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Sony To Go From First To Worst? 224

Posted by Zonk
from the dire-mutterings dept.
There have been many analyst predictions in the early days of the next-gen consoles, but rarely have they been so direct. DFC Intelligence President David Cole has gone on record saying there's a very real possibility Sony could lose this leg of the race to Microsoft and Nintendo. From the article: "Sony's clear strength is the first factor: brand strength and current market position. The glaring weakness of the PlayStation 3 is price, especially when compared to the competition. However, it is more than just an issue of whether the PlayStation brand strength can justify a premium price. Of course, Sony would like to point to the hardware horsepower and extra features like Blu-ray. The problem is that is only one factor in our forecasting matrix. Furthermore, with the competition having features like Xbox Live and the Nintendo Wii controller, the PS3 may not have that much of an advantage in the elusive 'Wow Factor.'" 1up Editor Sam Kennedy has further musings on this subject, with Next Generation reporting that there may be a problem getting high yields in the PS3 production process.
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Sony To Go From First To Worst?

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  • In my opinion, the battle for video consoles has even more strongly shifted from the best hardware capabilities to the best titles availability. Of course, title availability was always important, but with all video consoles providing hardware capabilities needed for most games today, it is all about development of titles at this point. This is where Microsoft excels. So, IMHO, the top dog of the future will be Xbox. Sony and Nintendo will duke it out for the second place.
    • by Aladrin (926209) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:41PM (#15650790)
      I have to disagree with you, there. Which consoles has the best titles depends on what you want from a game.

      Pure Fun: Nintendo
      FPS/Action: Microsoft
      RPG/Story: Sony

      Each of the big 3 attracts these types of games to their console because that has been what sold the console in past. Nintendo also get a nudge towards innovation and niche, as well, but until the Wii comes out, that nudge isn't strong enough to make someone buy their console.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I too disagree. It seems that for generations, the most powerful console was not the leader.

        By RAW SPECS:
        Genesis was stronger than the SNES,
        N64, then Dreamcast > PS1
        GameCube & X-Box > PS2.
        Gameboy DS. - The DS is still outselling the PSP in every territory, and is practically a cultural phenomenon in Japan where it, (and the DS Lite) is currently outselling the PSP about 8:1

        Also as far as games they do cater to 3 different Market Segments (at least in thie generation) and It's not X-Box is teh 133
        • By RAW SPECS:

          Oh goody!

          Genesis was stronger than the SNES,

          Only in terms of CPU power. Everything else in the box was less powerful.

          N64, then Dreamcast > PS1

          N64 competed with PS1; it had better graphics and more CPU power, but less storage. Again, stronger in some areas, weaker in others. It's a wash.

          Dreamcast was intended to be a next-generation console. It flopped because Sony announced a supposedly more powerful console, and they gave bald-faced lies about its specs. People avoided bu

        • "By RAW SPECS:
          Genesis was stronger than the SNES,"


          Small nitpick: The Genesis had a faster main processor. It ran at 7mhz while the SNES ran at a little under 4. The SNES had a graphic chip built in that wiped the floor with the Genesis GFX-wise. The end result was that the SNES's graphics were a lot better than the Genesis'. I don't think this affects your point too much, though, because Nintendo had a terrible time fighting against Sega in that round. Sega had the less powerful machine, but still mana
          • The SNES also had a much better synthesizer and sound generator. While not as immediately noticable as graphics, audio quality has a huge effect on the subconcious feel of games, something not to be overlooked. Seeing that a large number of very prominant games in that generation relied heavily on building a particular ambiance (Super Metroid and Final Fantasy VI, just to name a few), this gave the SNES a huge advantage.

            Also, the graphical command set was much more sophisticated in the SNES. You had psued

      • A slight correction:

        Pure Fun: Nintendo, Sony
        FPS: PC
        Action: Microsoft, Sony
        RPG/Story: Sony
        • I'll buy that, except for the third item. If "Action" belongs to MS and Sony, then what do you call Zelda and Metroid? Aren't they "action adventure games?" This is the genre that Nintendo practically built its name off of.

          And RPG/Story, no doubt the last two rounds have gone to Sony, but we shall see about the next. The few RPGs that made it to the GCN were VERY strong (Skies of Arcadia & Tales of Symphonia being quite possibly some of the best of the generation), and MSs future is looking very stron

    • Best titles? I can think of 1 game I wished I could play on Xbox. Best games are Nintendo, followed by Sony (for rpgs). Microsoft isn't even in the same league.
    • How the f-ck can Microsoft excel in titles? I don't give a shit about car and sports game, and I haven't played the killer title on Xbox. Since when does it have more or better titles than Playstation anyway? And where are Zelda, Mario, Metroid and such?
  • The Problem is ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neonprimetime (528653) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:39PM (#15650771)
    PS3 is a computer [slashdot.org] not a gaming console, they have really screwed up, and this article is right, they could loose at lot of market share.
  • The video game industry is like a game of soccer. Nintendo and Microsoft have staked Sony to a 5-0 lead after 10 minutes. It's a little early to be predicting a 6-5 loss, isn't it?
    • From most of the soccer games I've seen, if one side has scored 5 points in the first 10 minutes, the other side is either totally out-classed or dead.

    • by grogdamighty (884570) on Monday July 03, 2006 @12:59PM (#15650898) Homepage
      Your analogy would be true for in-generation comparisons. In this case, however, I think it would make more sense to say that Sony beat Microsoft to win the last World Cup (and Nintendo barely got out of the first round), but in this World Cup Microsoft has already won their first game of pool play while Sony and Nintendo are still prepping for their first game. Oh, and Sony keeps cutting players. ;)
      • >Sony beat Microsoft to win the last World Cup (and Nintendo barely got out of the first round)

        and twisting the analogy even further, Nintendo still managed to walk away with the trophy since they actually made a profit on consoles.

        MS came second in the final but most of their players left the game as cripples.

        Sony was pleased with their victory, and then Ronaldo-style sat back and got really fat.
      • Except that Nintendo placed 2nd worldwide, not 3rd. America isn't the whole world. And MS lost 4 billion dollars to place 3rd.
        • Except that Nintendo placed 2nd worldwide, not 3rd.

          Actually, in terms of total consoles sold, that's not correct. You can do the search for yourself, but here's one link to a wikipedia article on the console wars [wikipedia.org] which includes total worldwide sales numbers. The relevant set for your comment is:
          • PlayStation 2: 103.69 million
          • Gamecube: 20.85 million
          • Xbox: 24 million

          In addition to that, the Xbox number is from December, while the PS2 and GC numbers are from March, suggesting that the Xbox number is act

          • We both know that Xbox probably have only outsold the Gamecube and even managed to sell good at all because it was easy to get a modchip and pirate games real early. Where "we both know that" might have to be read as "Imho the".
    • It is funny. I prefer to use video game console analogies to understand sports.

      You see, the Oakland Raiders are just like the Neo Geo whereas the Washington Redskins are more like 3DO...
  • by Rendo (918276)
    After refusing to use my Sony fanboyism, I objectively looked at the next-gen consoles. This article is unfortunately right. Unless Sony's mission is to make it seem so expensive now, then drop it $100 for each version by launch date, I can't see the PS remaining the #1 console. Until the price drops significantly over the next few years or they DO as I suggest and drop the price towards launch date to make a huge buzz, I see the Wii coming out on top.
  • Sony isn't worried (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xswl0931 (562013) on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:12PM (#15650969)
    Didn't Sony themselves say that people will buy the PS3 even if there were no games out for it?
    • Sony is not only certian you will buy a PS3 if there are no games for it, they are gravely concerned that the PS3 doesn't cost enough. In fact they may not release any Blu-Ray discs, in order to increase demand. In fact they plan to release their $1,000 PS3 Special Edition which will simply consist of a PSTwo (without rumble pack) and a rootkit disc.
  • by Lave (958216) on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:13PM (#15650984)
    ...Is why it's this expensive in the first place. If they had released a PS3 with exactly the same or slightly less power than the XBox 360 but at the same price - they would have cleaned up. There wider variety of games, and actual presence in Japan would have let them get a huge market share again.

    Instead they say the same Lies they said when defeating the dreamcast, and release a slightly more powerful but not in any significant way PS3 to fight the XBox at pushing twice the price (in the UK) a year later.

    But this time we know that Sony is dicking us around. It won't go well for them.

    P.S. I haven't ignored the Wii - I just don't believe it relates to these two machines anymore. Thankfully - which will hopefully means more people will give nintendo a chance this time round.

    • Expensive CPU, expensive blu-ray... They just put lots of very "edge" hardware, meaning the assembly lines have to be paid back. Both PPC and Intel exist on the market for a long time, and incremental upgrades of each cause only small price jumps when new CPU is released. Cell is "first of a kind" and the first batch must be helluva expensive. Same about blu-ray. Produce 100,000 of blu-ray players is one thing in means of costs, build a factory to produce them is another.
      • Expensive CPU, expensive blu-ray... They just put lots of very "edge" hardware, meaning the assembly lines have to be paid back.... Cell is "first of a kind" and the first batch must be helluva expensive...

        I totally understand you - and of course you are correct. I don't want to start a stupid argument about stats, on fanboyism - but for all that extra cost there seems to be no significant gains. At best it will be the difference between the Xbox and PS2 but the other way around - and as this gen shows, t

    • The PS3 is supposed to be able to last longer then previous consoles. For that to happen you need a lot of power now so that in half a decade you won't be joke hardware.

      Just compare consoles to PC's to see how quickly they become obsolete. During the hype before launch they consoles all seem like super machines capable of trashing the humble PC but as launch date nears the PC looks better and better and at launch a game PC will easily outperform a console.

      The x-box showed it most clearly because it was a

      • The Cell is supposed to be more future proof. Offcourse wether that will work is anybodies guess. It seems unlikely but Sony probably hopes that by making a huge investment now it won't have to do so again in a couple of years. Developing a new console is risky and costly, if you can somehow afford to skip a generation you may very well trash the competition. Sony hopes that when MS and Nintendo announce their next generation console their PS3 will still be able to compete. It is not that unreasonable an

    • If they had released a PS3 with exactly the same or slightly less power than the XBox 360

      But, the upcoming PS3 does have exactly or slightly less power than the Xbox 360. At least, according to every analysis and benchmarking I've seen.

      The only thing delaying the PS3, and driving up the price, are CPU yields and Blu-Ray drives. Overall this is still a console whose design was finalized around the same time as the Xbox 360.
  • *looks back at Sony's E3 2006 conference* *Sees Ridge Racer, Giant Enemy Crabs, and 599 US dollars* I'm pretty sure we all came to this conclusion after that.
  • Note to forecaster. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrCopilot (871878) on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:26PM (#15651059) Homepage Journal
    Stay tuned, next month we will formally unveil some of the actual numbers in our forecasts. This month we will just say that yes, Sony could easily go from first to worst in the video game market.

    The only numbers I need to see are MSRP and release date. I concur with your assessment. Kiss my DVD loving ass BluRay.

    As a PS2 and GameCube (Not to mention the PCs) owner (and potential XBMC buyer) I will not purchase the PS3. Let me count the reasons why.

    RootKit
    console Price
    RootKit
    MemoryStick
    RootKit
    MiniDisc
    Betamax
    Game Price
    RootKit
    RumbleLess Controller

    About the only thing that interested me was linux. But damn I can build a pretty beefy linux box for the cost of just the console.

    Oh, and did I mention the RootKit thing?

    • by MrCopilot (871878)
      IGN Covers Japanese Developers on the PS3http://ps3.ign.com/articles/716/716047p1.html [ign.com]

      Of course, the big question concerned price. 90.29% of the surveyed feel the PS3 is too pricey, compared to just 9.71% who feel that it's priced just right. One developer commented, "It's more expensive than my rent."

      Wow, I need to get a summer home in Japan.

      • The ps3 sells for ¥59800 for the cheap model, and the "real" model (with hdmi/etc) is "open pricing." If it followed the US pricing it'd go for about ¥70000, but with open pricing it will likely go for close to ¥100000.

        To equate, it IS selling for $999 in Australia.

        In japan, ¥70000 a month can easily get you an apartment, and in Australia $250 a week (most rentals here are priced per week or fortnight, dunno why) can get you a small 3 bedroom HOUSE, or a large 2 bedroom house, for rent.
        • I think that depends entirely on which part of Japan or Australia you're talking about. I'm sure central Tokyo is more than that, likewise Sydney Harbour. Just within my state (NJ) prices for comparable apartments range from $600 to $3500 depending on location.
      • Come down to San Antonio! I've got a pretty nice two bedroom apartment that's cheaper than a PS3 per month.
    • But damn I can build a pretty beefy linux box for the cost of just the console.


      Screw that. you could buy a pretty beefy linux box for significantly less than the cost of the console, or buy a core-duo mac mini if you're so inclined, and take advantage of the software that comes with it.
    • You left out mention of the rootkit. Probably should have been worth at least one mention in your post. -Tony
    • by mikaelhg (47691)
      You forgot the (mis)management of Star Wars Galaxies.
  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:30PM (#15651075)
    .er

    There's more than these gaming factors that's going to contribute to how Sony places. The HDDVD market will influence this as well. One of the primary functions Sony seems to have planned for the PS3 is market penetration for its Blue-Ray player. They've sacraficed things like cheap price and possibly even earlier release to include the Blue-Ray player. If the HD format war doesn't flop out; it could become an important factor as those who what HD have to decide if the PS3 with Blue Ray or Microsoft with an accessory HD DVD (or internal HD DVD for the 360 if you think like Toshiba: http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3151889 [1up.com]) This have anywhere from a huge to an insignificant effect on what the Console war. It really is more of a Great Home Entertainment War rather than a format war and a console war; they are well intertwined.

    Or atleast, they will be. I speculate that the Format side of the GHE War will slog along in a prolonged sitzkrieg for a year or even more before it starts to pick up as more consumers finally migrate (slowly) along to HD. With the sitzkrieg on the format front, Sony's Blue Ray justification for its price will languish; costing it valuable ground against Microsoft's established console (which I might mention consumers may enjoy not having HD DVD costing them up front when they don't need it yet; they can upgrade on their own terms, possibly cheaper than buying Blue ray before they need it.) Once the Format front picks up, the Console side will invigorate to as Sony's console will likely have come down atleast some, becoming a more economic competitor. That's the Great Home Entertainment War solved for X in terms of Y.

    But, as I said, you can only solve for X in terms of Y and vice versa. It's really anybodies guess what the effect Blue Ray and HD DVD will have. Then their is the Z factor...Nintendo. But, I've already talked about what possibilities Nintendo can have, both on consoles and on HD Formats http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=188332&cid=155 24741 [slashdot.org]
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 03, 2006 @01:33PM (#15651096)
    What are the strong points of the PS3?

    Good hardware
    Compatibility with the PS2
    BluRay

    Now, looking back to the PS2, we see similar factors, and the PS2 was a huge success. But with a very important difference: The PS2 was WAY cheaper than the (inflation adjusted) equivalent of 600 bucks.

    The target audience for a consumer device costing 600$ is very distinct from one costing about 200-300. Instead of the young players market, you'd have to target hardcore gamers and people who can and will spend 600 without too much effort. And most of all, the PS3 will need its "Halo": A killer game, a 'must have', a signature title that makes you WANT to buy that PS3.

    BluRay is cute, but useless as a selling point. First of all, the format war is far from being decided. And, let's be honest folks, how many of you got the PS2 as a cheap replacement for a DVD player? I know nobody who has a PS2 and no other means to play DVDs, more importantly, better (especially considering sound quality) alternatives? So BluRay will certainly NOT be a selling argument, unless there are no BluRay-only players out there by the time the PS3 comes along that are cheaper than 600. And, frankly, I would NOT get a player that only plays one format (I wouldn't get a player for either of those DRMcrippled formats, but let's assume I'm a movie junkie for now). Murphy's law predicts that, when you side with one of the format contestants, you side with the wrong one. So people will play it save and wait for players that can deal with BluRay and HDDVD.

    Without the 'must have' game, people will stick with the PS2 'til the PS3 is cheap, if they already have PS2 games. If they don't, they might turn for Nintendo (if they don't want to spend much money) or the X360 (if they do). Price is definitly no selling argument for the PS3, and the X360 is already out. If someone didn't have PS2 games and wanted a top level console, they already bought a X360.

    The 'geek factor' does also not play in favor of Sony. Too often the news about Sony are not really geek friendly, their MD-Recorders (that couldn't export the recorded sounds sensibly), rootkits in audio-CDs, not really something that works in their favor. Sony is about to become 'uncool', too. And I've noticed a significant decline in quality over the last few years.

    So the only chance I see for the PS3 is a 'killer application', something that makes you want a PS3. Without, I'd guess people would turn to Nintendo or Microsoft.
    • by Manmademan (952354) on Monday July 03, 2006 @02:19PM (#15651383)

      What are the strong points of the PS3?

      Good hardware
      Compatibility with the PS2
      BluRay

      You've missed the biggest selling point. Every title/developer that made the Ps1 and Ps2 the most successful consoles of all time is still on board for the Ps3...nobody's jumped ship and there are more exclusives than you think. If you enjoyed FF, Gran turismo, Metal Gear, Shin Megami Tensei, Shadow of the Colossus, etc...guess which system you have to buy to keep playing the games you enjoy? for a LOT of people (especially if those people are in japan) there IS no alternative to the Ps3, since certain franchises and genres just won't show up on the 360 or the Wii.

      The target audience for a consumer device costing 600$ is very distinct from one costing about 200-300. Instead of the young players market, you'd have to target hardcore gamers and people who can and will spend 600 without too much effort. And most of all, the PS3 will need its "Halo": A killer game, a 'must have', a signature title that makes you WANT to buy that PS3.

      Prices come down over time. The Ps3 is being launched aiming squarely at the early adopters and hardcore fans that were paying $600 and $700 for a system on ebay, only many, many more of them as sony's install base is substantially larger. As price drops occur, more casual fans will come on board. This is the way console launches ALWAYS go.

      also, the Ps3 doesn't NEED a "halo." Microsoft had TWO and they were still utterly, totally crushed last round. The titles they DO have (or are expected to have) are more than sufficient.

      BluRay is cute, but useless as a selling point. First of all, the format war is far from being decided. And, let's be honest folks, how many of you got the PS2 as a cheap replacement for a DVD player? I know nobody who has a PS2 and no other means to play DVDs, more importantly, better (especially considering sound quality) alternatives?

      BluRay is hardly useless to those like myself for whom DVD is insufficient on our television sets. for me and other early adopters I'm curious to see what it can do. As for the Ps2, I was in retail at the time it launched stateside in 2000 and there were a LOT of people who used the Ps2 as their primary (or only) DVD player. As player prices came down out of the stratosphere and into the $99 and $50 range, this became less common. Plenty of houses have 2 or 3 DVD players including consoles.

      Blu-Ray won't go exactly the same way as it's in a different stage of its lifecycle than DVD was when it launched, but even those who have never heard of it but might want a Ps3 will more than likely buy or rent a disc just to see what the fuss is about if they have access to an HDTV. The Ps3 exists just as much to push the Blu Ray format as vice versa.

      Without the 'must have' game, people will stick with the PS2 'til the PS3 is cheap, if they already have PS2 games. If they don't, they might turn for Nintendo (if they don't want to spend much money) or the X360 (if they do). Price is definitly no selling argument for the PS3, and the X360 is already out. If someone didn't have PS2 games and wanted a top level console, they already bought a X360.

      Price isn't usually an issue for early adopters ESPECIALLY during holiday season, as the buying frenzies on ebay for the Ps2 and 360 prove. Those machines were going for easily double MSRP. And if someone enjoyed the games the Ps2 had to offer and wanted a "top level" console, they sure as hell wouldnt just "buy a 360" as the franchises they like aren't likely to appear there. (especially, once again, if said gamers happen to live in japan)

      The 'geek factor' does also not play in favor of Sony. Too often the news about Sony are not really geek friendly, their MD-Recorders (that couldn't export the recorded sounds sensibly), rootkits in audio-

      • I don't want to read your long post, but you are wrong.

        Final Fantasy was for Nintendo in the begining, there are still Final Fantasy games made for Nintendo, and if Wii is succesful I'm confident there will be more.
        Metal Gear was also a Nintendo title, and twin snakes for example exist for Gamecube.

        A lot of the "You can't play this game on Gamecube"-titles exist for it (Just using that as an example since I know what exist and Gamecube is probably the most underrated system of them.)

        Also if the titles are g
    • I believe that blu-ray will win this battle, even if the PS3 has the most dramatic failure in consoles' history.

      The reason is not movies, even DVD is good enough for that. The huge capacity is meaningless in a movie, if human eyes can barely perceive the difference. We are a decade away from cheap HD TV sets. For other reasons is not better to have blu-ray in a console than HD-DVD or simply DVDs. The extra content is just more cut-scenes.

      I see Blu-ray winning this battle by replacing DVD drives in computers
  • If they can make some seriously fun MMO. Maybe something like Planetside, but with more depth. That price point is too high when I can just retro game all day long. I'm trying to beat Angband with an Ironman character of every class, that should keep me busy for a few years.
  • by payndz (589033) on Monday July 03, 2006 @04:25PM (#15652210)
    However, we should emphasize a third place finish for Sony is only one of several possible scenarios.

    Several? Er, there's two other scenarios besides Sony comes third. Sony comes first, or Sony comes second.

    Unless they're also factoring in the 'Sony gets trampled by Godzilla' and 'the Phantom rules all with its version of Duke Nukem Forever' scenarios.
  • As much as I'm bothered by the PS3's price and game selection, I think this conversation is way too rushed. Sony and Nintendo both have the factor of undersupplied/overdemanded content this Christmas--both systems are poised to sell out (even if, worst case scenario, only eBay hopefuls buy up most of the stock). It's the 2nd batch that means the most--a matter that, by the way, Microsoft hasn't done incredibly well with in the 2nd batch cycle of its lifespan. The true test comes in February-April 2007. Xbox
  • And still (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trogre (513942) on Monday July 03, 2006 @06:36PM (#15652958) Homepage
    At one large store that's taking pre-orders in my country, the PS3 is already outselling the XBox 360.

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