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Gamestop Managers Worried Over PS3 Launch 93

The Opposable Thumbs column has commentary today from some managers who attended the annual EB/Gamestop preview event. The reaction from the attendees to the PS3/Blue-ray presence is not inspiring. From the article: "The difference between HD DVD and Blu-Ray was striking as well. 'Blu-ray had a tiny presence in the very back of the show floor, while Microsoft had large displays and surround sound systems in their hospitality suite so you can take a look at what their HD DVD drives would look like. It was impressive, and gave the feeling that HD DVD was real and Blu-ray wasn't ready for the show.' I asked him his feelings going into the PS3 launch with no word on allocations or preorders, and no news on what will happen towards the holidays. 'It's going to be ugly, there is no way this launch is going to go well.'"
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Gamestop Managers Worried Over PS3 Launch

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  • Inside Out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ectal ( 949842 ) * on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:59PM (#16325807) Homepage
    There seems to be a big difference between the industry's perception of the PS3 and the public perception. Most average Joes I run across seem to be anticipating the PS3. But they can't explain why beyond the branding. "Oh, I really like the PS2, so..." Industry people and industry watchers are talking more and more about Sony's lack of strategy, Blu Ray concerns, hardware problems, price, etc. More and more, the assumption that Sony will once again dominate is dissipating. So I think the most interesting thing about the PS3 launch will be watching what happens with word of mouth once the console is out. Should we expect, "Oh man, the new Playstation might be expensive, but it's so cool! You need it!" Should we expect, "Oh man, my brother got a PS3 and all the games suck." What's going to happen? Is the PS branding going to crash and burn? Will everyone just save up to buy it because PlayStation has become synonymous with game console to them? Will it just do okay? I'll be sure to read all about it during my short breaks from the Wii.
  • by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:00PM (#16325831) Journal
    I agree with all of that, and even wish Sony well (I hope to purchase a PS3 either this year or next).

    One concern on a lot of peoples minds is "But the XBox360 had no competition, while the PS3 will have to compete with the XBox360 which is much more established, and the Wii."

    I'm not sure if this is an issue, because you could also say "The XBox360 had the PS2 and GameCube to compete with". Yes, the XBox360 was the first "NextGen" console, but the PS2 is still going strong (THIS year) with lots of great games coming out for it, and the GameCube certainly seems to be aiming for a different market than either of their competitors.

    I think you're right that the PS3 will 'launch' over the next year or so and should be just fine, unfortunately people like to complain (and I guess by writing this I'm including myself :) ).

    The real question though is whether the PS3 can overtake the XBox360 in terms of units sold, and whether that will be a deciding factor in exclusive titles, ports, and other available content.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:15PM (#16326083)
    Sony has a huge mindshare... there are a whole generation of kids who use the word "Playstation" interchangably with "Game Console". There is a huge Sony fanboy presence on the internet. Sony is in decent shape.

    This sounds so familiar ... where have I heard this before ...

    "Nintendo has a huge mindshare... there is a whole generation of children who use the word 'Nintendo' interchangable with 'Game Console'. There is a huge Nintendo fanboy presence on the internet. Nintendo is in decent shape."

    The fact is that the videogame industry (like the Movie and Music industry) is amazingly fickle and previous performance is in no way connected to future performance. The only reason Nintendo has survived is that Nintendo has an excellent track record with producing high quality games, and is one of the largest publishers in the world; in an average year for Nintendo 20% of videogames sold are Nintendo published games (in 2006 35% of games sold in Japan, and 21.5% of games sold in North America are Nintendo games). Sony as a game publisher is large (about 8% worldwide) and produced a reasonable quality product but doesn't have the ability to carry a console alone.

    The question with the PS3 isn't whether it will perform poorly, but how poorly it will perform. Consider that, with hardware shortages and the high price, Sony will be reasonably lucky to have 6 Million consoles sold by June 2007 while Microsoft will probably be approaching 15 Million XBox 360s sold (and Nintendo will probably have 10 Million Wiis sold); if you're a game publisher you are not going to be risking $20 Million to $40 Million on an exclusive game for a system that has sold half as much as the competition and Sony will lose the control of third party publishers.
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:19PM (#16326157) Homepage Journal
    I take it you've never see a progressive-compatible game such as Metroid Prime 2 via component cables? Who cares about the screen resolution if the actual graphics look the same (shading, etc).

    The PSP is also superior to the DS (I've changed my mind since the first time I saw it because the game I saw had crappy 3D) yet the DS is out-selling the PSP by a huge margin. The Gamecube and Xbox had superior graphics over the PS2, yet the PS2 was (and still is) king of the market. Better technology doesn't equal better marketshare (nor better games).

    As for their characters, as long as the games are well made and fun, I'll be buying a Nintendo console if only for Zelda and Metroid, along with the great "out of nowhere" games like Pikmin.

    Have fun with your boring "first person shooter #50" hi-definition games.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:36PM (#16326437)
    Is even at that price, they are likely to sell out almost immediately. Ok great, except that means that many people will be left contemplating another option. The word of mouth that will be dangerous is word of mouth about the Wii, but particularly the 360 (since it's more expensive and a more direct competitor). If they miss out on the PS3, but they hear great things about the 360, maybe they decide to take the jump. Once they do, that's probably it. For most people, 1 expensive next gen console will be it. They might get a Wii as well because of the price but the 360 and PS3 market will be pretty small.

    That I think is the real concern here. It's not that the launch has to meet up to some certain standard of Sony quality, it's that it has to be good enough to convince people to hold on to their dollars and wait for more PS3s to come out rather than get a 360. I'll bet you MS drops a $100 price reduction and Halo 3 on the launch as well.
  • by ClamIAm ( 926466 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @04:49PM (#16327559)
    Dude, it is going to be a $600 purchase - that isn't baseless FUD

    I think what the GP meant is that it's impossible to be an educated consumer regarding the PS3. There is so much spin that it's really hard to make any sort of informed choice. Let's look at the major players.

    Sony's being arrogant, elitist cheerleaders. Of course, they're always this way, it's just that they usually don't say much after their systems launch. We were promised the stars before (PS2 will do Toy Story!!), so it's hard to know what claims are actually true. And it doesn't help that historically, Sony hardware at launch has been, uh, less than rock-solid. I really don't want to pay $600 for a Disc Read Error three years from now.

    We could talk about Nintendo and MS, but there's really no point. Then we have everyone else, and this means retailers and "the media".

    As for retailers, all I've heard beyond the "no preorders yet" line is blogs quoting anonymous Gamestop workers. Even assuming the facts relayed in this article are 100% true, the conclusions given are anything but logical. This guy somehow equates "regional manager won't tell me about PS3 yet" plus "Sony and Blueray didn't impress me at our show" to mean that the launch will be a disaster. The logic here is complete bullshit, ignoring any case where the conclusion fails. For example: maybe Sony doesn't really care about EBGamestopExpo that much? Or maybe the higher-ups in Gamestop don't want store managers getting incomplete or tentative information and passing it on to customers? I find it hard to believe that this guy doesn't remember the PS2 launch. Of course, there's a significant chance he/she is 17, so maybe I'm being optimistic on their brain capacity.

    Then there's the media. I really have nothing to say here, save that any "analyst" who thinks a PS3 costs $900 to manufacture should be hanged on Wall St. as a warning to not be stupid.
  • by wckdjugallo ( 832138 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:12PM (#16327967)
    Not moving foward? Unless I am mistaken the Wii-mote is better tech than previous controllers. It also has some new and unused tech that haven't really been applied to the video game market. True the games won't run in 1080 but honestly WHO CARES?! I don't care if I can see the sweat rolling off some linebackers head while I am playing a game, I'm more concerned about how fun it is to play that game and kick my friends ass in it. I am supposedly in the key demographic for Sony and Microsoft 25 year old male who is into the high end technology and has money to blow and I am not going to waste my money on the PS3.... hell I'm having a hard time justifying buying a 360 cuz I am sick of the same crap over and over. I bought a PSP and Liberty City Stories and Burnout..... 3 weeks later I traded it in for store credit and bought a new DS and some games cuz it was the same recycled crap over and over. New graphics != mean a better system (sure it helps but its not all there is).
  • by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:15PM (#16328007) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I doubt Nintendo regretted jumping ship but more regretted not paying attention to their stupid lawyers.

    The whole thing with Sony and later Phillips came long before the term "Intellectual Property" was coined. Nintendo's lawyers didn't seem to have the understanding that Mario, Link, Samus and crew were important and valuable assests that shouldn't be thrown around. The contracts they drew up (both times no less) would have granted Sony complete control over everything released on the new systems, relegating Nintendo from "partner" to "third party developer". It wasn't until Yamauchi himself read the contract with Sony three years after its conception that the mistake was discovered.

    I'm sure that Nintendo does not regret jumping ship on deals that would have ultimately lead them to play second (or even third) fiddle to other companies. What they do regret is not hiring better lawyers.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton