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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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by chroot_james (833654)
      My impression is that the PS3's actual capabilities are not what people are claiming will kill the PS3. It's the price. I haven't heard much beyond the price as a reason to not get a PS3.

      Anyone care to say otherwise?
      • 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tbannist (230135)
        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 marketp
      • by Thangodin (177516)
        Exactly. Given that it will cost you $1000 to build an XBox360 with something approaching the same features, which will still have less power, and that all those peripherals you shell out for won't be used for the games anyway because they have to target the standard system, and price is hardly an issue. Plus Microsoft wants to charge you a monthly fee for network gaming, while Sony doesn't. You'll end up paying more for your basic XBox360 within the first two years.

        Many of the people I know who have pre-or
        • by timster (32400)
          Given that it will cost you $1000 to build an XBox360 with something approaching the same features

          Nice. Is this the $400 one with a $600 Blu-Ray player duct-taped to it?

          all those peripherals you shell out for won't be used for the games anyway because they have to target the standard system

          Wait... so why did I shell out $600 extra over the purchase price? Whoops!

          It has a full installation of Linux native, will browse the web, play music, and allow you to code on it

          Your friends need to take a look back on
    • 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.

      • "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."

        Nintendo made the fatal mistake of the N64 and mistreating developers earlier when it had a natural monopoly on games during the NES era, not to mention with the N64 they were "pulling a sega", and many hardcore and early console gamers remember the sting of the Sega CD, 32X, Saturn, etc. Sega created ill will against itself by lack of software support for release
        • Here's the pattern I see:

          NES - challenged weakly by Sega, gained huge acceptance, solidified the Nintendo name, tons of games, but many were mediocre
          SNES - challenged strongly by Sega, gained even more acceptance than the NES, kept Nintendo going strong, tons of games, many were good
          N64 - challenged overpoweringly by Sony, lost acceptance, lost much of Nintendo's brand strength, few games, some were good

          PSX - challenged weakly by Nintendo, gained huge acceptance, solidified the Sony name (for games), tons o
      • This is a myth. Yes, they didn't sell as many N64s as Sony did Playstations. But you know what? They sold plenty of them and where just about the only ones making A grade games for the console (besides Rare). Almost the same situation for the Gamecube. What that means is, Nintendo is virtually guaranteed to sell at least one copy of any game they release for each console they've sold. If there are 10 million N64s out there, that gives Nintendo 10 million sales. And the weak competition for top tear games me
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman.gmail@com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:48PM (#16616060) Homepage Journal
      Atari 5200 did well off its name for a while. After that, it had to survive on its own merits and did poorly.

      The 5200 never really did all that well. Mostly because Atari wouldn't support it.

      My thoughts?

      1995
      Sega: "The Sega Saturn is going to be the most advanced gaming machine of our time! At only $399, it will be a value. On top of that, we're releasing it six months early!"
      Sony: "$299"

      (The Sega empire fell.)

      2006
      Sony: "The PS3 is going to be the most advanced gaming machine of our time! At only $599, it will be a value. On top of that, we're releasing it ahead of Nintendo's offerings!"
      Nintendo: "$249"

      (Will Sony's empire fall? Tune in to the next exciting episode of Slashdot for the thrilling conclusion!)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by oGMo (379)
        More like:

        2000
        Sega: "The Dreamcast is going to be the most advanced gaming machine of our time! At only $149, it will be a value! On top of that, we're releasing it a year ahead of Sony's offerings!"
        Sony: "$299"

        2006
        Microsoft: "The XBOX360 is going to be the most advanced gaming machine of our time (it's just as fast as the PS3)! At only $399 (+$50/year for live, +$199 if you want HD-DVD) it will be a value! On top of that, we're releasing it a year ahead of Sony's offerings!"
        Sony: "$499 (+$1

      • Stated reasons for Sony's continued dominance, and others who have held said reasons.

        The Brand:

        The Playstation is synonymous with gaming... Just like "Playing Nintendo" or "Playing Atari."

        Microsoft (somewhat) Squandered its Lead

        Microsoft has had a year of the market to themselves, and hasn't produced any killer titles. Except Dead Rising. And Geometry Wars. You can probably count Oblivion in there too. And people seem to be playing a lot of Uno for some reason. But overall MS has had an OK but not shoc
  • A strong brand. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lemental (719730) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:58PM (#16615288)
    Like Ford? Or an IBM Branded PC?
    • by bherman (531936) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:02PM (#16615348) Homepage
      No, no, no. Those companies you point out are not a fair comparisons for Sony's business practices.

      Lets go with Enron and MCI
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by frosty_tsm (933163)
        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 qu
        • by bherman (531936)
          I guess you missed my point. Ask the average /. reader what their view of Sony as a company is. I'm sure some of the jist of what people say will be similar to what you would hear if you asked them about Enron or MCI.

          In particular I'm talking about the delay in the battery recal, the root-kit and the grey market crackdown this week.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Anyone who thinks that a gaming company can't lose is a fanboy. The real question is whether Sony has already lost with the PS3; I would say no, but I'm not writing an article for a website.

      What I think is interesting is the Playstation brand has been searched less than the Nintendo brand over the past 6 months:

      http://www.google.com/trends?q=Playstation%2C+Nint endo [google.com]
      http://www.google.com/trends?q=Playstation%2C+Nint endo&ctab=0&geo=US&date=all [google.com]

      Not really representative of anything except that the
      • by Reapman (740286)
        I actually fully expect Sony to pull a Nintendo in the 90s. Nintendo had no competition other then Sega, and they probably got a bit of the same thing Sony has, ego, and thought we can do no wrong. THey made a few mistakes and they went from first in the 90s to second/third in the 2000s.

        Will Sony still dominate after this round? Maybe, but definitly not as much as they once did. 2nd place overall would'nt suprsise me at all. Will they go out of business over this? Not by a long shot.
        • by Bert64 (520050)
          In Europe at least, Nintendo/Sega had competition from Commodore (Amiga, CD32) and Atari (Jaguar)...
          The CD32 especially (first 32bit cd based conole, vastly superior to sega's megacd and cheaper), was going very well for Commodore UK until it's US parent company went belly up and took them down with it.
      • "PS3" is still winning over "Wii" though...
        http://www.google.com/trends?q=ps3%2C+wii [google.com]
    • Or Coca-Cola?
      • by Wdomburg (141264)
        Probably a bad choice. Coke Classic is still the top-selling non-alcoholic beverage in the country, and the Coca-Cola Company is still the market leader in the carbonated beverage market (43.1% v 31.7% for PepsiCo and 14.5% for Cadbury Schweppes).

        (In one sense, PepsiCo is "winning" though, insofar as they have a higher market capitalization than Coca-Cola. That's more a product of their diversification than success in the "cola wars" though. Less than a quarter of their revenue comes from their carbonate
        • by mrpeebles (853978)
          Which, of course, is exactly what nintendo wants to- pull a pepsi. Rather than winning in the existing market, they want to expand the market for games, the same way that pepsi expanded the market for processed drinks.
  • Time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wroughtNO@SPAMgmail.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.
  • by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarrNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:07PM (#16615424) Homepage
    ...And he's entitled to his opinion. And so am I entitled to mine. Whether either opinion is valuable is totally and completely up to the individual (you).

    That said, I think there's more than enough room in the console market that nobody truly loses this round.

    But I also think that no matter how you slice it, Microsoft has cut, and cut deep, in the what would have been much greater profits for Sony from the PS3. Everybody who thought their opinion mattered said when the xBox first came out that Microsoft could never compete with Sony and the Playstation line. But, as Microsoft has shown time and time again, Microsoft is capable of assimilating a successful business strategy and making their own version viable and profitable. Sure, Microsoft has failed, don't get me wrong. Just not most of the times, or even really a substantial percentage of the times, that they've done so. 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.

    Oh and one other thing. I am not an owner of a single game console, from any year. So I don't think I am biased towards any particular one. I prefer the PC.

    TLF
    • by tbannist (230135)
      But, as Microsoft has shown time and time again, Microsoft is capable of assimilating a successful business strategy and making their own version viable and profitable.

      You lost all credibility with this one line. The Xbox line has never turned a profit, and the 360 is highly unlikely to make a profit this time around either. No other company could afford to lose the billions of dollars that Microsoft is losing on the Xbox.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499)
      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
  • by kinglink (195330) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:09PM (#16615446)
    You can play PS2 and PS1 games on your PS2 still, why go out and buy a 600 dollar system that does the same thing.

    Sony isn't going to win this round on name recognition, they COULD have, if it was a 400 dollar console, and would have at 300, but going to 600 dollars makes it less likely.

    Sony needs to win this round, and they might pull it off if Microsoft still can't break Japanese markets after Christmas next year (give them time). If Blue Dragon doesn't make a huge in-road for the 360, Sony will not have to worry.

    However sony is already running scared, dropping the price of the 20 gig model in Japan, low numbers (now saying they might not make 2 million consoles by the end of the year), a almost constant hype session, at least one a day. And all for one reason. The 360 is already here, and already getting better and better.

    Will the 360 be perfect? no. But the PS3 is looking worse as the launch window comes up, they'll sell out, but the 360 has 6 MILLION consoles out there. The PS3 has 2 million at the end of the year if they are lucky. Developers know this, and know the score.

    Which will win though? Who knows, it all rests on Japan right now, and even there people arn't thrilled with Sony.
    • Sony isn't going to win this round on name recognition, they COULD have, if it was a 400 dollar console, and would have at 300, but going to 600 dollars makes it less likely.

      The cheapest PS3 is $500, not $600. And people seem quite happy paying $400 for a premium 360 with a fee for Live so a slightly more expensive PS3 with free online service should sell equally well - at least for the first six million units or so. And then they have sold enough to build momentum.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by zeroduck (691015)
        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 mode
      • by kinglink (195330)
        Either 500 or 600 compared to the comparable 360, you're still paying 200 dollars more.

        The 500 dollar ps3 has said they will be missing a couple of the features that the 600 dollar will, and will NOT be upgradable. There was reports that these missing features are stuff like memory card slots and high def output. If you're buying the system according to what the article is talking about (backwards compatibility) that memory card slot abscene means you will no longer be able to import old save games, so th
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          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 eit
        • No 360 sold today includes an HDMI output, both PS3 models will (a late change made because people like you thought you needed HDMI for HD output).

          The 360 will be able to do 1080p with a patch over component, which works really well - but many displays are sadly moving to HDMI.
          • Yes, 1080p is moving to HDMI.

            Every 1080p tv on the market ALSO has a VGA connection.

            Microsoft is moving toward using the VGA connector as an answer to HDMI.

            Also, the DRM (I am not an expert on these things, I am only giving anecdotal evidence here) that becomes part of 1080p over HDMI is not in place when using VGA.

            So- how do you get 1080p without DRM and HDMI?

            VGA.

            • Every 1080p tv on the market ALSO has a VGA connection.

              Microsoft is moving toward using the VGA connector as an answer to HDMI.


              Also, the DRM (I am not an expert on these things, I am only giving anecdotal evidence here) that becomes part of 1080p over HDMI is not in place when using VGA.

              Yes some TV's (not all) come with VGA inputs. However remember all the screaming about how video resolution could be downgraded on some movies without the HDMI connector? Well that applies equally to the non-encrypted VGA
          • by kinglink (195330)
            except almost NO TVs that are even reasonably price supports "true" 1080p over HDMI, because you need 2 HDMI-ins. So if more then half the HD sets out there doesn't support it, what's the use? PS3 might have HDMI, but the 50 inch tv my family got last year doesn't have it, so what? are we supposed to run out and buy another? The tv they owned before this one was 5-10 years old and always worked, making us buy new TVs ever couple years isn't a win for the consumer it's a win for the seller.
            • except almost NO TVs that are even reasonably price supports "true" 1080p over HDMI, because you need 2 HDMI-ins.

              I cannot believe a site like Slashdot, populated by the most technologically advanced people on the planet, cannot understand something as simple as HDMI!!!

              HDMI is just a wrapper around an encrypted VGA-like digital connection and also audio data. What makes you think you need two HDMI inputs to do 1080p? The whole freaking POINT of HDMI is to support the digital bandwidth to handle 1080p (at 6
  • by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinuxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:10PM (#16615464) Homepage
    "And why won't you be buying a PS3?"

    "Because it's 600 f*cking dollars..."
  • by jchenx (267053) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:11PM (#16615480) Journal
    A year ago, if you would have asked any analyst or gamer if Sony was going to lose the next-gen console war, you would have been laughed at. It was preposterous to think that the house that Sony built was going to crumble any time soon.

    It's been almost a complete 180. Now you have analysts trying to prove why Sony won't lose the next-gen war, and a lot of people doubting them.

    I'm no Sony fanboi (or anyone's fanboi for that matter, I'm console agnostic), but I don't think Sony is going to lose the next-gen war either, despite all of the company's goof-ups and mistakes. However, it's still amazing to note how far Sony has fallen, and much Nintendo's and MS's stock has risen over the course of only a year.
    • However, it's still amazing to note how far Sony has fallen, and much Nintendo's and MS's stock has risen over the course of only a year.

      Its really Nintendo that has been the largest dynamic in this go-round of console launches. (Don't mind me, I'm just going to type aloud (?) here for a bit.)

      We've been speculating for years and now we can see the shape of games to come. I find it quite fascinating to see how strategies have coalesced amongst the big 3 respectively. Previous trend was to go bigger, more

      • 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.
      • First of all, I agree with your assessment. It's quite spot on. I do have a comment though ...

        MS launches first by a long shot and does the very safest thing, not 40X but more like 10-12X (being extremely vague here, don't crucify me) and the famously solid online component. Less cost than PS3, less powerful, more understandable, more predictable.

        I think your comment, regarding performance, is exactly what Sony wants you to think. It's the same game they played with the PS2, in order to sink the Dreamcast.

        • by trdrstv (986999)
          It's marginally more powerful, probably on the scale the Xbox was over the PS2.

          you mean Marginally more powerful, probably on the scale the Xbox was over the Gamecube . The X-box was 2 times (or more) powerful than the PS2 on everything aside from Disk capacity. The Gamecube was marginally weaker than the X-box on everything (aside from Disk capacity).

    • 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 st
      • by cptgrudge (177113)

        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.

        So I take it you're a "Glass is Half Empty" sort of person?

        Oh, you're not. My apologies. You would have mentioned a bird flu epidemic in there somewhere.

  • 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???
  • by cliveholloway (132299) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:22PM (#16615670) Homepage Journal
    Any product whose logo is a subliminal picture of two men staring at a pair of breasts is bound to win overall.
  • Historically, it took some major screw up on Nintendo's part (N64) and a briliant system (PSX) for market leader to exchange, so yes it is pretty safe to bet the guy who conclusively won the last round will probably win again. One might say Sony is in a worse position this round than the last, but they got quite a bit of room to work with coming off as the undisputed winner of last two rounds. They can give up quite a bit of market share before even losing the majority (50%+) status. Now if PS3 end up wi
    • Historically, it took some major screw up on Nintendo's part (N64) and a briliant system (PSX) for market leader to exchange,

      Pretty much. I agree. Now, let's update that with current information.

      Historically, it took some major screw up on Sony's part (PS3)and a briliant system (Wii) for market leader to exchange.

      Given the numbers Sony has an uphill battle. Day 1, the Wii will be the next gen market leader in Japan*, where much of the game development is.

      *To Date Microsoft hasn't sold 100,000 X-b

      • by Astarica (986098)
        The next generation battle hasn't even started yet. At the start people thought N64 sounded like a good idea and it turned out it was a very bad idea. Certainly no one thought Nintendo could screw up with the N64, but they did. So why would you expect anyone to be able to predict the future with any accuracy? No one will say that PS3 is off to a great start, but one as bad as N64? Historically a screw up of that magnitude has happened only once. It could happen again, but that's not where I'd start be
        • by trdrstv (986999)
          Had this been Dreamcast 2 or a product from anyone other than Sony after dominating for 2 generations, then yes there would be alot more criticism of this new system.

          Take the DS out of my example. The Wii will sell more than 100,000 units during the first week of launch in Japan. Let's not even go into why MS has failed to break that number in a year, or Sony's manufacturing issues. Nintendo will have more systems sold from the start than either of their competitors in that region. They will be the Next g

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wdomburg (141264)
      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 DeadChobi (740395)
      The real problem that I see with the PS3 is that, in order for them to have majority marketshare they have to have more systems available than Microsoft. As of now, Microsoft has majority marketshare for getting to market sooner. Nintendo is changing markets to the casual gamer, and Sony is trying to get people with a lot of money to throw around. I think that a lot of people are missing what Sony is saying about the PS3. Think about the amount of space a DVD player, a Blue-Ray player, a DVR, and whatever e
      • by trdrstv (986999)
        Think about the amount of space a DVD player, a Blue-Ray player, a DVR, and whatever else the PS3 does would take up. Now, think about the cost. Then go back and look at the size of the PS3 and the cost.

        I just wanted to point out the PS3 has NO DVR capabilities (you're thinking of the PSX that was a souped up PS2 released in Japan), and any Blue-Ray player will also play DVD's. So think about the space a PS2, and a Blue-Ray player would take up. Then compare cost. That is assuming of course you want

  • The brand name doesn't mean much. Probably the only people who buy a console on brand are the early adopters. People who get a console at release with no real way of knowing whether or not it's going to flop.

    Unlike other industries though these people don't give any kind of indication of whether or not things will go well. Most of the great games that will really sell consoles are halfway into development by the time release comes out and they'll be released even if the initial sales are bad. If those g
  • by LukeCage (1007133) on Friday October 27, 2006 @05:46PM (#16616040)
    Honestly, the "Playstation Brand" has been the only real justification for predicting any kind of Playstation3 success ever since Sony had their lackluster E3 2006 press briefing.

    Now, this is just personal experience speaking, but myself and three other close friends have all purchased Xbox360s over the last five months, ever since Sony's premium price was announced. These were all people (including myself) who had a strong interest in the Playstation brand but were immediately turned off by the pricing vs. features, lack of an online plan, and general corporate behavior. And while my personal experience by no means constitutes a trend, I have no doubt that others feel the same way. I think that Sony's in bad shape.

    There's no doubt that Blu-Ray may appeal to a subset of consumers. I wonder if those same consumers will enjoy paying 30 dollars or more for the Blu-Ray titles - a 50 percent premium over DVDs. This is something that no one talks about and I don't see why not. Until the price of the disks come down you, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD will be a no-go no matter how you slice it. You could put a Blu-Ray player in every home and it still wouldn't sell because the media is simply too expensive for cost vs. performance. So, at this point Sony is essentially selling a media playing format at a loss - and no one will want to pay the premium to get that media, because they either a) don't want to spend the money, or b) literally don't have the equipment to properly display high-def signal (look at the fury over Dead Rising). That's a losing proposition to me.

    I think this is probably the most interesting generation of console releases ever, and I've seen them all. What is interesting to me is that Nintendo is poised to walk away in second place (worst case scenario) or even get to first place if they manage to cross that mystical boundry that seperates "gamers" from the game-playing public. A few games have managed to do this; The Sims and Myst being the two most notable examples. If you can make a fun, easy-to-use system with a TRUE wide variety of appeal then you will become the king of the living room. But even if you can't get the casuals, Nintendo's low price and unique controller basically guarantees that it will become the second console of choice to the hardcore gamer crowd who wants either a different kind of game or something more tactile and accessible to rope in their casual friends. I also think that pro-Wii Nintendo fans, who will buy the console for Nintendo's franchises, have not yet realized the impact of buying a slightly-upgraded Gamecube down the line. In two or three years, when a game is released for Xbox360 or PS3 that really blows away the public (and it will happen, as it has happened in every generation) Wii owners are going to want to get in on that. At that point, their console's anemic power might be a liability. A port might not be technically feasible, in which case, they will then have to make a choice: Xbox360 or PS3? Which leaves us with the distinct possibility that Nintendo might get a Wii into the majority of gamer's homes (and at a profit, too!) and also appeal to the casual audience.

    Microsoft and Sony are not so lucky. By pricing their consoles expensively and having similiar technical specs, Microsoft and Sony have turned their segment into an "all or nothing" proposition. They will either take first place or die.

    There are, of course, other factors, but they rely on games, mindshare, game franchises, and online play...not console branding. Final Fantasy and Metal Gear may move units, but niether game will appeal to anyone beyond it's already hardcore fan groups. What's hilarious is that a simple look back through the history of consoles shows that console-branding means jack squat. Atari was king, but bad games let the crown slip to Nintendo. Nintendo built an almost insurmountable lead with the NES, was chipped away at by the Genesis (and how was that accomplished? GAMES! The product was inferior technically), crushed by the Playstation (also an inferi
  • Contestable (Score:2, Insightful)

    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
    • If every single MS employee bought a ps3, and got their purchase reimbursed by MS, then kept the PS3 at home but not buy any games, just
      have it sit there and use it as a cheap blueray player, and nothing more with perhaps playing cheap ps2 games. Then it would
      make a bigger dent for Sony as the systems would be GONE fast, but then no games would be being sold and the real fanbois would be
      screaming as there would be even less ps3s available.

      100k ps3s = 60000000 dollars, barely a dent for MS, in japan
  • 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 bac

    • The GC disappeared? Really? Wow, when did that happen? Because, you know, I could've sworn I had reserved a copy of Twilight Princess for the, uh, you know...GameCube.

      Remember, a small and still-growing library of games is not the same thing as a dead and stagnant one. For that matter, the Dreamcast isn't really dead either--only from a commercial perspective--because of the homebrew scene.
      • by cptgrudge (177113)

        For that matter, the Dreamcast isn't really dead either--only from a commercial perspective--because of the homebrew scene.

        In the same way, the XBox will probably not die for a long while either. The absolutely fantastic XBMC and the various homebrew apps available in tandem with it will ensure the XBox stays alive. I'm actually looking to get a second XBox (used), slap XBMC on it, and put it in the living room to stream ripped DVDs (DIVX/XVID) and play music (OGG). They will probably stay in place f

    • 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 back
    • The ps2 was expensive when it came out.

      The PS2 was $300 when it launched in the US. Not counting inflation, that's the same price as the original Playstation when it debuted. Though, I guess something being expensive can be relative.
  • 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 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*.
  • At the gym... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by garyok (218493) on Friday October 27, 2006 @07:25PM (#16617266)
    I was talking to one of the personal trainers and we got talking about consoles and handhelds and he said, unsolicited, that he was now boycotting Sony because of their piss-poor customer service. Apparently he had one of their walkmans and it'd failed after only 4 months so he sent it back for replacement - Sony returned it to him 4 month later claiming the failure was due to "water damage" and said that they wouldn't replace it. He'd heard about the CD rootkit, but he was pretty surprised when I told him of it's implications and some of the other strokes that Sony had pulled recently and he definitely wasn't impressed hearing about Lik-Sang. So he's tried Nintendo's goodies and he's a fan now.

    The point is: it's not just pasty-faced geeks on websites bitching about Sony any more - anti-Sony sentiment has gone mainstream. Sony are in meltdown and they're betting the farm on a console that ordinary, non-techie people are displaying a visceral aversion to. The general perception of Sony producing quality products is gone. And the beauty of it is they've given pretty much everyone in every one of their markets reason to suspect and reject their goods.

    Sony's unlikely to fail in the long-term due to Japanese business practises - shareholders holding onto stock well past the point westerners would cut their losses and corporations shoring each other up - but in the short- and medium-term they're looking pretty damned screwed.

  • How many thousands of times did we hear how the Xbox could not sell in Japan due to its girth?

    Now we have the PS3 which is even larger in all three dimensions and all of a sudden this is a moot issue?

  • ...but it isn't as much of a deciding factor as some might think.
    Past success didn't help Nintendo much with the N64, and I would say that alot more people have fond memories with "Nintendo" than with "Playstation", even today.
    The N64 wasn't the huge cartridge-hardware mistake many people believe it to be (most games wouldn't have had a problem with the more limited space). It even looked as if Nintendo was winning in the early days of the system.

    TFA is a bit strange though. What is he basing it on? Because
  • That's right, I believe the market is so huge, and videogames are so mainstream commercial, that all three consoles can prosper. Hollywood movies generally suck, television's viewing audience is shriveling up and pc games don't have the advantage of better graphics or online capability anymore. So what's left to entertain (I can only imagine the replies to this question) but three cutting edge gaming systems.
  • By the time they launch that system, "the Great HD fizzle" (Betamax II) will be history and the true Next Generation War will be upon us.

    You've all heard or taken part of the great counsel vs. PC flame war and how the PC is all but dead. Well I beg to differ. Not only is the PC far from dead it's about to smack counsel gaming in the back of the head with a 2x4.

    Multiple Independent online game/music/movie/TV delivery systems, 1Tb hard drives, Dx10 video, quad SLI & Crossfire, 1x PCIX video cards, m

  • At least - finally - an article put launch woes into context. The PS2 had a TERRIBLE launch. It was so ridiculed that SEGA's Dreamcast advertising took aim at it with the "tongue" series of ads (a kid sticking out his tongue) - 3 months after the ad ran - the Dreamcast was cast off.

    Launch means nothing to Japanese companies, and the history books. They will stick it out until they dominate. The fact that the PS2 sales STILL dominate makes that point clear as well as the 100 plus million units sold.

    It'll be

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