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Nolan Bushnell Disappointed With PS3 124

Posted by Zonk
from the coin-op-frustration dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Atari founder Nolan Bushnell points out that PS and PS2 got lucky with their release, 'It wasn't anything brilliant that they did. With the PS and PS2 it was timing. They had the right pricing at the right time [and were] almost the accidental winner.' But he sees things differently this time around. 'It would not surprise me if a year from now they'll be struggling to sell 1 million units.'" I find that kind of hard to believe, but he raises some more salient points in the other parts of the article.
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Nolan Bushnell Disappointed With PS3

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  • Re:Weird (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <namtabmiaka>> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:34PM (#16773189) Homepage Journal
    Funny coming from a guy that works at one of the biggest failures in console hardware

    Oh? Where would that be? I seem to remember that the Atari 2600 was anything but a huge failure.
  • by ImaNihilist (889325) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:44PM (#16773411)
    In real [2006] dollars, most of the consoles that have ever existed cost more than $300, save for maybe the N64.
  • by JordanL (886154) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xuodel.nadroj}> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:44PM (#16773423) Homepage
    I know who he is. Plenty of famous and important people can be complteely retarded. Lapsing into utter stupidity is not something limitted to the weak among us.
  • by abaddononion (1004472) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:46PM (#16773479)
    Bushnell left Atari in 1978. Methinks he didn't have anything to do with the Jaguar, 5200, or E.T.

    Thank you!!
    Jesus H. Christ, Slashdotters are driving me nuts on this one. "His company had failure ehe he stupid me smart him not know so much pblblblbl".
    In Atari's early days, when Bushnell actually WAS there, they were a staple of the technology industry as a whole. Heck, Steve Wozniak got his start there (and his education, as much as he ever had one. the man seems to have just been born brilliant), and anyone who knows much about Apple knows the name Wozniak.
    Also, Id like to point out from the article:

    Mr. Bushnell is the founder of more than twenty companies and a member of both the video game and consumer electronics association hall of fame.
    In short, I dont care if he HAD still been in Atari when the Jaguar and other failures happened, the man is more accomplished that Id say easily 95% of the people here at slashdot, and did more for the technology industry than most of us will probably ever be able to claim. When he speaks out, even if he's not entirely correct (which I have no problem conceding to), he deserves more fscking respect than this.
  • Meta-Criticism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <namtabmiaka>> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:58PM (#16773751) Homepage Journal
    What an interesting thread. The number of inaccuracies and outright falsehoods is amazing. For example:

    Is this guy like the Dvorak of video games or something?

    No, he's the guy who founded Atari, and single-handedly created the Video Game industry.

    That said, I don't really care what some random asshat says about a yet-to-be-released console. What? Will slashdot start posting articles about my opinions?

    Depends, did you invent the Video Game Industry? No? Then STFU.

    Funny coming from a guy that works at one of the biggest failures in console hardware

    Busnell was responsible for Atari's early arcade games, their Pong machines, and the Atari 2600. Save for the poor showing of the Space War arcade game, none of those were abject failures.

    Not sure if I'd trust a person whose company was responsible for multiple failed consoles (Jaguar, 5200, ET the game, to name a few).

    Bushnell left Atari in 1978, partly because of a disagreement over the 5200 strategy. Warner wanted to branch out into computers (the Atari 400/800) while Bushnell wanted to keep the 8-bit technology for the next game console. Warner effectively pushed him out of the company, at which point he went on to dedicate his energies to the highly successful Pizza Time restaurant. (Known today as "Chuck E. Cheeses".)

    Warner continued with their 8-bit computer plans, while developing new technology for the next console. Unfortunately, the technology for the next console failed to work out, causing Atari to repackage an 8-Bit computer as a game console. (The 5200.) At that point, however, the 5200 was late to the market, overbuilt for being a game console, and had these poor analog controllers which failed within hours of use. It was absolutely nothing like the original vision for the console, and failed from a combination of consumer pushback and Atari's own failure to support it.

    E.T. was a rush job to get an E.T. licensed game out for Christmas 1982. That was another Warner/Atari failure. The video game crash caused the company to be sold to Jack Tramiel (of Commodore fame) who gutted the company. Tramiel's legacy was the poorly supported Atari 7800, the Atari Lynx, and the Atari Jaguar.

    Oh? Where [was Bushnell's failures]?
    Three words: Jaguar and 5200

    *sigh*

    Bushnell Leaves Atari: 1978
    Atari Releases 5200: 1982
    Warner sells Atari: 1984
    Jaguar Released: 1993

    Actually, from a business perspective, he was quite successful. He sold Atari to Warner Brothers. He wasn't around when Atari was burying E.T. game cartridges into a landfill.

    Hallelujah! Someone who actually got it right!
  • by davFr (679391) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:12PM (#16774001)
    title: Nolan Bushnell Dissapointed with PS3
    Where did you read that? He said that he was not confident with Sony marketing and pricing strategy. Which is slightly different ...
    I find that kind of hard to believe, but he raises some more salient points in the other parts of the article.
    Sorry, I did not find any valid points...
  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:13PM (#16774039)
    >And buying a more expensive PC simply to play games on it is better how? Not to mention all the usual Windows problems that goes with it? Service Pack 2 or not, there's always new holes being discovered and you'll never been 100% safe (or, in the case of Windows, even 50% safe I guess). Very few people buy a PC "simply to play games on." In fact, almost every household that has a recent game console also has a PC. So it's not so much a matter of buying a PC or a game console. It's a matter of buying a game console in addition to your PC, or saving your money and just playing games on what you already have. And yes, for most people the cheap wimpy computer they use to do their email and web-browsing is also good enough to play the games they want to play. And regardless, when you upgrade your PC and spend more money on it, you get just that many more functions that a console can't do. >I'd rather use consoles to play games, thanks. And with the Wii coming up, it might even beat the old keyboard+mouse combo for some games. As for "PC games", well, there's the Xbox 360. That's great. For some games, I'd rather play them on a console too. And I'm really excited about the Wii. But consoles are not a replacement for PCs, and no console controller will ever beat a keyboard+mouse for games that keyboard+mouse have always been better at. They might come close for FPS games, but that's still a ways off. For RTS games, not a chance. The huge amount of keys and keyboard shortcuts used by good RTS players completely excludes console controllers from ever coming close to being as useful. And why play stripped-down versions of PC games on a console when you can play the real version?
  • Re:hehe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fozzyuw (950608) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:15PM (#16774065)
    one of the main resons i like sonys consoles is the fact that they make is easy to make games for it

    You'll have to explain what you mean by 'make games'. Fact is, the PS2 was not 'easy' to develop for. It was more difficult to develop for than the GameCube, due to it's hardware (also, why the PS2 was 'more powerful'). The GameCube's simpler (and less powerful in some regards) hardware also made it easier and faster to develop on. The XBox was "easier" as well as it used DirectX which was already being used by lots of programmers for computer games.

    Otherwise, I think that the licensing fees where pretty comparable for both systems, but I cannot recall ever reading an article that made developing games easier for the GameCube/PS2 due to company licenses. I do recall reading that Nintendo lost a large 3rd party support with it's NES due to their Monopolistic license fees, which carried over the SNES (as well as it's late release) and caused plenty of people to jump ship to Sony when they released their PSOne and had very relaxed fees. That was the foundation for the whole PlayStation empire.

    Just the number of games a console has, is not a very strong indication of how easy it is to develop for. In fact, the reason Sony has so many games is simply because it has the largest market share. It's the same phenomenon that the NES had in it's day. The NES had tons of crappy games with a few real winners, much like the PS2. Of course, that's an overly simplistic view, as I'm sure there are a lot more market factors, but for the most part, this would be the biggest reason.

    Of course, once a system gets so many people working on it, soon code gets shared and libraries get built that make it easier to take advantage of the hardware. It's one of the reasons why game engines such as Unreal get sold to other developers. They did the 'hard' part already, so the development teams can focus on other things.

    Cheers,
    Fozzy

  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <namtabmiaka>> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:48PM (#16774741) Homepage Journal
    How about reporting that people who actually have seen/used the PS3 love it?

    Funny. I saw that same story on the apwire [excite.com] the other day. Now where did I find that link... ? Oh yeah! On Slashdot! [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:59PM (#16774957)
    Did you even bother to read what you linked to?

    uWink *is* the "upscale Dave n Busters clone" that you don't think exists.
  • by JordanL (886154) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xuodel.nadroj}> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:04PM (#16775061) Homepage
    If HE says Sony is setting themselves up to come crashing down, you better believe they are.

    Because Atari was diversified in nearly every consumer electronic product in existence, had holdings in intellectual property markets and a market cap of $41 billion.

    Sorry, Sony is a different boat than a company who created a market by convincing people that a new type of product was something they wanted.

    Bushnell is respectable, and he has experience in the field, but the industry is an entirely different game now. Markets, and products are merging. How many people thought consumers would pay $300+ for a music device? Jobs did, and that's all that mattered evidentally.

    Bushnell is, erroneously, using experience from a younger, less mature, less saturated market, to make prediction about a market which has merged with several other markets and a company which he is neither privvy to, nor had comparable experience or resources to when he was running the show.

    This is just like someone quoting Einstein on philosophy. The man was an expert in math and physics... that doesn't make him an expert on everything.
  • Re:hehe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sm4kxd (683513) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:13PM (#16775247)
    one of the main resons i like sonys consoles is the fact that they make is easy to make games for it...

    No, in fact, the PS2 was the most difficult to program for in the previous generation. Xbox and Gamecube were designed around familiar architecture and established standards so that it was easy for developers to embrace the platform. Sony did what it has always done and took its own completely untraveled path.

    The number of games available on PS2 has WAY more to do with the large established user base of the PS1, and a combination of the timing and price of the PS2 (it was a "cheap dvd player" for so long, that lead to a large PS2 ownership). There are more games for it simply because there are more units out there. It's a much bigger group of fat wallets to grab money from than say the nGage and its measly unit sales. Nintendo didn't have such a large group of loyal fans coming off the n64, and Microsoft had the skepticism of the entire industry to battle.

    As for discounting the Wii, I think unless you are one of the lucky few that has had a chance to use it already, you have no idea what you are really in for. You can do what you want, but I bet once you try one you will like it. Even Sony is nervous about it, else they wouldn't have added the tilt sensors to the PS3.

    It sounds more like you are discounting the alternatives because they aren't the choice you have already made.
  • Re:hehe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twistedsymphony (956982) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @05:20PM (#16775369) Homepage
    There's a reason the PS2 has a larger catalog then the other consoles... The PS2 had over a year head start on the Xbox and Gamecube in the US, and closer to 20 months in Japan.

    Consumers and game makers alike had the choice of: Buy/make games for PS2 or don't do anything at all. This is what Bushnell meant when he says it was a success based on timing.... Sony owned the market because they had no competition.

    This kind of lead built on itself, companies made all of their games for the PS2 because it was the only console around, gamers all only bought the PS2 because it was the only console around, and then once Nintendo and Microsoft showed up it didn't matter because Sony already had an insurmountable install base, companies continued making all of their games for the PS2 because that's where the gamers were and gamers kept buying the PS2 because that's where all the games were. It had nothing to do with the ease of programming and everything to do with market share and the lack of options to consumers.

    The tables are turned this generation, Basically MS and Sony find their positions swapped. MS has the market to itself and Sony and Nintendo are launching a year later. It's not exactly the same though, because many people were turned off by the $400 price tag of the 360, last gen consoles are still worth while (while the PS1 and N64 were showing their age when the PS2 rolled out) and based on the creeping market share by the Xbox and Gamecube by the end of the last generation people are more likely to wait to see what the PS3 and Wii have to offer. Even still a full year lead is a full year lead, and it would seem that Sony's tech while powerful isn't as far ahead of MS this generation as MS was ahead of Sony last generation, nor is Nintendo's new offering as boring as the GC was in terms of innovation.

    I don't think anyone will run away with a market lead this time around, and I don't think Sony's consoles are popular because they did anything particularly well.... just released at the right time.

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