Japanese analysts want PS3 price cut

Analysts in Japan still predict Sony will give PS3 a price cut this year, even though the firm may be about to reveal encouraging profit forecasts.

"We think Sony will find it hard to get through the financial year (which began this month) without cutting the price of the console, and expect further game segment losses of over $1 billion during that period," said researchers from investment firm, Nomura, who's researchers still expect the PS3 losses to continue for the short term.

In the report Nomura estimates that Sony has sold only half of the six million PS3s it has manufactured to date. "In the six months the PS3s was on sale up to March 31 (though for only one month in Europe) it sold 3 million units. To boost that substantially in the fiscal year without lowering prices would in our view need major software hits.

"We do not see the necessary drawing power in the title pipeline at this point," said analyst Eiichi Katayama. "We expect Sony to take measures to increase market penetration of PS3 hardware, including extending the software line-up, and expect to review our medium-term estimates for the game segment if and when such measures come into view."

Clearly, it's all about the games then. "We think losses in the game segment are temporary and expect its earnings to improve," Nomura's analysts added. "That said, we think the extent of profit growth in the segment will hinge on how well the PlayStation3 sells at the expected price and the launch of titles for it."

April 16, 2007