June’s NPD hardware sales figures are out and they reveal that the PlayStation 3 sold just over 164,000 consoles with the Xbox 360 selling 240,600 units in the same period. The Wii was again the leader with 361,000 sales.

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The Sony corporation are finding themselves with a large problem in the form of their PlayStation 3 console.

Internal Problems
It appears that they still can’t make money based on the consoles current price and as a result, despite intense pressure, are refusing to drop the price further. The PS3 has been at its current retail price for such a long time that it now looks very expensive, even the long-standing argument that you get a ‘free’ Blu-ray player included with the PS3 no longer washes, especially when a stand-alone Blu-ray player can be had for around £120 or less. Sure you get integrated wireless connectivity and free online gaming with the PS3, but not everybody wants these, nor are they essential to the PS3 gaming experience. As well as the perceived lack of value that the PS3 provides, the persistent rumours of a impending price reduction and/or a slim version are sure to keep potential buyers from making a purchase any time soon. Sony therefore has a dilemma. Reduce the price to enable them to keep existing and attract new customers to the Sony brand but loose money in the process, or leave the price alone, loose a minimum amount on each unit but risk loosing customers to main rival Microsoft and their Xbox 360 console. From a financial perspective at least they will sell fewer units with the latter options and therefore loose less money, although at the detriment to long term strategy due to the erosion of the PlayStation user base, something that needs to be avoided in the competitive games console world.

Microsoft Problems
Despite the PS3′s current woes, I think the biggest problem for Sony is yet to come. I think this problem will come from Microsoft in the form of a new Xbox console much sooner than anyone is expecting. Such a product, released as a successor to the Xbox 360, would surely be the worst possible news for Sony. The hype of a new console and the demand that this creates would not only steal buyers away from Sony but it would cement the current generation of Xbox users firmly in the Microsoft camp, especially if full backwards compatibility is included. Judging by the furore over the lack of PS3 backward compatibility it would surely be crazy to overlook this feature. A further knock on effect of a new Xbox would be that developers may, in light of falling hardware (and hence software sales), drop the Sony platform altogether to concentrate on the new Microsoft console. That it is a well-known fact that the PS3 is hard to write software for will only make dropping support for it more likely. This is only my opinion, but a new Microsoft console brought to market in the next 18 months would be perfect timing for Microsoft and could cause irreparable damage to Sony’s gaming division. It could even spell the end for the PlayStation series of gaming machines and this is something that any consumer should not want to see.

Final Thoughts
Maybe the rumoured Slim PS3 will become a reality and be used as a tool to counteract a possible attack from Microsoft? Sony’s current stance of doing nothing certainly won’t work for much longer. Monopolies are no good for anyone, except the company with the monopoly. Windows operating system anyone?

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Is Sony throwing free games at the consumer instead of a price cut? US retailer Best Buy is to release a special PS3 bundle next Sunday which contains the PS3 80GB console, Killzone 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 for the same price as the console on its own. Bad news for anyone who bought a PS3 recently although with a slim version rumoured to be on the way we’re not sure if this is the best deal going. You might be better to wait as your big fat PS3 value’s would plummet once the new one arrives.

Rumours are suggesting that the PlayStation 3 might get two additional downloadable content packages for Grand Theft Auto IV, PS3 Informer are reporting that one of the new packs will be named Blood and a Four Leaf Clover and will focus on the Irish family Nico helped in the first episode. It will also be available on the Xbox 360. There was no news on the other pack but this could be The Lost and the Damned Xbox 360 exclusive which was previously reported as coming to the PS3 when Mcrosoft’s exclusivity deal runs out later this year.

More news as we get it.

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Reports are surfacing that Sony has filed a patent to cover an ‘Emotion Engine Emulation system’ that is capable of being used with the PS3’s Cell Processor.

The Emotion Engine was the name given to the chip in the original 60GB PS3’s that allowed it to become backwards compatible with the previous generation PS2 games. This technology was subsequently removed from later versions of the console in the name of cost cutting.

It looks as though Sony has found a cheaper way of incorporating the technology into the PS3 though some sort of software emulation. Maybe we’ll see it appear soon, possible in the much rumoured slim PS3 sometime later this year?

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At the E3 conference today Sony has been showing off its new motion controller for the PS3, due for release early next year.

The demo consisted of a Sony engineer waving the controller around with a monitor replicating his movement but, instead of showing the controller, it displayed of objects including a tennis racquet, sword, Japanese fan and a torch.

The demo also exhibited a two controller swordfight as well as two motion controllers being used to handle virtual toy building blocks. Perhaps the most impressive demo was the ability to write free-hand with the new motion controllers.

We look forward to more details in the coming days and weeks.

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Visit Gadgets-4-Free and get your Free PS3!

Sony has announced a new PS3 bundle including the action game Infamous. The package consists of the PS3 80GB, a DualShock 3 controller and the game. So far the package has only been confirmed for the United Kingdom. It will retail at the standard console price of £299 but includes the game.

The game is due to be released on 26th May in the U.S. and 29th May in Europe. The bundle will hit the shelves on the same day.

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Warner Bros. have announced a 2-disc special Director’s Cut edition of the Watchmen Blu-ray release which will include the full version of the PS3 video game Watchmen: The End is Nigh. The movie is expected to be released on 21 July, although no price has yet been announced for the combo.

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Pictures have been leaked of a slim PS3, adding fuel to the rumours that such a product will be announced at the E3 electronics show in June.

I’d say the pictures are fake. The product looks cheap and unprofessional and not up to the quality you’d expect from the likes of Sony. I know they want to cut costs, but surely not this much, especially considering the quality look of the current PS3 (although the design is a little hideous).

I think the big E3 announcement (which is coming) will be about some sort of Wii style motion controller. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Pictures here courtesy of afterdawn.

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Media Create figures reveal that the Sony PlayStation 3 weekly sales figures for week ending 3 May were again ahead of the Wii and Xbox 360. The PS3 sold 23,500 units against 21,500 for the Wii and just 7,300 for the Xbox 360. This is the third week in a row that the PS3 has been ahead of the competition. Good news for Sony and probably bad news for those hoping for a price cut.

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