The latest notes from Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter and simExchange's Jesse Divnich have seen both analysts predicting the imminent price drop of the 80GB model PlayStation 3 to the 60GB's price of $499, as the latter model disappears from retail channels.
"We note that Sony recently acknowledged that it will no longer produce its 60Gb PS3," said Pachter, "and we expect the price of the 80Gb PS3 to be reduced to $499 before the holidays, maintaining a premium SKU at that price point."
Pachter says the drop "could serve as a catalyst for sales growth later in the year," and predicts that Sony could "again be in a position to cut the price of the PS3 in early 2008, when blockbuster games Grand Theft Auto IV and PS3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4 will launch."
Jesse Divnich from fantasy video game prediction market simExchange has said much the same, adding that "after examining more closely the hardware sales of the PS3 over the last 6 months we have come to the conclusion that the PS3 cannot remain competitive in the current North American environment at its current retail offering at $499 and $599."
"To remain competitive against the other consoles," said Divnich, "the Sony PS3 would have to reduce its 80GB SKU by $100 down to $499. Other options, besides a price drop, could be the bundling of more free software titles, which has always been a popular option during the Holiday season."
Divnich notes that PS3 trading on simExchange shows the Xbox 360 "on path to outsell the PS3 by over 2 to 1 this holiday season (Oct/Nov/Dec)," but says "from our perspective, Sony has no choice but to make some type of move this holiday season, regardless of the financial loss that may occur."
"We are confident," Divnich concludes, "that through the coming months, Sony will make the correct decisions to prevent the gap between the PS3 and the Xbox 360 to widen."