NVIDIA boss on PS3 pricing plans

Priced to sell.

Speculation over the price of the PlayStation 3 has been fuelled this week by the appearance of comments from NVIDIA chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang, who compared his firm's new approach to graphics card pricing to Sony's PS2 plans.

Sony Computer Entertainment boss Ken Kutaragi has repeatedly hinted that the PS3 is going to be priced at a premium level - famously commenting that he wanted it to be a device consumers would be prepared to work overtime to afford.

However, Huang's comments about the pricing are more vague - and seem to suggest that Sony's focus is, as with previous consoles, about finding the right price point to encourage sales rather than being directly concerned with manufacturing costs.

Responding to a question in a Beyond3D interview about the price point of the new GeForce 7800 graphics part, Huang said: "We need to price it at a level the enthusiasts will buy it at, that's the way that we think about pricing."

"We think about the pricing of this in the same way that Sony thinks about PlayStation 3's," he continued. "Its not about how much is costs, its about what is the price it needs to sell at, and we need to figure out how to make money underneath that."

Sony's consoles have so far been sold at a loss for the early part of their lifespan in an attempt to build up an installed base quickly, but the hardware has gradually become profitable as the manufacturing costs drop off more rapidly than the price cuts at the consumer end.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 is expected to launch later this year at a price point of roughly $300, although some sources have suggested that Ken Kutaragi's repeated allusions to a high PS3 price point could be pushing Microsoft to ponder a higher launch price.

The PlayStation 3, which will launch in spring 2006 in some territories, will have more built-in functionality than its rival - but whether that will justify a significantly higher price tag for many consumers is a theory that has yet to be tested.

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