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 GamesIndustry.biz 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