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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
PlayStation fights falling sales
Alfred Hermida
By Alfred Hermida
BBC News Online technology editor

Sony will have to face up to falling demand for its PlayStation 2 games console in the future, say analysts.

Figures from the Japanese electronics giant showed a rough three months for the console, with shipments of the PS2 down by almost two million, compared to the same time last year.

"It will start to slow naturally," said Adrian Drozd, managing analyst at Datamonitor. "Most people who want a games console already have one."

But he said Sony should not be worried by the latest figures as the PS2 is still the undisputed king of the console market.

Sony has said the console shipments are in line with expectations.

It points to the continuing success of its games as a sign that it has increased its share of the market.

Price points

More than 50 million PS2s have been shipped since the console was launched in Japan in March 2000.

PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2 - 51.2 million
GameCube - 9.55 million
Xbox - 9.4 million

By comparison, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox, are languishing around the 10 million mark.

Sony's rivals may take some satisfaction from the figures showing a slowdown in sales of the PS2.

Shipments of the console dropped by 42% to 2.65 million units for the April to June period, compared to the same time in 2002.

The large drop is partly due to bumper sales of the console this time last year. A wave of drastic price cuts led to a surge in demand as people snapped up the machines.

This year, prices have remained more or less static, so it is hardly surprising that sales are down compared to 2002.

"The PlayStation had a very good period last year," explained Mr Drozd. "Prices have got to the point where it is difficult to lower them further."

He said the next boom in console sales will come when the next generation of machines are released in two or three years' time.

Instead, console makers will be concentrating on services like online gaming to boost their bottom line.

Sony can also count on the bouyant sales of its PS2 peripheral, the Eyetoy: Play in the UK.

The webcam and bundled games has proved a sleeper hit, knocking the latest Tomb Raider game off the top of the games charts.

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