The SKU circus

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by cenotaph, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. cenotaph

    cenotaph GBAtemp Fan

    Oct 24, 2006
    United States
    One of the things that has held me off buying one of the so-called next-gen consoles (PS3, 360) is what I'd like to call the SKU circus. SKU stands, for the uninitiated, for Stock Keeping Unit and is (quoting wikipedia) "a unique identifier for each of the distinct products and services that can be ordered from a supplier" - a more business oriented term for different products, i.e. the the 60G PS3 and the 40G PS3 constitute two different SKUs.

    The SKU circus is, in short, this obsession Microsoft and Sony seem to have with introducing new models (or SKUs) at different prices with differing functionality. At the moment, there are five different PS3 SKUs in the wild:

    - The original 20G PS3 (with EE+GS), now discontinued in the US but still on sale in Japan
    - The original 60G PS3 (with EE+GS), discontinued in the US but still on sale in Japan
    - The european 60G PS3 (with software emulation of EE, GS), on sale in PAL regions but will supposedly be discontinued (?).
    - The 80G PS3 (with software emulation of the EE, GS), on sale in the US, Korea, Singapore, Hong-Kong, Mexico (but to be introduced in PAL regions, Japan).
    - The 40G PS3 (without GS, hence no backwards compatibility whatsoever), on sale in Europe, Japan, soon in the US.

    And the 360 is even worse:

    - Core (no HDD, no HDMI, no wireless), formerly the base line model. Was on sale everywhere, but is now discontinued.
    - Arcade (no HDD, HDMI, wireless), the new baseline model, to go on sale worldwide.
    - Premium (20G HDD, no HDMI, wireless), no longer available
    - Zephyr Premium (20G HDD, HDMI, wireless), available worldwide.
    - Falcon Premium (20G HDD, HDMI, wireless), very little is known about it, but supposedly in the wild. Runs cooler as a result of the 65nm manufacturing process.
    - Elite (120G HDD, HDMI, wireless), available worldwide.

    Note: there might be other models with Falcon motherboards, information is scarce right now.

    And now we're going to have yet another 360 SKU as Microsoft is planning to introduce HD tv tuners in some models.

    As a consumer I dislike this as I have no idea whether I'm getting my money's worth. If another SKU is introduced tomorrow at the same price as the one I bought today, with more functionality - I'm obviously not. The whole point of console platforms is hardware conformity, and this thing with introducing multiple SKUs with different hardware screws that up. There have already been cases with incompatibility in regards to the Xbox 360 Core as a result of Microsoft's decision not to ship it with a hard drive. What says there aren't going to be PS3 games that utilize the EE and/or GS for calculations (Rare games on SNES did some calculations on the SPC700 sound chip, so the idea isn't new)?

    When are we going to see a de-facto SKU for these two consoles? What do you think?
  2. legendofphil

    legendofphil Phil no Densetsu

    Nov 19, 2002
    The 360 SKUs are better, they add features/upgrades and don't take things away like with the PS3.

    There have always been hardware changes in consoles
    Sony are trying to save money, MS are updating their tech.

    The only reason MS is adding hardware features is because they jumped the gun and got caught short (HDMI, cooling, etc). In an effort to boast sales they had a cheaper SKU without a HDD (a mistake really) but didn't produce many of them, most gamers wanted the HDD.

    Sony want to strip out the things they consider to be not required. So far they have removed 1 HDMI port, 2 gigabit ethernet ports (from original design), 2 USB ports, PS2 hardware and memory card slots. Not much else left to go, maybe installing a smaller HDD again.

    EDIT: Early adopters usually envy the lower prices and more reliable technology of later releases like with the 360, thats not the case with the PS3, although the lower price is nice, whats been stripped out can make the difference in price moot.
  3. hollabackitsobi

    hollabackitsobi GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Jul 10, 2007
    United States
    I COMPLETELY agree. Buying a console has never before been this confusing for the consumer, and I wholeheartedly believe that along with the increased prices, the sheer number of SKUs and the question "will what I bought be made obsolete by something better tomorrow?". Sony is the MAIN culprit in the U.S., creating and discontinuing SKUs like it's a fashion statement.

    One reason I think the Wii is raping everything and the PS2 is selling so well is because consumers want something easy to understand. You know what you're getting with a Wii or PS2 or PSP or DS, and there's no wondering whether your choice has an HDMI port, comes with wireless controllers, how many memory card or USB ports it has, whether it's backwards compatible with past games, how big it's hard drive is, or what have you.

    To end all this, I propose a SINGLE 360 SKU with a 60GB HDD, HDMI, wireless, BUILT IN WiFi (come on Microsoft, no one wants to pay $100 for something the Wii, PSP, DS, and PS3 offer FREE, plus having to pay for Xbox Live, which again, everyone else has for FREE) and get rid of the RRoD problems.

    For the PS3 I propose a 60GB model with everything it has now, retaining the backwards compatibility and everything. Companies need to stop discontinuing and releasing SKUs and confusing consumers.

    It would also make sense to offer the 60GB model and a base model(20GB) for each console, leading to two SKUs. I can sort of understand why there are so many, being as how consoles are now getting closer to being full fledged PCs and not just dedicated gaming consoles. A 60GB model and a base model would provide for the consumer who wants it straight (60GB) and the consumer strapped on cash (20GB). Plus, making it so that you can swap out HDDs would be beneficial, as a 500GB HDD I've seen on Newegg for aboout $100, and I think it's preposterous that companies like Sony charge $100 more for a measly 20GB increase in storage space.

    God that was a long rant, and I still have some left in me. Now back to Calculus, damn. [​IMG]