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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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  • 1 Million In A Year? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by JordanL (886154)
    They have almost half of that sold in pre-orders/campers already...

    Is this guy like the Dvorak of video games or something?
    • by sokoban (142301) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @03:34PM (#16773183) Homepage

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


      No, he's the fucking Nolan Bushnell of videogames.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Bushnell [wikipedia.org]

      I'd say he has a little bit more credibility about videogame-related matters than you do.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by JordanL (886154)
        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.
        • Yes but if anyone know how to both run a company to becoming the biggest system manufacturer in the industry, AND THEN run said company into the ground its Bushnell.

          If HE says Sony is setting themselves up to come crashing down, you better believe they are.

          • by pdboddy (620164)
            Yes, and the world only needs five computers. :P
          • by JordanL (886154) <jordan@ledoux.gmail@com> 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.
            • by pdboddy (620164)
              You do have a point there, video game consoles have been climbing in price with every generation. It used to be that 200 dollars was the magic line, and that line has shifted. Perhaps Sony is just the unlucky first to climb over the 600 dollar mark.

              But, you can't totally discount Bushnell's comments, as he has gone on to start a couple dozen successful companies, he does have experience and he has stayed on top of the video game market from the sounds of things. He says (along with others in the indust
            • How is comparing the circumstances of the PS and PS2's release to that of the PS3's release "erroneaously using experiennce from a younger, less mature, less saturated market"? Look at the PS2 from an innovation standpoint. They didn't do anyting new with their system, besides allow you to watch DVDs on it. The fact of the matter is that they released an increase in prcessor and graphics power, and their timing allowed them to charge $300 for them. The Gamecube released more power a year later for less mone
      • by davFr (679391)
        Common', this guy spent more time selling pizza than in the videogame industry!
        To have both sides of the story, Red Herring would certainly have to interview the manager of a japanese restaurant...
      • by kfg (145172)
        You had the perfect post with the first sentence; then you went and added more.

        KFG
      • Ahem. The Commodore CDTV. He's got about as much credibility in the modern market as a giant panda.
    • by Brigade (974884)
      Actually .. there's only 175k slated for US, and 400k worldwide before X-mas. That's from my buddy the manager of a local chain store. Not to mention that he's told me that at least 1/2 of his pre-orders are destined for E-bay. I'd say something about that devious plan, but I'm under an NDA .. suffice it to say it'll be an interesting Friday.
      • by JordanL (886154)

        Actually .. there's only 175k slated for US, and 400k worldwide before X-mas.

        Oh? Because EVERY respectable place I've heard so far is still saying 400k.

        That's from my buddy the manager of a local chain store.

        Yeah, because I have TONS of experience assuring me that the manager of a retail store is an expert on corporate politics and electronics manufacture numbers.

        Not to mention that he's told me that at least 1/2 of his pre-orders are destined for E-bay.
        And how exactly does he know this?

        I'

      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        It's 400k for the US on a total shipment of 480k. Perhaps that guy meant 175k go to his chain. Because 175k to the US and 80k to Japan would leave a big discrepancy with that 400k total shipment you claim.
  • Meta-Criticism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> 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 kinglink (195330)
      *applauds* kudos for explaining why Bushnell is a god of the industry. This is actually incredibly helpful. I forgot he's was one of the owners of Chuck E. Cheese up til around 1984 (though that end was a little bad) But Bushnell is still considered the grandfather of the video game industry (or God to some, personally I like Warren Spector more but that's me)

      In other news, I got a ET cartridge the other day for 2 bucks, I feel I paid 5 bucks more than I should have.
    • by MBraynard (653724)
      Those are good points - but what has he done lately in the business to give you the idea that he knows what he is talking about now?

      I would think that the PS's success is due to the kind of games they had and relationships Sony made with developers/publishers.

      • He runs Atari Games, still one of the biggest arcade manufacturers in the industry as well as a company who makes system games and has had to deal with Sony on many occasions.

        He also is the developer and owner of a new line of upscale Dave and Busters type adult arcades.

        He knows the market who is going to be buying the PS3. They are the people who buy his games.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by AKAImBatman (238306) *

          He runs Atari Games, still one of the biggest arcade manufacturers in the industry as well as a company who makes system games

          I don't think so... [wikipedia.org]

          He also is the developer and owner of a new line of upscale Dave and Busters type adult arcades.

          I still don't think so... [wikipedia.org]

          He knows the market who is going to be buying the PS3. They are the people who buy his games.

          Nobody buys his games anymore. [wikipedia.org] They just play them.

          The real answer is that through the years Mr. Bushnell has founded over a dozen companies related to v

          • by Anonymous Coward
            Did you even bother to read what you linked to?

            uWink *is* the "upscale Dave n Busters clone" that you don't think exists.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by PaulMorel (962396)

        I would think that the PS's success is due to the kind of games they had and relationships Sony made with developers/publishers.

        Right, and the reason they were able to craft these relationships was that they had the biggest installed user base. Bushnell wisely points out that even if Sony's current production estimates are accurate, and they instantly sell every one that they ship (highly unlikely), then they won't be the market leader until mid 2007. That's assuming that Microsoft doesn't sell a sing

        • "Assuming that 360 sales continue to at the pace they are at now (an underestimate, to be sure), then we're looking at January 2008ish as the earliest that Sony can feasibly be the market leader. "

          As always the system selling games, wide library and their exclusivity will determine the sell through of the console. Most people who aren't gamers and who have a good grasp of gaming history are not really able to comment on why something is or isn't successful. Gamers get consoles to play games, before PS1 h
      • Those are good points - but what has he done lately in the business to give you the idea that he knows what he is talking about now?
        I would think that the PS's success is due to the kind of games they had and relationships Sony made with developers/publishers.


        Has the gaming market changed all that much over its entire history?

        The fact is that there is a certain similar strategy which made the Atari 2600, NES, Gameboy, SNES, Playstation, Playstation 2, Gameboy Advance and the Nintendo DS more successful than
    • The number of inaccuracies and outright falsehoods is amazing

      While I agree that there's been a lot of that here, you're not immune your self.

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

      Actually, he's the guy who *co-founded* Atari and jumpstarted the video game industry. He did not "single-handedly create the Video Game Industry". He did create the video game *arcade* industry, however the console industry was created by Ralph Baer and Magnavox. PON

      • Learn to preview.

        Actually, he's the guy who *co-founded* Atari and jumpstarted the video game industry.

        Whatever happened to Dabney, anyway?

        He did not "single-handedly create the Video Game Industry".

        Ralph Baer single-handedly created video games. The Magnavox Odyssey was a complete failure, making Atari responsible for creating the Video Game industry.

        PONG arcade sales simply helped sales of the Magnavox Odyssey

        If that were true, then the Odyssey wouldn't have failed. (It was released to the market the same

        • Whatever happened to Dabney, anyway?

          He's still around, in the middle of interviewing him in fact.

          Ralph Baer single-handedly created video games. The Magnavox Odyssey was a complete failure, making Atari responsible for creating the Video Game industry.

          Again incorrect, and more quoting from fansites rather than accurate sources. The Magnavox Odyssey sold about 375,000 units in its US release alone, with that ammount doubled including world wide released. This is during a 4 year run ('72-'75) with U

          • Again incorrect, and more quoting from fansites rather than accurate sources.

            In that case, fix your own damn fansite [classicgaming.com]: "However, even with this initial success, the console did not fair well."

            You're spreading disinformation, Mr. Site Director.

            The Magnavox Odyssey sold about 375,000 units in its US release alone,

            Neither Mr. Baer or PongStory have upped their esitmates from 350,000 units. If you have new information, you might want to share with them so that they're not spreading disinformation from their "fan

    • Just reposting my response, had a messed div closing tag. This should be easier to read.

      The number of inaccuracies and outright falsehoods is amazing

      While I agree that there's been a lot of that here, you're not immune your self.

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

      Actually, he's the guy who *co-founded* Atari and jumpstarted the video game industry. He did not "single-handedly create the Video Game Industry". He did create the video game

      • Sorry, missed this part when I was sorting through your previous post:

        Likewise, the controllers did not "fail within hours of use", you're missquoting again (taken from the comment on Curt's site "the rubber around the base would turn into tatters after only a few hours"). The rubber base was the poor man's "auto-centering" of the analog joysticks, and once these went it effected the games that required that sort of precision.

        It is not incorrect, it is a simplification. I do not have all day to rant on abou

        • It is not incorrect, it is a simplification.

          If its stating that all the paddles failed within hours of play, it is not a simplification, it is incorrect and a missquote.

          I do not have all day to rant on about the oxydization of the membrane keys,

          Oxidization happens over a short (over hours) time? I'd love to see that trick.

          the POTs not being clipped down (the POTs would often pop out, causing another failure in a very short period of time), the lack of springs, or the variety of other litt

  • 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 pdboddy (620164) <pdboddy@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:39PM (#16774577) Homepage Journal
    From reading the article, Bushnell is forecasting that Sony will not do well with the PS3. He's not dissing the machine itself, he's dissing Sony's marketing scheme and price point. No mention of him being "disappointed" by the PS3 at all.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @04:56PM (#16774887)
    This spin is pretty silly - Nolan said he didn't think Sony's pricing or timing on the PS3 were as good, he didn't say anything about not liking the PS3 itself.

    His claim they are going to have trouble selling a million within a year ignores the early preorder prices systems are going for on eBay. They could sell a million by Christmas if they had them - in the US they should have around 600k-800k by the end of the year, and people will be snapping those up.
    • by amuro98 (461673)
      Yes, I don't understand Nolan's comments at all where he says there's only 300k early adopters, yet it's a foregone conclusion that 100% of 400k units making up the initial launch allocation have already been spoken for (with eBay on standby) So the PS3 has already outsold his predictions?

      It'll sell 1 million in the US easy. But over taking the 360 which is ahead in sales and price, is going to be the hard part. Especially since the majority of the PS3's launch games are cross-platform.
  • One thing alot of people don't realize is that there is a reason PS2 consoles still sell. It's because it's around 1/5 the size of an original PS2. The new ones are amazingly small. Both Nindendo and Sony improved on thier technology. They don't just throw it away like MS. The DS market is only booming because of the DS Lite. And in another coulple of years there will be another version of the DS. Nintendo is still improving on thier original gameboy. In 5 years the PS3 will be as small as the curre
  • Yeah man, if they rereleased the original xbox in a smaller form factor i would definitely buy it. Who cares if they stopped supporting it last year? Shrinking things might be nice for portables, but I really don't think anyone buys consoles based on their size. I mean maybe they do after they consider the games, the price, the graphics, the controllers, the online capabilities, memory, graphics card, how much it heats up, whether or not it is noisy, what forms of media it can play, etc. To be quite hone
  • by KDR_11k (778916)
    You say Nintendo failed because they made a mistake despite brand recognition and that Sony will succeed because of brand recognition despite making a mistake (high price and low shipment volume making it hard to make a profit on the PS3).
  • One thing alot of people don't realize is that there is a reason PS2 consoles still sell. It's because it's around 1/5 the size of an original PS2. The new ones are amazingly small. Both Nindendo and Sony improved on thier technology.

    Err, while the Wii is relatively miniscule, the PS3 is actually much larger than the 360 [wordpress.com].

    BTW - The reason why the PS2 still sells well is because it's cheap, and there are a ton of great games on that platform. Of course, this holiday season is going to be the last time we see

    • Err, while the Wii is relatively miniscule, the PS3 is actually much larger than the 360. [wordpress.com]

      You might want to try checking some current [engadget.com] pictures, from people who actually have the systems, rather than pre-production mockups. Looks to me like the difference in width and height are less than an inch each. Unfortunately, we can't really tell from the pictures how deep each console is.

      • by jchenx (267053)
        Whoops! Fair enough. I didn't even know the pictures I linked were of mock-ups (I figured since it was September, that the PS3 was retail, I guess not).

        Now I'm curious, how large is the PS3 compared to the original Xbox? And more importantly, does size even matter? The claim as to why the original Xbox didn't do well in Japan was because it was too big. If the PS3 is close to the same size, yet still does well in Japan, then it blows that theory out of the water. (Personally, the reason why any console bomb
  • Consumers and Developers avoided it like the plague because of Sega's track record at that point, having earned little to no 3rd party support and subsequently dumping the Sega CD, 32X, and Saturn midlife people were expecting the same fate of the Dreamcast and it became a self fulfilling prophecy....

    The Dreamcast when it launched was the fastest and most successful selling console launch to Date- better than the Ps1, N64, NES, Genesis...you name it. Customers weren't "avoiding it like the plague" by any

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