Sony PlayStation 2 selling for USD$99.99 – Desperate measures for desperate times


Living thru the 8-bit era to the current gen is exciting for the simple reason that we can see the titans clashing it out for video game console supremacy. With all that chicken little screams of the sky falling down with regard to the global recession (and doomed depression), even something serious such as entertainment requires an earnest review.

Currently, there are 3 major players in the console field. While my all-time favourite console maker, Sega has already shifted its business direction towards software development and publishing and its last console, the Dreamcast was already dropped since 2001 (even Sega now doesn’t have the capital for R&D, marketing, software exclusives to compete with the seemingly deep pockets of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment), the shift in balance of the powers have seen the most bizarre situations for the current console manufacturers.

I’d gotten a PS2 90006 version in 2008 (I think not for the best deal either, at RM699.00 for a region-free mod system– because no Sony Style shops stock the virgin PS2s any longer as of early 2008)  and in hindsight, should’ve really waited for enough dough to accumulate before shelling out for a current gen system. It matters to get the really best deal – so I’d reckon a PS3 should be the ideal candidate. Microsoft’s X-Box 360 is not official merchandise in Malaysia, so don’t expect dedicated support and the real deal. If your Uncle Wong shop cannot repair your modded hardware (I think the X-Box 360 is selling for RM1,400.00 now), there goes your investment. Aside from money considerations, I won’t mind paying more for quality stuff but I’m still not drawn to even buying a PS3 just yet.

After gathering some views from friends who do own the PS3, many wish that the games are a whole lot cheaper. I tend to agree. My own experience with the PS2 is largely the same. I go to for original games not sold in Malaysia at your regular Mr. Chin shop, like Okami, God of War II. Paying for these games hardly put a dent on my finances but really, these games should not need to cost so much even if (or because of it being ) on the internet. I enjoyed playing these games and do recommend it for the casual gamer to appraise for themselves but my point is that there are only so much games you can play during the week (I’m thinking that my readers are of the working class and working their asses off for that coveted paycheck at the end of the month in legitimate ways), so you can’t finish these games over a weekend, unless all you did was play these games and come to work on Monday in those clothes you wore on Friday night.

Sony might be missing a point here when they decided to slash the PS2’s price to just under USD$100.00.

Retrospective gaming has its virtues – nothing wrong with revisiting those PS2 hits which I suspect that most of the gaming world might have missed at some point or rather. There’s all that talk about Sony capitalising on the fact that it has just moved a oft-mentioned world-record 150 million units globally this year. A healthy installed base, in my opinion, is no guarantee that the software attach rate is comparable. Gamers like you and me yearn for the latest software. I didn’t get the chance to play ‘Fallout 3’. Hearing my cousin E and brother talking about the game is hard to take because none of my hardware is capable of playing this game. This is just an example.

But Sony is continuously touting its extensive PS2 software library reaching 1,900 titles this year. Big deal. More than half of that can’t be bought easily off the shelves, I reckon. Buying online is quite feasible but there’s this gnawing thing about internet shopping that I can’t easily roll off the tongue. I can’t even get ‘Baldur’s Gate : Dark Alliance’ Greatest Hits on play-asia either. So, what gives? You can claim a library loaded with ancient archives, Sony, but you can’t beat the fact that there are just that many games which can be deemed worthwhile to buy and play. And when gamers do find the game(s) they like –they found out that the disparity between demand for current software and that elusive old game has left them high and dry. Roll out those ‘Greatest Hits’, Sony. All of them. The tag is not there for purely marketing purpose. Of course, there are fantastic games out there like GTA:San Andreas and Resident Evil 4 and worth a shot on PS2 but, really, not all games are that good are they? Besides, when these games first came out – chances are a great many gamers would have tried it out already. What odds are there for them to revisit an old game?

Marry this with the painful fact that the PS2 is the oldest surviving console today meant that its outdated technology can’t replicate its ambitious hopes of bringing home current gen title’s ports to the PS2. I’ve tried Tomb Raider: Underworld for PS2. Yes, it’s a commendable effort, not least because the graphics are somewhat attractive to look at. That’s just really scratching the surface, though. My bro watching me play TR:U was constantly pointing out the fact that ‘this part is so damn simple – you play the PC version and see.’ Well thank you very much! So happened I got this PS2 and I’ve to stick with it now, see? Yes, Tomb Raider: Underworld for PS2 is a simplified version of the current gen’s versions. A lot is toned down to accommodate PS2’s hardware limitations. Even the DVD format can’t contain that much data to make up for its lack of visual joy. Does Sony take a cue from this? PES 2009 for the PS2 is nothing different from its previous instalments. FIFA 2009 for the console is also not fun to play with – it’s almost like Tecmo Soccer or those old arcade cabinet soccer fun.

Now, even Sony has decided to focus the God of War franchise on the PS3. What does that tell you? I’ll tell you what. The best deal is this – Sony cuts the price of the PS3 in Malaysia to RM999 and we’ve got a deal. Raise the game’s prices if you must but lower the console price. All of us want beautiful things in life – real hard to imagine any self-respecting gamer saying that they’re happy to stick with their PS2s way past their sell-by date.

Having said that – it’s not all doom and gloom! If Sony says that it will support and predict that the PS2 is going strong until 2010 – that’s fine by me, provided, of course that the PS3 does have a price slash at the end of that period ;-p

Yes, the idea is that Sony’s machine is the one to go for in the future. I won’t want an X-box 360 for purely after-sales support reasons. It’s too unreasonable to shell out over a grand only to get that red ring of death because you got conned. Besides, since when has Microsoft been big in hardware? If not for their depthless vaults of cash reserves, you can bet that they might be doing a Sega now. And really X-Box 360 controllers – those are lousy. It may be a matter of control but hand peripherals that make you sweat in even an air-conditioned room is a big turnoff.

So, for a win-win situation – Sony has to price down the PS3. Man, then Bill Gates would launch X-Box 720 or something like that.



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