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Why Sony Won't Lose The Next-Gen War 228

Posted by Zonk
from the sheer-grit dept.
GamesDaily has up an opinion piece, talking about why author James Brightman sees Sony walking away with the next-gen crown, again. From the article: "Sony is well aware of the power of its brand and it will do everything it can to leverage the PlayStation name. Providing backwards compatibility with both the PS1 and PS2, as well as offering full PS1 titles for download through the PS3, can only help to reinforce that brand and remind gamers of the PlayStation games they hold so dear. Selling over 100 million units, twice, has its advantages. In fact, there are a number of people who have probably owned nothing but PlayStation consoles, and those consumers are likely to stick with a brand they know and trust. Before they've even learned anything about Sony's new console, many consumers have already made up their minds that they want the next PlayStation no matter what. A strong brand should not be underestimated." Relatedly, the company released a few more details on its online plan via its Japanese office. That article touches on AV chat, a puzzle games service, and downloadable games.
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Why Sony Won't Lose The Next-Gen War

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  • by hal2814 (725639) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:57PM (#16615270)
    Leaning on the Playstation name? That'll be fine... at first. Even the almost unplayayble Atari 5200 did well off its name for a while. After that, it had to survive on its own merits and did poorly. I don't think the name alone will make the PS3 a success.
  • A strong brand. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lemental (719730) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:58PM (#16615288)
    Like Ford? Or an IBM Branded PC?
  • Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow...wrought@@@gmail...com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:02PM (#16615346) Homepage Journal
    The window for Sony to win, however, is extremely small. the 360 and Wii are both well positioned tot ake advantage of that short window. If the PS3 doesn't get sold in large enough numbers to justify the large development costs for it, it could very well end up on the outside looking in. Hardware is only the first part of the equation. Games are the second, and more important part of the equation. No games, no system.
  • Re:Boycott (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Deadguy2322 (761832) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:13PM (#16615524)
    How about apologizing to all of us for subjecting us to such a lame, sophomoric post?
  • by Izhido (702328) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:21PM (#16615648) Homepage
    How does one know who wins a console war? Everybody I know, and his grandmother, assures me Sony won the last one... but neither Sony or MS did a cent with their consoles! What's the criteria? What numbers should we compare to define who wins this round???
  • Re:A strong brand. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by frosty_tsm (933163) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:23PM (#16615686)
    How about using companies that hasn't had executives sent to prison lately.

    Ford could be an example, but you can't look at Ford today. You have to look at Ford in the 70s, when the price of gas went through the roof and pollution regulations were introduced. Their response was to stick with old technology and muddle around with smaller, less powerful engines. GM's response was to introduce a new Cadillac that got 8 mpg on the freeway. They ignored the wants and needs of their customers completely.

    The question is, is Sony ignoring the wants of their customers with the PS3. We can't say yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:27PM (#16615754)
    I strongly expect the PS3 to actually have, get ths... PS3 games. Saying I wont buy xyz because it's backwards compatable is quite possibly the stupidest argument on earth.
  • by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:31PM (#16615818)
    I have had conversations from people who were more casual gamers who complained that Sony is producing a controller that has non-chargeable/non-replaceable batteries, that the controller has lost rumble, and that to take advantage of the features in the PS3 they'd need to spend thousands of dollars on a TV. Mind you, these people were aware of the price and (as I've said before) people usually decide what they want and then justify the purchase; they may have decided they couldn't afford a PS3 and then looked into why they didn't like it.
  • by tbannist (230135) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:32PM (#16615836)
    The two most commonly cited reasons are:

    1) It's too expensive
    and
    2) Sony suxxorz!

    It remains to be seen how much the price will drag down mainstream sales. I think Sony will come out with a smaller marketshare this time around, but I'm not Microsoft and Nintendo have what it takes to win out. In theory, the graphics will be noticeably worse on the Wii and 360 won't have the children's games. Each of the consoles in this generation has it's down sides, all that's left is to see which one wins in the marketplace.
  • by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr&hotmail,com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:36PM (#16615880) Homepage
    What a stupid, stupid person.

    If there is one thing Microsoft is famous for it their inability to 'assimilating a successful business strategy and making their own version viable and profitable' outside of their core OS and office suite software.

    Sony has made billions off of their two consoles over the past decade while Microsoft has lost 4-5 billion of known losses and no one knows how much more due to hiding recent Xbox losses with other profitable parts of the company.

    With the 360 selling worse than the first Xbox, Microsoft is nothing but a retarded sideshow to Sony's main battle with Nintendo in Japan this upcoming console cycle.


    Let's dispense with the ad homs, AC. They're not necessary. In case you don't know what I mean, please do a google search of 'ad hom'.

    You want to talk numbers? Let's talk.

    Did Microsoft lose money on the XBox? Hell yes. Did they fully well know that they would? YES. In fact, they were certain they would lose money on them. But that didn't matter because it bought Microsoft valuable entrance into the console market. Which they have now used to position themselves against Sony in a way nobody thought they would be able to. They have sold over 10 million 360s as of today. How many PS3s has Sony sold? Zero. In the next-gen war, Microsoft is clearly way ahead right now.

    But what happens when the PS3 is released? Does Sony suddenly sell 100 million PS3s? Not in the USA. Not a single person I know is excited enough to go out and immediately fork over $600 USD for a PS3. They are wary of Sony's first run systems. They often ship with problems and need to be returned. Add to this that PS3 graphical performance hasn't been shown to exceed the 360 by any real noticable amount and you have what could be a very slow launch for the PS3.

    People simply aren't very excited for the PS3 where I live. And I happen to think that it's indicative of a greater trend.

    But it's pointless to argue really, until the PS3 is released.

    TLF
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:36PM (#16615882)
    Like the PSP which sold units through brand and hype but is falling into disarray of late
  • by cowscows (103644) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:43PM (#16615972) Journal
    Nintendo had plenty of brand recognition back in the day, and that didn't stop them from getting their asses handed to them by the playstation.

    A brand can help, but in the end, it all comes down to the games. It's really that simple. The PS3 is going to need some really high-end exclusive games to match its high-end price tag, but if they can build up a solid library, they'll do fine. I don't think they'll dominate as forcefully as they did with the PS2, but they'll end up making some money, and life will go on.

  • by ivan256 (17499) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:46PM (#16616026)
    Witness the Zune. I am prepared to predict that the Zune doesn't really steal the market from the iPod, much in the same way the xBox didn't from the Playstation. But the Zune will be profitable. That is my prediction.

    Do you expect that argument to have any credibility in the context you put it in? DO you realize how vastly unprofitable the Xbox was? And that's what you're holding up to say that the Zune has a chance in hell?

    Have a look at this graph [photobucket.com]. It shows console sales over time where t0 is the release date for each console. Now go rethink your argument.
  • Contestable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:59PM (#16616190) Homepage Journal
    I'm not saying he's wrong, it's opinion. Opinions can be wildly inaccurate, stupid, and silly but they aren't wrong unless they're attempted to dispute know facts. I.E It's my opinion Abraham Lincoln was the First President.

    That said, his opinion is highly contestable.

    The Brand

    I would have thought that his comparing the ubiquitous association of Sony's brand now to Nintendo's ubiquitous association then would have given him reason to say why Sony won't repeat Nintendo's failure. He failed to account for it at all.

    Nintendo had a greater than 60% market share with the SNES, with the rest divided between the Turbo Grafix 16 and the Sega Genesis. The next generation they barely managed 20%. They had as much if not more brand at the time than Sony, a console that was cheaper than the others, and innovations to boot. They were destroyed rather thoroughly.

    Microsoft (somewhat) Squandered its Lead

    Microsoft did squander their lead a bit. With more volume at launch they'd probably be further ahead. The point he makes is that Microsoft's Xbox 360 has had a somewhat "Meh" reception. However, that reception is as likely caused by a general "Meh" at HD stuff in general that will burn Sony as much as Microsoft as it is a pure Microsoft bias. Only time will tell.

    Japan is Ripe for the Taking

    That it is. He makes a good argument for why Japan is anyone's game. Unfortunately I can't really find much worth in his arguments as to how the PS3 is going to take Japan. While there will surely be more than the 100k initial launch shipments as time passes, that's hardly enough to secure a lead in Japan. This is downplayed by the author, nothing some very desireable games that the Japanese will want. The possibility that Japanese and other gamers may be at all discouraged by the difficulty in getting PS3s isn't even addressed.

    There's a token paragraph for the Wii, and I call it token rightly. To assume this a largely Xbox vs PS3 a article does not seem far off, or perhaps Xbox vs anyone else. It may be that the Wii just isn't worth commenting on because no one has any doubts as to how well it will do, while Sony breeds skepticism with each new press release. It's hard to tell.

    Regardless, there is no mention of the vastly greater Wii supplies, the far cheaper price, or the general thrashing the PSP got at the DS's twin screens. This leads into a statement that skirts the possible competition between the two Japanese companies. If you're going to write an article about why Sony isn't going to lose to Microsoft, specify that in your title. Otherwise, glossing over Nintendo seems fishy.

    Blue-ray Will Matter

    A good point to be made here is that if Blue-ray takes off, it's likely to make the manufacturing of PS3s cheaper. With more people working to make Blue Lasers, they'll be understandably cheaper. The opposite being true if the format fails as a movie format.

    Bringing up the current and forecasted adoption rates for HDTV probably wouldn't have aided the article any, but again Nintendo seems glossed over in favor of Microsoft vs Sony. I realize Nintendo has intentionally put themselves out of direct competition for HD gamers, but that doesn't mean they aren't competing this generation.

    Free Online

    Good, minus no mention (good or bad) of Nintendo's online services. Again, if this is about Microsoft vs Sony specifically, the title should have reflected that.

    Final Thoughts

    Firstly no one said winning three in a row was "impossible". The issue is historically, no one's lasted more than two generations without other A) completely destroying the industry or B) Dropping from near Monopoly to near Obscurity and Ridicule. There appears to be a red button labeled "Retarded" which gets pressed sometime before Launch #3.

    If Sony manages to dominate again, good for them. They'll have earned it through games and services that make us happy, possibly reearning the trust they've burned these p
  • by bunbuntheminilop (935594) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:59PM (#16616192)
    The ps2 was expensive when it came out. They have DVD manufactuing problems, so the first games that came out were on CDROM. They weren't really that great either. It took many years for the gamecube and the dreamcast to just dissappear.

    My point is the war isn't won at launch. Its won when the system has lots of GOOD games for it, and they become cheap. When production becomes cheap so the manufacturer makes a profit off it. When the console becomes cheap enough to be able to buy another one, just as a backup. When developers are able to program for the blasted thing, without spending a billion dollars over 3 years.

    We've got years of this to come. I don't think I can stand any more of the speculation. I just wanna play some games!

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:10PM (#16616294)
    I have not yet seen responses that were more than your garden variety off the cuff Sony hatred that so permeates Slashdot nowadays. After actually reading through the article I though it made two great points:

    "certain PS3 launch games (e.g. Resistance: Fall of Man) already look as good as the best Xbox 360 has to offer. In one to two years, we think the combination of the Blu-ray medium and the Cell processor will lead to a noticeable difference between the visuals of the PS3 and the Xbox 360, as developers begin to really harness the technology in the PS3. And by that time the PS3 won't be retailing for $500 or $600 anymore. Nintendo may not care about hi-def graphics, but in the ultra-tech battle between Microsoft and Sony, it's beginning to look like Sony has the edge."

    People have said you can always just use multiple DVD's on the 360, but really that is way more clunky and drastically reduces profits for manufacturers. The extra storage space will be useful to PS3 developers, as it is even at launch. I'm not sure why people discount this as an advantage for Sony, given that the game developers have expressed displeasure with the 360's anemic storage and we can see right before our eyes that it is being used.

    Another point was about the online service:

    "With the inclusion of free online play, publishers know that anybody in the PS3's install base can go online. Not only does that automatically encourage developers to make use of online functionality, but it also could have important ramifications with regards to in-game ads that are streamed online. All of a sudden the potential audience for these ads is that much bigger, while on the 360 publishers of online titles with streamed in-game ads will still be limited to the number of Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Ultimately, we think that Microsoft will have no choice but to go free as well (perhaps with some ad-supported scheme with the help of MS-owned Massive Inc.), even if it's not for another couple years."

    Free online play is a big draw for us computer gamers who were leery of a recurring fee to play online. It makes buying console versions of games more acceptable rather than just waiting for a PC version of some things.

    But fundamentally the point here is that making it so that every console owner can easily be online means that game makers may well focus even more on the quality of online play, just as including a hard drive in every console gives freedom to game developers in use of system resources. The PS3 has a more expansive list of things the developer can assume exist for every player:

    *) Hard drive
    *) Match service/online play
    *) Large storage capacity
    *) Motion detection

    Any one of those items alone does not guarantee a great game. But each one of them opens up new avenues for developers and can enable them to make a great game they might not have been able to make otherwise.
  • by Wdomburg (141264) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:18PM (#16616386)
    They've got a number of screw-ups this round - they cost significantly more than the competition, production problems are going to hurt the footing they could have gained during the holiday season, they're going to miss the 2006 season entirely in Europe, and so forth.

    It's really too early to know how the market will take it. Gaming news sites really don't have their finger on the pulse of the market, in my opinion.
  • by hsoft (742011) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:58PM (#16616904) Homepage
    Not so long ago (I'm not sure, but let's say 1 1/2 year ago), a headline like this would have been laughed at. "PS3? Loose the war? Are you crazy?" Remember, nearly everyone, including fanboys were saying "Nintendo is clearly aiming for a 3rd, but profitable place" (Because of the released specs being so underpowered compared to the other 2.

    And now, today, what we have? An article trying to prove why "Sony won't lose the war?". Maybe it won't "lose the war", but it has cleary lost *something*.
  • by WiseWeasel (92224) on Friday October 27, 2006 @07:09PM (#16617060)
    It doesn't matter if a 3rd party releases a Wii-mote type device for PS3 or 360. Developers won't use it unless it ships with either the system, or bundled with their game. I doubt they could be made cheaply enough to be bundled with games.
  • by zeroduck (691015) on Friday October 27, 2006 @07:17PM (#16617164)
    But taking the console up to the checkout and paying $600 vs $400 vs $300 are completely different things. I paid $400 for my 360, and have definitely put about $200 into it (games, live, accessories) . . . but having that $500 or $600 upfront is a completely different animal.

    There's also been a few articles saying that the majority of PS3s being produced are the $600 model. There might be no choice between the $500 model and the $600 model. Something tells me that unlike the 360, the less expensive model will be the more popular. If, after launch, the $600 model is being snatched up at a higher rate than the $500 model, there's going to be a lot of people (me included) that are going to be eating their own words.

    We know the fanboys, early adapters, and people with simply too much money will buy it. We'll see about everyone else when it's released.

  • by Threni (635302) on Friday October 27, 2006 @07:46PM (#16617488)
    > And "No one needs more than 480p!"

    No-one "needs" it, no. No matter how far into the future you project, you'll never get to the point where people point at pacman, defender, duke nukem, Battlefield 2, street fighter 2 etc and say `those games sucked - just imagine how good they'd have been if they'd been in 5000*5000 pixels`. Same with films - current DVD quality is fine with me. No new films ever made will require a higher quality than is capable of being stored on a regular DVD.
  • by dank zappingly (975064) on Friday October 27, 2006 @07:58PM (#16617614)
    Both PS3's have full hdmi 1.3 output. Neither 360 does. The budget Ps3 has the same size hard drive as the premium xbox. As far as the lack of memory card slots go, I don't think anyone knows whether or not an external reader will be released, but if there is demand, i'm sure it's something that they could hook up through one of those USB ports. The premium system has 60 gb more hd, wifi, and the reader. The "nerfed" system is for people who don't want those features. Calling the 360 comparable to either system is a joke. The crummy ps3 is "comparable" to the premium 360 with HD-DVD drive. The comparison you should be making is that the "nerfed" PS3 has the same features as the "premium" 360, and also comes with wifi, a wireless controller, a high def media drive, a card reader, and free network gaming. Whether that is worth 200 dollars to you or not probably depends on whether or not you have an HDTV and wireless internet in your house, but if the cheaper PS3 is nerfed, then both xbox 360's are super duper nerfed.
  • by cheekyboy (598084) on Friday October 27, 2006 @08:49PM (#16618104) Homepage Journal
    Only kidding, they are making them in NK for $3 a pop.

    One major point here.

    The economy is due for a massive slow down, that will last along time during 07-09 due to rising inflation and oil prices and possible
    full scale wars and massive climate change reducing food supplies causing more price rises in staples. Add to that rising interest costs
    and dropping house prices killing peoples equity. www.financialsense.com - all the info you need.

    So... peoples debts go up, prices rise, they have less to spend on stuff. Sure there will be lots of rich people still able
    to afford ps3s, like IT profs, and people with little debt, or people with rich ass parents that are 250k manager, or people
    in lazy govt jobs that pay well for 34hrs a week.

    But out of millions and millions, many man many more will only barely be able to scrape through to buy a Wii, its small
    , not power hungry, kids will love it too, and hardcore gamers should be happy with it too (unless they have a 42" lcd hdtv)

    Being smaller, nintendo can ship more units per shipping container and truck or train or back of a bicycle in china, oh and
    more chineese can afford it too.

    Sure, maybe in 2 years sony can make 1million a month, but not today, and if nintendo can push out 20m in 12months, then they
    have a leg up.

    If you can only put five ps3s in a shop per week, thats not a success, even if you have a queue of 200 people wanting to buy, if half
    of them get bored and watch a Wii in the shop, and go.... hmm it looks ok, ahh its only 250, ill get it and decide on the ps3 in 2-3 months time
    if I get bored, then its a snow ball effect of lost sales, or a fire ball of batteries effect? :)

  • Re:Of couse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AArmadillo (660847) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:16AM (#16620210)
    My post had nothing to do with piracy. Those prices are real costs of those media. It clearly costs much more -- assuming manufacturer's bulk rates stay somewhat proportional, about 22 times more -- to produce a game on a blueray disc than on two DVDs.

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