The $249 PS3 is now the Best Deal in the Business

Sony could very well have made its best decision in years by dropping the price of its PlayStation 3 console $50 earlier this week. Now, consumers can get their hands on the 160GB model for $249 or the 320GB option for $299. And in the process, the company, which also announced a Europe-only PSP, called the E-1000 for £99, has put the onus on Microsoft to respond with a price cut of its own to match its chief competitor.[Image credit: Rob Walker]

But even if Microsoft decides to cut the price of the Xbox 360 by $50 to keep pace, the search giant won't be able to steal away the title that Sony has fought long and hard for: the best deal in the technology industry.

At $249, it's hard to find a single product in the entire technology industry that offers a better deal for customers.

Let's take a quick stroll around the industry, shall we? For $299, consumers can get an Xbox 360 with 250GB of storage and no Blu-ray drive. In the tablet space, customers can drop $499 for the cheapest iPad 2 version. And in the television market, it's hard to find a worthwhile 42-inch set for anywhere near the $249 price tag.

[aquote]I've yet to find a single option that's better than Sony's console[/aquote]

But now, in the gaming space, for $250, consumers can get their hands on a console that delivers some of the best power ever witnessed in a gaming device, along with Blu-ray disc playback and support for 3D content. And just in case those same folks want to go old school and watch DVDs, they can do that too.

Now, I've said on Slashgear before that I firmly believe the PlayStation 3 is the most capable and worthwhile entertainment device on store shelves. It offers all the features today's forward-thinking consumer is looking for in a device that actually looks nice in an entertainment center. And I was saying that when the device was at the $299 mark.

At $249, I simply don't see any compelling reason for people to not want to buy the PlayStation 3.

Of course, I'm sure there are many folks that might disagree with me. They'll point to the fact that first-person shooters are better on the Xbox 360 and motion gaming is more appealing on other consoles. They'll say that if they want to watch Blu-ray films, they can get a much cheaper player. They'll even point out that the PlayStation 3 will be replaced soon with a new console, and investing in it now might not be the best bet.

But I would submit to those detractors that all that doesn't matter. I would agree that first-person shooters are better on the Xbox 360, but there are other games that are better on the PlayStation 3. And although Blu-ray films can be watched from other players, I've yet to find a single option that's better than Sony's console. And unless Sony really panics, I simply don't see anyway it will replace the PlayStation 3 until at least early 2013.

So, if you don't have a PlayStation 3 yet, it looks like now is a fine time to buy it. Too bad I'm an early adopter and bought the console at launch — when it cost me $600.