Though not directly about the PlayStation 3, this profile of Sony's worldwide appeal in Sunday's New York Times dovetails nicely with my look at the lead up to "the price."
Titled "Cutting Sony, a Corporate Octopus, Back to a Rational Size," writer Martin Fackler examines the marginalization of Sony in the international marketplace. The company's name was once synonymous with not only portable music, but electronics in general; now, faced with increased competition, they're looking to "restore" their image "to prevent the problems in Japan from spreading overseas."
A Merrill Lynch analyst said, "What is Sony? We don't even know anymore. Consumers used to pay more because the brand meant something special." Another echoed that sentiment, saying, "Sony has to trim its premium ... The brand equity, although still high, is clearly on the decline in consumers' minds."
One way to improve that brand image: trim the premium (sorry little buddy) and focus on "champion products." CEO Howard Stringer says "[they] need to rebuild the brand seriously in terms of energy and perception around the world" and the PS3 and Blu-ray are a serious part of that strategy.
(Update: Merril is spelled Merrill)