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Can Sony Convince the World? 127

Posted by Zonk
from the not-me dept.
Gamasutra's regular feature asking a question of the game development community is back. This week's question cuts to the heart of the reporting from the Tokyo Game Show: Can Sony Convince Us it is Still Dominant?. From the article: "All that Sony needs to do is stop acting so arrogant. People can forgive any number of faults if the company generally acts responsible for their mistakes. When the PSP came out and people complained about the square buttons getting stuck and not being as responsive as the other buttons, Sony said 'There may be people that complain about its usability, but that's something which users and game software developers will have to adapt to.' We have to adapt to their broken button... Comedic at best. When everyone said the price of the PS3 was rather high, Sony told everyone that 'people will buy it no matter what.' What do they say about PCs? 'The PlayStation 3 is a computer. We do not need the PC.' - Dave Fried, The Collective"
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Can Sony Convince the World?

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  • by Thansal (999464) on Friday September 22, 2006 @01:03PM (#16161713)
    I think it is POSSIBLE for them to pull their act together. Are they going to do it? I have no clue. I have honestly never seen a company seemingly TRYING to hamstring themselfs before this.

    They have tacken 2 steps i nthe proper directions:
    1) The inclussion of HDMI on all PS3s is a very good idea in my mind. You now have a BluRay player for $500 that is not crippled. The expanded HD does not seem like that much of a wory. The loss of WiFi? Mehh. No card reader? I dono, does it really do much? (I honestly don't remember).
    Now they just need to make the price not suck AS much, right?

    2) Droping the price of the core system in Japan.

    They caught on that the Japanese didn't like the price, and mabey they will catch on that Americans (and the rest of the world) don't like $500 as a price point either.

    Though, I will admit that $500 is almost an acceptable budget for a system to me, however that is b/c I am ussed to dropping $500+ when ever I upgrade my computer...

    Note: I will never buy a PS3 untill the price comes down to around the $200 range. I will buy a Wii, but that is b/c it seems like it is honestly inovative. the PS3 is a replacement for my computer as a gaming platform? I will pass, you can pry my trackball from my cold dead hands.
  • by nsmike (920396) on Friday September 22, 2006 @01:13PM (#16161768)
    Though, I will admit that $500 is almost an acceptable budget for a system to me, however that is b/c I am ussed to dropping $500+ when ever I upgrade my computer...

    $500 is around what I'm budgeting for the Wii. In order for any game system to be worth anything to you when you take it home that day, you'll have to fork over at least another $50-$60 for one game (Save the Wii, if Wii Sports is REALLY all you want to stick with). That's if you only want to stay one-player too. Then fork over extra for the controller... If you have an HDMI compliant television, that's a good chunk for an HDMI cable... $500 is quickly turning into $600 for the conservative new PS3 owner, and could easily balloon to $800 for the one who saved every cent that crossed his path.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 22, 2006 @01:23PM (#16161841)
    No kidding! You know, most of us are also guilty of buying into the negative hype machine that is going against Sony right now. Heck, I was even guilty of it for the longest time, but my problem was not feeling I had seen enough "games" for the system. I have been checking out the TGS footage, though, and I am starting to get psyched for the PS3. The updated MGS4 trailer which actually showed gameplay footage, Virtua Fighter 5 looks fantastic, Virtua Tennis is a great party game no matter what system, and Ninja Gaiden Sigma looks smooth. As a gamer, I am pretty pumped by what the Wii, PS3, and even the 360 (which has been really lackluster so far IMHO, still waiting for Halo 3) represent. It is a good time to be a gamer.
  • by Thansal (999464) on Friday September 22, 2006 @01:29PM (#16161875)
    Very true, I am now sorta tempted to work out just how much everything equates out to.

    Generaly the budget I work with for when I upgrade/buy a new computer is $700-850 (generaly I am replacing just about everytihng exept optical drives, NIC, simple things like that).

    Now to me, that is compleatly reasonable as I spend a large portion of my free time infront of my computer, and much of that is spent gameing (aka actualy taking advantage of the $$ spent on performance). It is also the main thing I am interested in (my hobey I guess you coudl call it, most people have that one thing they love doing and drop alot of their $$/free time into).

    If the PS3 could some how take over that aspect of my life then I could see my self spending that type of money on it easily ($800 should buy me a PS3 a second controller and some games, right? then ontop of that it does other things also, right?).

    I think I am seeing where Sony is coming from with their price point. They realy want this to be the center of your home life. No more time spent browsing /., looking up pr0n, downloading illegal movies/music/pr0n, talking on the phone, looking up pr0n, etc etc etc.

    Looking back at wht I just wrote I realize that Sony is SoL if they tihnk people are going to actualy drop that much $$ on their system.

    My beliefe?
    If sony can drop their price to around $350-400 they could very possibly come back and dominate the market (this is assuming they can keep the developers as well).

    Oh well, Sony confuzes me.
  • by Rifter13 (773076) on Friday September 22, 2006 @01:29PM (#16161876) Homepage
    People want Playstations. That is it. Look at the sales number difference between the Ps2, and the Xbox. The Xbox is superior to the PS2 in every way, but it still sells FAR less than the PS2. People buy brands, and I think that is far more true today, than it was in the past. The PS3 could still be screwed up, but I don't ever want to underestimate the stupidity of the average consumer.
  • by redelm (54142) on Friday September 22, 2006 @01:39PM (#16161942) Homepage
    Coming late to the party, people often see pride, arrogance and conceit from one or a few market players. Big Oil, Ma Bell, IBM, Intel, Sony, Microsoft, Google?, and the list goes on.

    I think understanding their history is important. The arrogance didn't come from no-where. Each of these is a survivor from a very uncertain start and emerged victorious after bruising competition. This rather naturally makes the managers somewhat self-satisfied and complacent. And sows the seeds of their subsequent demise.

    In a sense, all victories are Pyrrhic.

  • by Thansal (999464) on Friday September 22, 2006 @01:45PM (#16161997)
    The Xbox is superior to the PS2 in every way, but it still sells FAR less than the PS2.


    Exept games.

    The XBox had awsome sports games and racing games and a few (I can think of about 6-7) REAL AAA titles (This is counting the games that are exclusive, or are heavily tied to the system).

    The PS2 simply has more GOOD games then the XBox (I am not talking about games that are fun to play, I am talking about games that you know you are going to be playing again and again for a while).

    XBox got it (mostly) Right by including online play for alot of their games. I say mostly b/c their subscription model sorta bites, it is kinda like having 2 ISPS, one that provides you with your connection, and the other that provides you with your "content" (think AOL for BB).
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sedyn (880034) on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:11PM (#16162202)
    Exactly, If Sony's still dominant, it doesn't have to convince us of anything.

    As a side note, how would one evaluate Sony's success? Do we compare it's adoptation to the other consoles or the PS2? If the answer is "both" then Sony's has a difficult struggle ahead of it.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:20PM (#16162273) Homepage Journal
    Sony's dropping the price of the PS3 to $410 six months AFTER they should have dropped it to $399 is a day late and a dollar short.

    They've already lost not just mindshare - of hardcore and midcore gamers - they've lost Developer mindspace, as many have already rejigged their games to make sure they now are releasing Wii games.

    They still have games that cost $10 extra than what a Wii game does.

    They still have an overly FPS and Sports focus that gives them no growth areas, while the Wii is expanding into uncharted territory and even importing Japanese and Chinese games into Euro and US markets.

    They still have the DRM and Blu-Ray mentality that just makes everyone want to do something else - anything else - to avoid them.

    So, no, they can't convince the world.

    Will they break even? No. They've already lost a lot on this, and they know it - had to scale back shipments as a result. They may even make number 1 in Japan - due to loyalty factors of Japanese gamers, but they are more likely to place number 2 or hold neck and neck with Nintendo.

    They've damaged their ability in both Europe and the US to do better than number 2.

    And, unlike Microsoft, they don't have billions of US dollars in free cash sitting around to bleed out for decades to come.

    I doubt they're dead, but they're not going to win this platform round - the best they can hope for is a stalemate and aim for a turnaround in late 2007 and 2008.
  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro.gmail@com> on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:22PM (#16162291) Homepage Journal
    The PS2 had a lot of things going for it, though, than just the Playstation brand when compared to the XBox.

    -the PS2 had a DVD player in a time when DVD players were all the rage, but still expensive.
    -the PS2 could play PS1 games, so there was more of an incentive for PS1 owners to upgrade.
    -the PS2 had a full year head start

    On the other hand, Microsoft was an unknown as far as gaming had gone, so people were wary to pick up their console (especially in Japan). The PS2 was as or less expensive than the XBox when the XBox came out, as well, I believe.

    Now the positions are somewhat reversed. Microsoft's console has a year's head start, will be the cheaper of the two, and has proved slight dominance over Nintendo (at least in America). Now Sony just has the BluRay and backwards compatibility going for it.

    Frankly, I think it's going to be anyone's game this time around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:28PM (#16162352)
    People want Playstations. That is it. Look at the sales number difference between the Ps2, and the Xbox. The Xbox is superior to the PS2 in every way, but it still sells FAR less than the PS2. People buy brands, and I think that is far more true today, than it was in the past. The PS3 could still be screwed up, but I don't ever want to underestimate the stupidity of the average consumer.

    People want Nintendos. That is it. Look at the sales number difference between the Super Nintendo Entertainment system and the Sega Genesis (or perhaps the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Master System). The Genesis/Sega CD/32X is superior to the Super Nintendo in every way, but it still sells far less than the Super Nintendo. People buy brands, and I think that is far more true today, than it was in the past. The N64 could still be screwed up, but I don't ever want to underestimate the stupidity of the average consumer.

    Face the facts, when it comes to gaming systems people are far more fickle than in any other market. People will buy into Nintendos being the greatest thing one day and be all for the Playstation the next; brand loyalty alone will not sell an overpriced crappy product.
  • Who are we asking? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew.gmail@com> on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:32PM (#16162379) Homepage Journal
    Are we asking the Slashdot crowd or the world?

    The PS2 is still outselling the XBox 360. The PS2 still held an extremely dominating lead over Microsoft and Nintendo combined, even though both had arguably superior hardware. Nintendo was cheaper and Microsoft had Live. Still Sony dominated.

    Sony is promising a Live-like service, but allowing to play multiplayer online for free. They will have the best hardware. They will have a huge launch in Japan. They have tons and tons of third-party support. They still have plenty of huge exclusive franchises.

    The Slashdot crowd speaks daily of Sony's evils. Yet it is Nintendo, not Sony who cut back on the features of their console launch. Wii is $50 more expensive than promised, and still doesn't have DVD support. One of it's biggest features is the ability to purchase again titles we've already purchased multiple times before. Nintendo promised region-free, and then canned that.

    Sony in comparison, is going region-free and said they will support Linux and homebrew development. $500 for a PS3 with BluRay, a HDD, HDMI, more processing power, native 1080p and free online pay vs. a $400 XBox with no high-def movie player, no HDMI, weaker processing power, upscaling, and paying for online play? Suddenly, the price does seem considerably more reasonable. Over the course of the console's life, you'll pay the extra $100 in XBox Live fees.

    I think Microsoft and Nintendo will offer heavy competition, but especially now that Sony is offering HDMI on the low-end system, and is talking about dropping their price, I have little doubt that they will once again dominate this generation.

    Mind you, I buy each console, and I'm no fanboi. But the facts are that Sony has been EXTREMELY dominant, and despite the elite geek crowd turning their nose up at Sony, the masses still seem to love them. Conversely, you hear alot on the Net about Nintendo love, but other than handhelds, their home console division has steadily declined ever since the days of the NES. The opinions you read about online do not necessarily represent the actual masses.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:39PM (#16162419) Homepage

    The PS2 is still outselling the XBox 360.

    The PS2 is $129. That helps. A lot.

    Remember, to most of the buyers, who are parents, these things are toys.

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