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Sony Corporate Living in Fantasy World

Filed under: PS3 | Sony
Posted by Jeremy on June 22, 2006 10:32 AM
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It's often the case that those in denial create their own world where fact is fiction and truth has no meaning. Such is the case with co-chief operating officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Jack Tretton. In this interview with TheStreet.com, Mr. Tretton makes several assertions that those of us in the reality-based world find a little disturbing. First, Mr. Tretton thinks that Sony's E3 presentation went well. What the interviewer didn't tell us is that In Mr. Tretton's world, "well" means "terribly".

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How could anyone think that the E3 presentation went well? They announced a price that made people's jaws drop and they tried to steal Nintendo's thunder by showing a motion-sensitive controller. The gaming press almost unanimously declared that Sony's E3 showing was the worst.

Next, Mr. Tretton tries to get as many cheap shots as he can in on Microsoft; an obvious attempt to compensate for some real fears. In one instance, he cites the fact that the PS2 ($129) is outselling the X360 ($299, $399). This is like comparing apples to oranges as he purposely dodges the real question of how the $600 PS3 is going to fare in the average consumer's mind. In another instance, he claims that if Sony had lost as much money as has Microsoft on the Xbox, that Sony wouldn't be in the gaming business. Well, Mr. Tretton, in the next year, you may find out what it's like to lose billions on a console.

Another disturbing bit of reality-twisting comes when the interviewer asks how Sony will catch up to the estimated installed base of 6-10 million X360's at the time the PS3 launches. Mr. Tretton claims, "if a competitor gets to 6 to 10 million worldwide, I would not consider that to be a significant advantage or a significant disadvantage as far as we're concerned." If I could sit Mr. Tretton down, I would calmly explain (you don't want to agitate unstable corporate types) that this is indeed a significant advantage for MS and a huge disadvantage for Sony. The more people that spend their gaming dollars on the X360, the fewer gaming dollars there are for the PS3. Also, seeing as the average gamer doesn't care about the slight differences in performance between the two systems (Read a comparison), the signicantly cheaper X360 (with a rumored price drop timed for the PS3 launch), will most likely be flying off of shelves this Christmas as only the lucky few who A) can afford it and B) can find one, will be buying the PS3. And, don't even get me started on how the Nintendo Wii will be throwing a Donkey Kong wrench into the "console war", making it the second choice after the X360. I have come up with a quick formula to explain this: ($Wii + $X360 = $PS3).

Moving on to perhaps the most deranged comment, Mr. Tretton was asked if he thinks that the lack of exclusivity of 'Grand Theft Auto 4', what many consider to be the game that lifted the PS2 to its dominance, will hurt the PS3. After responding that he didn't think that the console battle would be any different "with or without 'Grand Theft Auto'," the interviewer justifiably asked the question again, to clarify: "So are you saying that not having an exclusive on Grand Theft Auto doesn't hurt you at all?" Mr. Tretton responds, "No, I don't think it hurts us. No, I really don't." He's crashing...40ccs of sanity juice, STAT!

Mr. Tretton doesn't seem to think that having an exclusive title, or titles, is important. Maybe he should look back to four reasons consumers bought the PS2: 1) 'Grand Theft Auto' games, 2) 'Final Fantasy' games, 3) 'Gran Turismo' games, and 4) 'God of War'. Granted, 'Gran Turismo' and 'God of War' are 1st party (Sony) developed games, so they still have that going for them, but the lack of exclusivity of both 'GTA' and 'Final Fantasy' games is going to severly hurt the PS3. Ask any PS2 fanboy back in 2003 why they'd buy a PS2 over an Xbox and those two franchises would instantly be uttered.

A quick summary concludes that Mr. Tretton isn't worried about a poor E3 presentation, a $600 price tag, a real challenge from both X360 and Wii, and the lack of exclusivity of the 'GTA' series. Mr. Tretton must live in a wonderful world, filled with unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows.

TheStreet.com Interview

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