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November 27, 2007

Activision CEO says console prices need to drop

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 4:04 PM

Activision today boosted its outlook for the December quarter and fiscal year on the strength of two hot games, "Call of Duty 4" and "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock."

CEO Bobby Kotick, perhaps feeling flush with that success, started dishing out advice to some other big players in the video game business.

At the Reuters Media Summit, Kotick suggested that Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 will have to come down in price to $199 to gain the mass-market appeal Nintendo has achieved with the Wii.

"The Wii at its [$250] price point is now setting a standard and an expectation, and people say, 'Well, the Wii is less complex technically.' I don't think that really matters as much to the consumer. ... In the next 24 months they all will need to be at that $199 price point, and you can imagine Nintendo will be down to the $129 price point over the next few years," Kotick said, according to this Reuters story.

The PS3 is down to $400 for the 40 gigabyte version. The Xbox 360's least-cost alternative is $280.

Meanwhile, Nintendo executives are again banging the scarcity gong and reporting the best week of Wii sales since the console hit the market. Here's Reggie Fils-Aime from an AP story: "I couldn't find a single Wii system on the shelves -- literally as I was walking into a Wal-Mart at 11 a.m., someone was walking out with the last one."

I wonder if that shopper thanked Reggie.

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