The numbers behind the PS2 and PSOne's price drops to $99 are radically different -- and show how the machine's 10-year-cycles have been nothing alike.
The PSOne was released in Japan in December 1994 and in North America in September 1995 (for $299).
Less than four years later in the U.S.…
The PSOne dropped to $99 on August 16, 1999
By that point, Sony had shipped more than 58.4 million consoles and more than 462 million games worldwide.*
The PS2 launched in Japan in March 2000 and in North America in October 2000 (for $299).
More than eight years later in the U.S.…
The PS2 will drop to $99 in April 2009.
By that point, Sony claims the system will have sold more than 138.7 million consoles and almost 1.5 billion games worldwide. *
So it took the PS2 twice as long to get down to $99 as did the PSOne, in which time the PS2 sold more than twice as many consoles and three times as many games.
Imagine what the PS2 sales could have been had the system dropped to $99 four years ago. Then again, Sony didn't have to do that. In the PSOne era, the Nintendo 64 was a solid competitor for a few years. In the PS2 era, the Xbox and GameCube put up a meeker fight.
Note that the PSOne sold more units after the $99 price drop than it did before, as the system now has sold more than 100 million units.
One other conclusion that's too obvious to ignore: Sony dropped the PSOne to $99 before the PS2 was released. The PS2 has dropped to $99 more than two years after the launch of its successor.
Two consoles. Two alleged 10-year-cycles. Big differences.
* Sony's corporate site provides these numbers for the period ending June 30, 1999, six weeks prior to the PSOne's cut to $99.
** Sony's corporate site reports that 103.69 million PS2s were shipped worldwide by March 31, 2006, and that, using a different metric, 34.97 million have been sold since then. That's a total of 138.7 million consoles sold in one way or the other. The same site lists 1.047 billion games shipped for the PlayStation 2 from launch day through March 31, 2006. The company then reported that an additional 419.6 million games have been sold worldwide between April 1, 2006 and the end of 2008, for a total of 1.467 billion games.).