Seasoned video game industry analyst Michael Pachter believes a PlayStation 3 price cut will be announced at this year’s E3.

Sony’s primary home console is a cut away from the magic $199 mark in the US – a price-point which prompted PS2 sales to catapult last generation.

Speaking ahead of this week’s March NPD report, Pachter said:

We expect hardware sales to rebound once price cuts are implemented, but expect a recurrence of the dip next holiday, partially buffered by some modest contribution from the introduction of the PS Vita in February and the Wii U later this year.

PS3 hardware sales should continue to lag those of the Xbox 360, and we expect sales to trend downward by 10 - 20% monthly, until Sony cuts prices once again, likely at E3.

Sony’s used GamesCom as a venue to announce PS3 price drops in the past, prompting renewed enthusiasm going into the crucial holiday period. Due to the timing of the show, a significantly earlier E3 announcement would depend on the company’s wider marketing plans for the rest of the year.

Personally, we think Sony will wait until after E3 to announce the PS3’s latest price cut — probably opting for the now predictable venue of GamesCom once again. One thing’s for certain, though: the console’s definitely hitting $199 at some point this year.

[via gamesindustry.biz]