At least one retailer says that Sony is on the verge of announcing the first official price drop for its next-gen console, but Sony this morning is denying the reports.
News of a possible pricecut first hit when a scan leaked onto the web of a Circuit City advertisement touting an upcoming PS3 promotion. The normally $599 60GB version of the console would be getting a $100 price slash, pushing it down to $499. (Which, if combined with the recent "Five Free Disc" offer announced by the Blu-ray Disc Association, makes for a doubly good deal for Blu-ray fns).
Though there was no indication whether the new price for the PS3 was direct from Sony or just specific to Circuit City (raising an eyebrow is the fact that the promotion is only scheduled to run from July 15 through 21), it was still enough to get the rumor spreading like gangbusters.
Now, GameBizDaily is reporting that they have received direct confirmation from one of the "world's biggest retailers" (albeit unnamed) that the $499 PS3 price is indeed a retail-wide, permanent price cut instituted directly by Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA).
The site goes on to say that the source also stated that the new price point is scheduled to go into effect beginning July 12, with most advertising reflecting the change set to begin circulating on July 15.
Should this news prove to be true, it comes at crucial -- and very opportune -- time for the PlayStation 3. While more than 3.6 million of the console have been sold worldwide since launch, sales for console still lag considerably behind Nintendo's Wii, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and even the six-year-old PlayStation 2 -- with most pegging the PS3's higher price tag as the culprit.
The rumor also comes only a month after Sony's own president Ryoji Chubachi hinted at a possible discount in the PS3's future, telling the Japanese press that the company "does not rule out the possibility of lowering the price" of the PlayStation 3. He went on to elaborate that Sony was "planning to assess" the current market before announcing any decision.
UPDATE: (10:50am ET) In a just-published interview with Reuters, Sony President Ryoji Chubach denied these most recent rumors of a pricecut, saying "at present we have no plans" to lower the game console's price.
So which is it: A pricecut? No pricecut? A Circuit City-only price cut? Time will only tell... Stay tuned.