Is the PlayStation 3 in trouble?
According to industry research group NPD Funworld, console sales were up 56 percent in April, to $239.4 million.
The Nintendo Wii sold 360,000 units. The PS2 sold 194,000 and the Xbox 360 had 174,000 sales.
The PS3? Just 82,000. Worse, there were no PS3 titles on NPD's top 10 software chart.
And here's the bigger problem. Of all the major console and handheld game units in the U.S homes, PS3 is last.
There's PS2 at 38.2 million homes, GameBoy Advance at 35.7 million, GameCube at 11.7 million, Nintendo DS at 10.9 million, PSP at 7.4 million, 360 at 5.4 million, Wii at 2.5 million...and PS3 at 1.3 million.
A low installed base means there's less audience to buy software. I'm sure game makers like Electronic Arts just love that.
These are not good signs for what is, unquestionably, the best videogame console out there.
The problem, of course, is the $599 PS3 costs too much, but I don't think it's dead yet.
There are rumors of a price drop, by as much as $200, though I think a $100 drop is more likely. That'll help.
Last week, Sony introduced an update to the PS3 that will allow it to upscale PS2 games and DVD movies to 1080P resolution for HDTV. What that means is, if you have an HDTV, the PS3 will make your videogames and old DVDs look much better.
For HDTV owners, the PS3 is a bargain. You get games, you get an excellent Blu-Ray DVD player and now you get upconversion for older games and movies. With Blu-Ray players running up to $1,000, I would choose PS3 in a heartbeat. It makes for an excellent HD-DVD solution and can deliver some awe-inspiring graphics for gaming.
Even if you don't have an HDTV, if you're thinking of buying one, the PS3 is, to me, a must-have appliance.
Again, I think the biggest problem with PS3 is price. Once that comes down, Sony will be fine.