Fallout from the November sales data continues to mount for Sony and its PlayStation family. CNNMoney's Silicon Alley Insider column pulled no punches in its assessment of the numbers calling the PS3 "A sinking ship" in light of its sales declining 19 percent compared to what it did last year. While that's a bit melodramatic, it's hard to argue with their conclusion that the PS3 needs a price cut soon, and a substantive one at that. Ten year lifespan or not, it stands on the brink of falling behind the Xbox 360 by an insurmountable margin.
The article attributes the PS3's struggles to three key reasons: its higher price tag, no one caring that it plays Blu-Ray, and the lack of system selling software. Acknowledging the price issue, the other two fall into a much more gray area. Blu-Ray shows more signs of life with each month that passes since it won the HD format war. Netflix announced at the beginning of December that it had seen a dramatic rise in Blu-ray renters, hitting its year-end target over a month early, and that's in spite of an extra fee they added for the format. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president David Bishop also said in a recent interview with Home Media Magazine that Blu-ray sales are growing at a rate of 200 to 300 percent over last year's figures.
Admittedly, the question of whether the PS3 has a library of must-have titles is more subjective. But dismissing Metal Gear Solid 4, LittleBIGPlanet, Resistance 1 and 2, and Uncharted alone is a little hard to swallow. Regardless, there's no denying either the momentum the Xbox 360 continues to enjoy in this head-to-head rivalry or the gargantuan sales the Wii racks up. Whatever the short-term accounting implications, the signs increasingly indicate that Sony can not afford to watch $400 PS3s sitting on shelves much longer.