Can Sony's next-generation video game machine really be twice the price of Microsoft's? You better believe it. Sony announced yesterday ahead of the E3 conference in Los Angeles that its PlayStation 3 will come in two versions: one with a 60GB hard-disk drive that will go for $599, and another with a 20GB drive for $499. That makes PS3 the most expensive of Sony's game consoles so far, and puts it well above Microsoft's Xbox 360, which goes for $299 (without a hard drive, or $399 with a built-in drive). There's no telling how much Nintendo's Wii console will go for but the company has typically kept prices low.
Sony will have to show that its machine is head-and-shoulders above its rivals--that is, if consumers don't automatically stay away because of the price. The PS3 certainly won't lack goodies. Much of the details of its specs are already out. But the company did reveal something new: PS3's wireless controller (seven of them can be used at one time) will come with technology that detects the movement of a player's hands and translates that to on-screen action.
Still, Sony will have to sell loads of PS3s to recoup its investment. Analysts have speculated that it could cost Sony as much as $900 to make each console--and the company said during its earnings announcement two weeks ago that it expects its games unit to rack up an operating loss of nearly $1 billion this year.