Morph Price Drop – $275

PixelFX have just announced a price drop on their Morph 4K scaler, from $400 to $275, citing a decreased bill of materials (BOM) as the reason.  They posted on their Discord server that early adopters who paid the extra $125 will have the option to purchase the upcoming analog bridge adapters for only $25 (as opposed to $100) when they become available;  They’ve also announced the analog bridge units are delayed until Q3 of this year.  Here’s (affiliate) links to sellers, with my opinions below:

US Seller:
UK Seller:

Let’s start with the good:  This new price point is an absolute game-changer.  At a sub-$300 price point, your average gamer will care a lot less about public beta firmware and a flimsy $1 remote control.  Now this can be advertised as a basic scaler and be an excellent option for anyone with a native 4K display who wants more control over their video game scaling.  I think anyone with an HDMI-modded retro console, or even a more modern console that can’t output 4K will be interested.

Next, the delay of the analog bridge units is frustrating, as many people have been waiting for it, however I’m also a bit relieved the Morph team is taking their time with it.  Processing analog video is really, really hard.  And it’s common to hear expert developers say things like “the more you learn, the harder it gets”.  I hope the team gets the firmware in a place where it makes sense for people to purchase, rather than just use an original OSSC or RetroTINK to interface analog video to the Morph’s HDMI input.

Sadly, this is giving me some serious “32x vibes” – For those unfamiliar, it was a Sega Genesis add-on that launched in November 1994 for $160, but less than a year later it was being sold for around $25…and then abandoned.  It’s my strong opinion that if you decide to jump on this excellent price point, do so expecting ONLY the features and performance you’ll get today.  I’ll elaborate, but if you decide to continue reading, please remember I (Bob) have been designing, manufacturing and launching products since about 2006 in the medical, home automation and video game scenes.  Basically, I’m not some “blogger/youtuber just guessing”, my speculation and opinions come from about twenty years of experience….

First, to be blunt, almost no product has ever dropped the price over thirty percent less than a year after release and stayed on the market for very long after.  In fact, the only exception I can think of is the $200 price drop just two months after the release of the original iPhone, which absolutely did work as a way to draw in more new customers.  I assume the Morph is in a similar situation, with speculated sales numbers being extremely low and this being used as a last-ditch effort to gain some market share before giving up.  And while it worked for Apple, it’s important to remember that when they did this with the iPhone, they were met with extreme backlash from early adopters, forcing them to send a $200 refund to any customer who paid the full launch day price…

…speaking of which, I’m curious how early Morph adopters feel about this, especially ones who don’t need the discounted analog bridge.  This isn’t a small “we figured out how to pinch a few pennies” price cut or sale, this is even $75 cheaper than the pre-order discount!  Much like the original iPhone backlash, I imagine there will be some pretty upset customers wondering why they had to pay so much more as a “reward” for their early support and patience with firmware updates.

I also want to speculate a bit and say that in my almost twenty years of getting products to customers, I’ve never heard of a 30% reduction in BOM cost.  In fact, back when I made medical computers, we’d pinch pennies over everything we possibly could, as when you’re making things in large quantities, every single dollar saved is huge.  Want a great example?:  Look to SNES and Genesis video output.  They saved a few pennies per unit by putting RGB components in the SCART cable instead of on the motherboard.  That meant only people who used that output signal would have to pay the extra cost, saving those companies millions over the lifespan of the consoles.  You simply can’t cut that much cost out of a product unless your margins were already very high, or you’re doing something crazy like purchasing used versions of the most expensive chips.  To be clear, I’m not “accusing” PixelFX of doing either – This is simply speculation and I’m calling them out on their claim this was a BOM reduction.  Also, don’t expect this price drop from any other scaler.  While the TINKs and OSSC prices have stayed about the same even throughout this huge inflation cycle (which is essentially a price reduction in itself), there’s no chance of seeing a massive price drop like this.  And you get what you pay for – Those may not be considered “cheap”, but you get a lot for your money with each version.

Now for some some wild speculation…but speculation that should be taken seriously:  Ever since the software paywall of PixelFX’s Retro GEM, I’ve been suspecting “paid software updates” might be part of their entire lineup.  While the team hasn’t mentioned this AT ALL (once again, this is 100% speculation), another reason for the price drop might be the “video game console approach”:  Try to break even on the hardware, then make your money on the software.  I’d really hate to see scalers turn into DLC machines that focus on only the most mainstream features.  In fact, some of the most obscure stuff that Mike and Markus have worked on over the years have evolved into some amazing features that would have never emerged if either had focused on selling the most profitable “feature packs”.

Lastly, as I’ve ALWAYS SAID about the Morph:  I want it to succeed.  Especially now as a $275 device that’s far more accessible to many more people than a $400 scaler.  I WANT to recommend it as the go-to entry level 4K HDMI video game scaler.  I WANT to trust I’ll get future updates without paying.  But PixelFX’s continually disastrous public-facing decisions leave me more worried than enthusiastic.  I truly hope this is a new chapter for them and not the epilogue…

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