Sony's big problem is price, especially in the present economic climate. In the USA, the PS3 costs $399, compared with $199 for the cheapest 360, the hard-drive-less Arcade. In the UK, the 360 Arcade is £129.99 and has gone for as little as £99.99 at retailers such as Zavvi, while a PS3 costs from £280.
The PS3's unique selling point, the Blu-ray drive for high-definition (HD) films, looks less compelling now that cheaper standalone players have emerged, and customers are reluctant to shell out for suitably large HD screens that they need to enjoy the full benefit. Microsoft cut 360 prices aggressively in September, but Sony did not follow its lead, telling analysts that it is putting profitability ahead of market share.