Saturday, August 05, 2006

Don´t write off Sony, says

Amid a number of rumours about cancelled games, bad reviews of Blu-Ray movies and a truly laughable pre-E3 press briefing, are we losing the big picture when assessing the chances of the PlayStation3 in the marketplace?

There is an interesting commentary piece on about the console´s fate. Obviously, the price tag of $600 is mentioned right at the start as a big deterrent to mass market compatibility. But:

A host of factors could conspire to outweigh that price point. If Sony has software with massive appeal to the mass market - something which Microsoft will still lack even coming into 2007, with the resolutely hardcore Gears of War being its key title for Christmas - or better again, if Blu-Ray really does prove to be as popular with consumers as movie bosses seem to believe, then the price point could prove inconsequential, at least for the first ten million units to pass through the channel.

This is quite an optimistic way of viewing Sony's chances, of course - but it's worth balancing out some of the pessimism which has been doing the rounds so often that it almost seems to be accepted as fact in some quarters. Much of this, it's clear, is influenced heavily by the American dominance of English-language media. Microsoft is so hugely successful in America relative to other territories that it can skew the global perspective; whereas the Xbox 360 has sold 3.3 million units in North America, it has sold only 1.3 million in Europe and just 400,000 elsewhere, making it fair to say that North America is still the only territory where the Xbox 360 has seen major success.

It´s always interesting to read articles that go against the grain (and the daily grain is to write off Sony, I amust admit) because they make you question your own beliefs and opinions.

In my mind, though, the author has overlooked one very important aspect in his editorial: Wii. The console is mentioned only once, alongside the PS3. I agree that the Xbox360 hasn´t exactly saturated the market. But how does such a general demand necessarily benefit Sony?

In order to stay market leader, Sony has to compete with Nintendo, if only for the attention of third party publishers. Ubi Soft developing seven Wii titles means they have significantly less resources for the PS3. The apparent division of labour at Electronic Arts (40% Xbox360, 40% Wii, 20% PS3) shows just that: shifting towards one console means shifting away from another. And if Wii can get a headstart over the PS3 and continues to outsell it for the coming months, developers will surely divert resources away from Sony.

Allow me to return to the initial question I asked. Are we losing the big picture? I honestly do not think so.

Thanks to: EuroGamer


Metaldave said...

This is only the truth. Sony is not making the right choices as of right now, Nintendo is. The proof will be in the Wii pudding, equaling more sales than PS3. If Nintendo can't succeed with all this momentum I don't know who can.

30+ games at launch? I can't remember a system that launched with that many, please correct me if I'm wrong though. This launch for the Wii looks like quality AND quantity. That is how Nintendo dominated the 80's and early 90's, they just overwhelmed everyone with all those great games on the NES and SNES. Could it happen again?

Grandmaster B said...

I will only see it to believe it if there is 30+ titles on launch. Theres always promises but usually dont eventuate.

Theres a very good chance due to ease of development though.

Either way if they arent out on day 1 of launch they wont be far away. I'll be buying JP spec so I hope they have aplenty.

Was there any word on region coding?

Metaldave said...

last weeks Nintendo minute on IGN revealed that the Wii will be region free just like the DS.

Anonymous said...

metaldave: No it didn't. They said that internet multiplayer would be region-free, like the DS multiplayer. There's a different version of Mario Kart DS in Japan than in the US, for instance, but players with either version can compete against each other online. This is a separate issue from region-locking to play games on the console.


ColdBlooder said...


this site is just hoping that sony gets no. 1 again so they can say "we told ya so!". maybe to improve their reputation.

Falafelkid said...

Hey Coldblooder.

I totally agree. There are a number of sites that are still fanatically pro-PS3 and at least this specific author is part of that. Another site is QuickJournal, who really seem to enjoy stamping out Wii rumours and PS3 criticism.

ian said...

So i guess its ok for Sony to sell 10 million PS3 consoles and lose $200 on each? Can they afford a $2billion loss just to get these 10million units out there? I fear for them seeing as the prospective launch line-up of software does not look impressive enough anyways. Can they sell enough software units and BD-rom movies along with hardware to soak up the losses? The next year will be interesting for them(Sony).

Arsenis said...

I think its impossibe for Wii to be Region free... all sets of TV are different plus you have NTCS and PAL formats... no way there is to be a region free Wii, or current console for that matter. They said the PS3 will be, but thats there to be seen.

As for the DS, ofcourse its a handheld, same screen, same machine. Thats it, thats why its done, region free it is...