drop $600+ on it. It just doesn’t happen. And I’m no fool about this either. It’s not really going to be just $600; once you add insurance for your new system (at least $50), at least one game (at least $60), and then tax for the lot ($42.60), the grand total coming out of your pocket is $752.60.

For me, I personally have been pining after those DirecTV HD Tivo units for a while now, units that after a couple years have finally come down from $1000 to $500. I think I personally would be far more likely to spend my money on it. After looking at the PS3, the price doesn’t seem nearly as bad.

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