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Console War Just Sony's Side Quest 106

Next Generation is running two pieces today about Sony's upcoming console. In 'Console War a Side Quest for Sony?', they examine an analyst report suggesting that the company is more interested in winning the movie format war than in taking the lead on this generation of consoles. They also have a piece wherein some industry figures weigh in on the PS3. From that article: "The impact will be enormous. Digital distribution will allow for new ways to generate excitement for these games - from being able to purchase new game packs that extend the life of gameplay and purchasing cool new items that make your character and experience unique, to the emphasis the consoles will showcase linear programming much like an iPod or OnDemand service does. With something like Steam, the entire console channel is avoided, and suddenly the game developer is selling directly to a consumer. "
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Console War Just Sony's Side Quest

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  • console war (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mikesd81 ( 518581 )
    I think it's not so much a side quest as it is that they think they've won when the PS3 is released.

    Everything I've read about the PS3 makes it sound like a power house. Sony is claiming it's supposed to last double the time of the PS2 (5 years) so this console is meant to last 10 years. So that means that they won't release another console for 10 years. With that much confidence, they think they won the console war.
    • Still, you should fight the fights you can win. If you're not careful, you start loosing ground that you take for granted and even if they do win the media war, there's no guarantee that it will make up for lost PS3 revenue. Then of course they could loose both fights and be completely screwed.
    • Of course they are saying that it will last ten years, With the estimated price point being somewhere above cloud level it would be suicide to let slip that after paying all that money that it will be obsolete in 4-5 years or so. The computer game industry has been wrestling with this for years trying to make games that can scale to play both on ultra expensive high end rigs and also fit on the average casual game machine.
      • Of course they are saying that it will last ten years,

        If you define "lasting" as "some units are shipped to stores and the occassional token game gets released"...
    • Re:console war (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikeisme77 ( 938209 )
      They said the PS2 would last longer than the original PlayStation too... I remember reading it in some old copies of Next Generation (print magazine that doesn't exist any more). I'd have to dig up the old articles for an exact quote, but I definitely remember them saying that the current generation would last longer than the previous generation (I think they predicted 7-8 years, which it still will, but not as a primary console... it'll do the same thing as the original PS and be used by those who don't wa
    • Re:console war (Score:4, Insightful)

      by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@yahoo. c o m> on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:25PM (#15238434)
      Sony is claiming it's supposed to last double the time of the PS2 (5 years) so this console is meant to last 10 years.

      The PS2 has already been on the market for six years and will likely remain on the market for some time after the PS3 is released (just as the PS1 was on the market for some time after the PS2 was released). The PS1 also lasted almost exactly ten years from its original launch date to the date production stopped.

      I think that this whole "five year cycle" thing is a little confused to begin with. Most successful consoles last well beyond that artificial limit. The NES/Famicom was on the market from 1983-2003 - 20 years. The Intellivision was on the market for 11 years. The Atari 2600 was on the market for around 15 years. The PS1 lasted ten. I could go on and on.

      In addition, it's very rare that all console manufacturers launch systems in the same year. For example, the Sega Genesis was released in 1989, with the SNES launching in 1991. The Atari 2600 launched in 1977, the Intellivision in 1980, the Coleco Vision in 1982 and the NES in 1985. Some of these systems then went on to stay on the market for years afterwards. Where are the "generational" lines there? Even nowadays, the Dreamcast launched in 1999, the PS2 launched in 2000 and the Xbox in 2001 - even as the PS1 stuck around. The Xbox 360 launched in 2005 and the PS3 and Wii will launch in 2006. So it's really hard to divide the timeline up into these five-year chunks. It's a much more organic industry than a lot of people seem to realize - consoles stay on the market for as long as they're profitable, whether that's two years or 20.

      Where I think the five year cycle came from is hardcore gamers who may themselves only consider a system relevant as long as it's the latest and greatest thing. (It's also an unfortunate fact that a lot of systems popular with the hardcore crowd - like the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast - die early deaths.) But that's not the way the market or industry works as a whole. Hardcore gamers wouldn't have considered buying an Atari 2600 in 1990, but it was out there. Same with the PS1 in 2004.

      And same, probably, with the PS2 in 2007 and the PS3 in 2015. I don't think Sony's out of bounds in making that sort of prediction. If Atari can take a console that was underpowered to begin with and sell it from 1977-1991 - through the crash of 1983-1984, no less - why can't Sony do something similar with the PS3?
    • Just like the psone has only recently been taken out of production despite the ps2 coming out 5 years ago.
    • Everything I've read about the PS3 makes it sound like a power house. Sony is claiming it's supposed to last double the time of the PS2 (5 years) so this console is meant to last 10 years. So that means that they won't release another console for 10 years. With that much confidence, they think they won the console war.

      It's all marketing tripe, Sony excel at it. The PS2 had its "Emotion Engine" which was supposed to produce photo-realistic graphics, then the console came out and it was good, but not mind-
  • I cannot wait to get my hands on one of these things.

    Then again, maybe it's good that I retain a social life for a while longer...
    • Same here dude. I'm well aware of Sony's business practices, the giant marketing machine it is, and the recent rootkit fiasco, but lets face it - Microsoft and Nintendo are no saints either. That's how the corporate world is for the most part these days.

      The Nintendo Revolution / Wii looks interesting, but at the price it's apparently going to enter the market at, I can afford both a PS3 and Nintendo's offering. Despite the usual marketing hype and various predicitions from market analysts, I still think t

      • DS for the fun cartoony games that are nice to play but have you wondering how you can turn speech and FMV and other modern niceties on. Oh some of the games are fun BUT only on the go. In my house I keep missing all the stuff they added to games since the 386 days.

        The PSP on the other astounds graphically. Very nice indeed. GTA Vice City is amazing that that can be played in your hand. Pity the hardware is so cheap (pixel problems), the interface is kinda bad (the joystick just isn't a joystick) and a lot

        • Then again, the PSP has one mobile advantage over the DS. Safe anywhere. Just briefly switch off the power and resume where you left off when you power back on.

          Have you ever closed your DS, come back an hour later, and opened it up to the exact same spot?

          Compared with Nintendo Animal Crossing slow slow save it shows that Nintendo can still learn a thing or two.

          When the PSP writes a 256 KB file to the Memory Stick, is it any faster?

          • When the PSP writes a 256 KB file to the Memory Stick, is it any faster?
            Yes, 256K is nothing whatsoever. PSP writes to MS at between 1.5-4MB/s, depending on the speed of card used.
          • It is not the same. The PSP is OFF while the DS remains on. Consuming less power to be sure but still draining the battery. The really big difference? If power fails because of an empty battery the PSP can resume where it left off as if nothing has happened. The DS loses its progress.

            As for speed of writing and reading. No competition. Nintendo has chosen not to have onboard save. That no doubt saves them money meaning that Nintendo makes a profit on a cheaper console but now the save file has to be in the

            • The PSP is OFF while the DS remains on. Consuming less power to be sure but still draining the battery. The really big difference? If power fails because of an empty battery the PSP can resume where it left off as if nothing has happened. The DS loses its progress.

              How long are you away from AC power anyway? And have you timed how long it takes from entering DS sleep mode on a full charge to empty battery? "Nintendo DS" on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] claims that sleep mode lasts for "a few hundred hours" (that is, at leas

            • "It is not the same. The PSP is OFF while the DS remains on. Consuming less power to be sure but still draining the battery. The really big difference? If power fails because of an empty battery the PSP can resume where it left off as if nothing has happened. The DS loses its progress."

              Not true. The PSP, if left in sleep mode, will die out. It still periodically refreshes its RAM, even if the cores are turned off entirely. I own(ed) a PSP and left it sleeping. When it was totally dead (would not resume f
      • I still think the PS3 is shaping up to be pretty damn nice.

        What news sites are *you* reading? It's already been confirmed that the PS3 has a worse GPU than the X360, and maybe even a worse CPU architecture. All Sony has going for them is their hype machine and whatever few franchises they can prevent from going multiplatform.
  • FTFA:

    "We expect the dominant console at the end of the next cycle to be the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3), primarily due to our assessment that Sony will win the high definition DVD format war,"

    Considering neither HD-DVD or Blu-Ray have been released, that's a big assumption. Personally I suspect (and hope) that the VHS vs Betamax war will still be in many people's minds, and both new formats will end up flopping. If that does happen, then WMS's own analysis suggests the PS3 may crash as well.

    • pretty sure i heard HD-DVD equipment/discs were released last week.
    • Winning the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war is going to involve a lot of blood, a lot of monetary losses, and all that other stuff.

      And the winner, when left standing will occupy such a small portion of marketshare that the war won't be worth the fighting.
    • "Sony will win the high definition DVD format war," I think it's funny that it says they will win the high definition DVD war when they are competing against a product called HD-DVD with a product called Blu-ray. If I am a unintelligent consumer, looking for high definition DVD's, I'll buy something called HD-DVDs, not Blu Ray DVD's. I can't wait to hear the questions at the store "So this one is blue ray? Can I see the blue ray? Do HD-DVDs have blue rays? Does the player only play things that take bl
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:20AM (#15237718)
    Any one using the phrase or concept of 'first-mover advantage' in discussing the console market has discredited themselves from having anything relevant to say on the subject.

    The next gen console race is over. It has been over for months and months. Just like every other console market cycle. The battles are won and lost months to years before the actual hardware hits the shelves.

    The 360 has sold a miserable 1.7 million consoles in its first six months on the market. That is the worst selling console since perhaps the 3DO a decade or so ago. The 360 is getting outsold by a wide margin by the six year old PS2 - and that was before Sony cut the price on the PS2. The 360 is completely dead in Japan. And the 360 is selling at half the rate of the US. The 360 is a walking corpse.

    And Nintendo had a chance of selling N64 level numbers with the Revolution. In a week we will see if they pulled off the greatest marketing stunt in console history or simply committed marketplace suicide with a product named that brings to mind urine in English speaking countries.

    Inane articles like the one referred to in the summary are almost cut and paste copies of Dreamcast/Pre-PS2 hitting the shelves era predictions. Don't worry, we only have another week to go and we won't have to read any more articles like these. The PS3 and Rev will be unveiled and reality will take over from journalistic fantasy.

    The PS3 is in a vastly stronger, as incredible as that sounds, position than the PS2.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not too sure Sony has 'Won' the console war yet, there are certain events that can occur oustide of a companies control which can hurt/benefit them in the long run; right now the obvious one is the free fall of the american dollar.

      A simple fact is that compared to foreign currencies the American dollar has droped to nearly 2/3 of its value (as compared to 2000); if this continues any longer Sony may have to sell the PS3 at $600-$700 to prevent themselves from losing too much money. Personally, I believe
    • I agree with the assessment that the 360 is pretty much bleeding to death. The only way to revive it would be with a flood of original content that's incredible and is also exclusive to the 360. It also has to have international appeal. Microsoft lacks the resources (they have the financial resources, but not the talent/creative resources) to pull off such a feat. FPS's don't have international appeal... Japanese gamers I've talked to dislike them and a lot of the FPSs actually make them dizzy (I was told b
    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:42AM (#15237946) Homepage Journal
      What are you talking about? The Xbox 360 hasn't even been on the shelves 6 months, although it's close enough now that you can make pretty good guesses on what the 6 month figure will be. It's supposed to be around 5M units or so by the end of the fiscal year in June.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Shipping numbers mean absolutely nothing.

        Microsoft will of course hit their meaningless ship numbers for the 360 even if they have to ship them from one business unit to another up in Redmond.

        Sell through is all that matters. And the 360 actual sales numbers are utterly pathetic for its first five months.

        The 360 might just be able to hit 2 million sold by mid-June. That is an unprecedented disaster in console market history.

        • Sales numbers have been pretty close to shipping numbers for the entire life of the 360. People are _still_ reporting shortages, which is a travesty IMHO. Again, where in the world are you getting your numbers?
          • Alright, either everyone that is spouting out sales numbers provide sources for their information, or they shut the hell up about it and start contributing more than, "I'm right, you're wrong, so there!"

            The only thing that I can see as believable here, is that crappy supply has damaged any sales figure that anyone can claim as being legit.

            Anyway, about the actual FA ...

            The bottom line is, people won't buy the PS3 because "You'll be able to download packs for games, and all sorts of other distributable
            • Very true, but the PS2 was launched (at least in Japan) with crappy games but it broke sales records because it was, at the time, the least expensive DVD player available (in Japan at least). After 3-6 months the aliasing issues with games were fixed and some 3rd parties began to roll out some better games, but still the launch sucked. I'm not a Sony fan (I sold my PS2 because I hadn't bought a game for it in over a year as my money was going toward XBox and GameCube games); however, their power to be able
      • Incorrect (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Nazmun ( 590998 )
        The xbox hasn't been on shelves for six months in "certain" areas. Here in ohio in our sam's clubs we are selling very few xboxes. Theres tons rotting on shelves in japan as well.

        There are places where the xbox isn't even on shelves but it's more of a distribution and not a lack of supply issue.
        • Xbox 360 was released on Nov 22. That's about 5 months ago. So it hasn't been sitting on shelves for 6 months ANYWHERE. Add that to the fact that consoles have only been freely available (in the US) for about a month at most, and well, you can see what rubbish you're spouting.

          What's more, MS recently INCREASED their sales forecast for year end (June 30) from 4.5-5.5M to 5.0-5.5M. As of about now, they say they've shipped 1.8M in the US/Canada and 3.2M worldwide. 2M more in 2 months? Easy.
    • "The 360 has sold a miserable 1.7 million consoles in its first six months on the market."

      It has shipped 3.2 million [1up.com]. You're telling me almost half of that stock is unsold at retailers?
      • That is 3.2 million consoles shipped worldwide. There is a claim of 1.5-1.7 million or so of those being sold in America, but there has yet to be any confirmation. As of the end of the fourth quarter of 2005, the sales numbers for the 360 were 900,000 in America, 500,000 in Europe, and 100,000. Due to shortages in Europe and lack of interest in Japan, I personally don't think those numbers have not moved very much since the end of the fiscal quarter. MS Financial Report [microsoft.com]

        For argument's sake, we could aproxi

    • The next gen console race is over. It has been over for months and months. Just like every other console market cycle. The battles are won and lost months to years before the actual hardware hits the shelves.

      I'm sorry, can you back that up a little? Basically every other console cycle has been a beat-down, dragged-out bloodbath. The SNES vs Genesis wars. The PS1 vs Saturn wars. I won't even get into Atari days. These were won and lost based upon the strength of games developed after the systems had shi
  • Well duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doomstalk ( 629173 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:25AM (#15237780)
    It's been obvious the PS3 is Sony's trojan horse for Blu-Ray since they accounced that the it will use the format. Gaming may be profitable, but becoming the standard format for movies and possibly data is several orders of magnitude more profitable. Between hardware and HUGE cash cow on their hands.
    • Me speak english good (teaches me to post while working). I meant to say: Between hardware and software, they've got a potentially HUGE cash cow on their hands."
  • I'm not so sure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:28AM (#15237806)
    They seem to believe that PS3 will establish their beachhead in the new DVD format wars and/or digital distribution, but even if they sell as many PS3s as they hope, will that really help? How is PS2's market penetration compared to DVD players in general?
    • i wonder if they thought the same way about UMD and the PSP
      • It can't be compared with blu-ray which will have actual standalone players (umd's could only be played on the psp not standalone portable movie players) made by companies other ten sony.
      • No, the UMD was intended to be a format proprietary to the PSP for copy-protection purposes. There has been no push to integrate it into other Sony consumer electronics, computers, or to encourage other manufacturers to use it. A better comparison would be Memory Stick, the proprietary but "licensed" flash technology. A few other vendors use it, but it's basically lost the battle to Secure Digital/MultiMedia Card.

    • "How is PS2's market penetration compared to DVD players in general?"

      I don't have a clue what the market penetration numbers are for either format - digging up numbers will just turn up the number of units sold, but not number of households with units - but it's somewhat irrelevant. DVD had already been around for a few years when the PS2 launched, so DVD playback was just another feature to sell the system, but in the PS3's case the entire console is a loss-leader for the Blu-Ray format.
  • Micropayments :/ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 88NoSoup4U88 ( 721233 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:32AM (#15237851)
    What is with them raping the micropayments ?

    Let me be clear: I think micropayments definitely have a future (on consoles, as well as on the Net), but the way they are doing it now ; by making incomplete games at first, and then releasing items/gameplay-variations for money, is imho a complete rip off.

    It's funny how this comment,
    - The impact will be enormous. Digital distribution will allow for new ways to generate excitement for these games - from being able to purchase new game packs that extend the life of gameplay and purchasing cool new items that make your character and experience unique -
    is describing game-mods in its purest form: But no, they won't open up the Marketplaces for third party mods, as it would snoop away from their own (unimaginative at least) by-products: And people would actually notice that paying 2 dollars for some random model is complete bullshit.

    When the pre-Xbox360 hype was going on, it was mentioned a few times how MS would like to interact with the community (eg. hinting on being able to sell/offer (custom playercreated) content on Live), but the only interaction that I've seen until now is one-sided: MS offers, 'we' buy.

    They really should have a look at how Valve's model of great mod/tool support has lead to -alot- more sales of Half-Life, as well as HL2.

    • Let me be clear: I think micropayments definitely have a future (on consoles, as well as on the Net), but the way they are doing it now ; by making incomplete games at first, and then releasing items/gameplay-variations for money, is imho a complete rip off.

      I would mostly agree with you, but i would put some restriction to your statement.
      Not all add-ons to games are rip-offs that should have been in the game originally.
      Sure, you *WILL* find the $2 skinn or the new uber model with those cool sunglasses
    • by cgenman ( 325138 )
      Micropayments and alternative transaction numbers have the possibility of really changing the way games are played. Imagine a version of DDR where the characters are dancing in licensed clothes. But the trade off is that as you play you acquire points that allow you to download other songs for free. You buy the game once, and you are supplied with a steady stream of content for the life of the system.

      Or look at PC games that are given away for free, but which cost money for upgrades / etc. Imagine downl
  • This is wonderful news.. I hope Sony continues down this doomed path. We've seen what luck Sony has had in the past with this mindset. Maybe then we can finally get back to the core of gaming. The games
    • That games will be played on and the GAME DEVELOPERS concentrate on their forte, games. Sony's hardware division is pushing blu-ray onto the ps3 along with alot of other cool stuff to make the console more then a console. But what is so wrong with that?

      You're going to get a massively powerful piece of hardware (cell processor, 512 megs of ram, hd-addon, and a hdtv encoder, linux).

      It's modding potential with linux is amazing.
  • Is why they didn't at least try and put any kind of compatibility with UMD discs?

    They're fighting a two front war of media, and they should have used the bigger brother to try and force through at least the umd aspect, even if it would be inferior on larger screens and such, they could have at least given the option and given people a little more incentive to pick up the media, instead of locking it into a psp.

  • ...when we have to turn to finance firms to find out which console will R0xxo|R (Wedbush Morgan Securities in this case).
  • From what I've seen and read in the past, Sony has a desire even greater than Microsoft to become the world leader in all things electronic. That includes PCs, Video, Audio and related. This article doesn't change my mind one bit.

    I honestly wouldn't be suprised if someday in the near future, Sony makes a move to supplant Microsoft in the home-based software business. They can do this either by purchasing a OS vendor such as Apple or one of the Linux Distributions, or they could even licence some version o
    • One of their long-time dreams has been to build a new kind of personal computer and control the living room. I don't think this combination is simply a coincidence.
    • Welcome to the Real World. See, you don't make that much money with just one replaceable product (i.e., a commodity), no matter how good it is. Someone else soon makes a better or cheaper one. Even if it's a piss-poor replacement, if it's just one stand-alone product, probably enough people can live with it. E.g., even if you somehow cornered the bread market, you can't milk and gouge it for every penny, because more people would start eating their food with rice or potatoes instead.

      This is one thing that "
    • Microsoft and Sony are exactly the same on this point. Microsoft released the X-Box, XBox360, and Windows XP MCE in order to make the Windows PC the centre of the home entertainment system. It hasn't been terribly successful, but if they keep trying, they'll probably eventually succeed. Sony, on the other hand, sees their set-top appliances as the centre of the home entertainment system, and wants to bring PCs in under the umbrella they currently have. Sony's big barrier is that the goals of the consume
  • "The 360 has sold a miserable 1.7 million consoles in its first six months on the market. That is the worst selling console since perhaps the 3DO a decade or so ago."

    The 1.7 million is a reflection of supply, not demand. In the first 6 months there was never a 360 that sat on the shelves for more than a few hours.

    The console war is simple. All the multi-platform games will look exactly the same. Microsoft has the best individual single-platform game (Halo). But the big factor....

    A $300 360 wil
    • Bullshit. Here in New Zealand, I've seen plenty of shops with 360's sitting on the shelf gathering dust.
      • Here in New Zealand, I've seen plenty of shops with 360's sitting on the shelf gathering dust.

        Yeah, it's sitting right next to the boxes of soap, shampoo, and toothpaste that are also gathering dust.

        Okay, mod me down Aucklanders! It was worth it!

        -Eric

    • ...also bullshit is your claim about Halo being single platform game. For your information Einstein, there's a PC version of Halo and it is WAAAAY better than the XBOX version.
  • If Sony really wants to win the high definition DVD "war" why not save all that money developing the PS3 (something like $900 million I read on Slashdot) and simply sell a new BluRay DVD player at less than $300. If you're going to lose money on a game machine, why not lose less on a DVD player? Hell, why not do both?

    I don't understand the thinking behind selling a game machine that cost $900 million to develop for $400 that will play BluRay DVDs and then also selling a BluRay DVD player for $1000. Why woul

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