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Top Ten Playstation 3 missteps - the redux

Filed under: PS3 | Sony
Posted by Jeremy on May 1, 2007 7:30 AM
Comments (6) |

Yesterday, I wrote a piece titled Top Ten Playstation 3 missteps and I was surprised by the sheer amount of response, not only in the comments section of the post, but on N4G.com, a gaming news website. Apparently, I struck a nerve.

What I'd like to do now is another list, thist time, a top 5 list addressing common misperceptions and inaccuracies which I gathered from reading the various comments.

5. I'm not a fanboy of any system. Why is it that people immediately think that I'm an Xbox or Nintendo fanboy because I said something negative about Sony corporate and their various marketing and PR missteps? I never said in my list that I think the PS3 is a piece of junk or that it is a bad gaming machine. I like the PS3, just as I like the 360 and Wii. They're like children, I love them all, just in different ways. People need to be able to separate fair criticism of a console and its corporate structure without the knee-jerk reaction of calling somebody a "fanboy" which offers nothing to an intelligent debate. (see "How to Tell if You're a Fanboy")

4. Online play wasn't ready at launch. The bulk of the comments I got on this one had to do with the fact that games like Resistance Fall of Man did have online play on day one. That's true.

However, my point is that there was no overarching master plan for online gaming when the console debuted. Sony kept saying that they have everything the Xbox 360 has, including online gaming, but it was disingenous to assert that they had something akin to Xbox Live.

Last month, as I mentioned, Sony announced "Home". It is not ready yet, but at least we know where they're going. I'm very intrigued by "Home" and think it will be a great success. That doesn't change the fact that, to date, there is no online community.

You still can't handle the truth! Read on...

Continue Article ↓

3. Blu-Ray was a mistake. This is definitely something that you can disagree with as it's my opinion. However, my opinion is based on the assertion that the early adopters of the PS3 are videophiles who care about Blu-Ray, not the average gamer. What struck me in the comments is that I was proven right time and time again.

The comment would usually go something like this: "What do you mean who cares about Blu-Ray? Like 80% of those who have purchased a PS3 so far!!!"

Exactly my point. The early adopters are the people who care about Blu-Ray and that audience is quickly saturated. Sony, by focusing on the bleeding edge technology, did appeal to a small but fanatical group of people; people who care more about getting a great deal on a Blu-Ray player than on the gaming capabilities of the machine. However, because of Blu-Ray, the console was delayed, ended up costing what it costs, and may ultimately become obsolete as combination Blu-Ray/HD-DVD players become increasingly available over the next few years.

The average gamer doesn't care about Blu-Ray. And, by average gamer, I'm not talking about the majority of people reading this. You are most likely in-the-know hard core gamers. I'm talking about my generation, the 30 somethings who have always played games but remember a time when graphics didn't matter and computer games came on eight 5.25" floppy discs.

Even as recently as RE4 for the GameCube we saw a game that came on two discs. So, the argument that developers need all of that storage space to make great games is bunk. They could just as easily release a game on three DVDs. Changing a disc is not a big deal unless you grew up in a time when you don't remember a TV without a remote control.

And, one more point on the Blu-Ray. Many of the comments regarding Blu-Ray came from people who obviously have some disposable income. They would brag about their 1080p TV and how they could never again watch a normal DVD. To those commenters: I'm glad you're doing well and I don't begrudge you, however, once again, the average gamer doesn't have that luxury.

The PS3, because of all of this, truly appeals to the young single man, the most hard-core of the gaming public. And, that's fine. But don't think that because you care about Blu-Ray, 1080p vs. 1080i, and contrast ratio, the average gamer does, too.

2. The launch lineup for the PS3 was and is weak. There was a lot of activity swirling around this one as many tried to defend the PS3 launch lineup. As I mentioned in my piece, launch lineups are "notoriously sparse and many bad games can be forgiven." Apparently, many people chose to not read that disclaimer, and simply went about spouting off how the PS3 launch lineup was the best for any console ever, or how the PS2 launch lineup was also lacking. On the former, well, it is pretty much the consensus that the PS3 had a very weak launch lineup. On the latter, sure, the PS2 did have a fairly weak launch, and I don't think that the PS3's weak lineup will hurt it in the long term, just as the PS2's didn't hurt it in the long run.

My point is that because Sony didn't have a blockbuster game or games at launch, despite a six month delay, they lost face. It was seen as yet another chink in the armor. In other words, there was no compelling reason, from a gaming standpoint, to buy a PS3 at launch.

1. The PS3 is too expensive. The majority of the comments that came my way on this one had to do with the fact that based on what's inside the PS3, $600 is actually a great bargain. I completely agree with that. My point is that Sony shouldn't have used such expensive things inside the PS3 because it was overkill and excluded the masses.

It's like somebody offering to sell you a $5,000 computer for $3,500. You think that's a great bargain, but then ask, "What can it do?" The answer, "check email and play solitaire."

I'm not looking at it from a value standpoint. I'm looking at it from a "how much will this cost me to get one in my living room and what can I do with it once I turn it on." When you look at it like that, $600 becomes prohibiitve (much less the cost of a game). This notion feeds into my thnking about Blu-Ray, singlehandedly, the thing that made the price of the PS3 what it is (you could argue it's the CELL processor, but it's nothing in comparison).

Sony should have waited a year or two to come out with a Blu-Ray version of the PS3. They should have released the current PS3 with a DVD player, which would have allowed them to potentially charge less than the 360. Then, as the price of Blu-Ray diodes drop and availability issues dissapate, BAM!, Sony releases a Blu-Ray PS3 in 2009.

In this way, they would have pleased the gamers first, and that's what I feel Sony failed to do.

Summary. I'm truly flattered that my opinion piece garned so much response. I enjoy intelligent conversations about people's perceptions of the gaming industry. But, please remember that missteps doesn't mean that Sony is dead in the water and don't assume that I think that the PS3 is a crappy system. I simply wanted to write a quick and easy-to-read piece summarizing what I feel are Sony's missteps and why that has led to a rather embarrassing launch. And, if you don't think it's embarrassing just ask Ken Kutaragi.

Comments (6)

Your comments are right on. I'm a 35 year old gamer and for the reasons you outlined is why the ps3 is the first counsel I have not bought or have been interested in- in the last fifteen or so years. Perhaps some cool exclusives are on the horizon for the ps3 but for now i'll stick with the 360.

As a side note, to emphasize- both my wife and I are professionals and YES- $600 is too much for a console system.

I can only really take issue with one aspect of your analysis, and that is on the BD capability. I can't really see a reson why you would be s down on this particular function, or consider it a misstep. The systems ability to accept this new media is a big part of what seperates the PS3 from the other two systems. To address your main concern of cost on the unit I can understand, however your theory on what Sony should have done does not seem to hold water based on that same argument. Make a PS3 at launch without BD, then wait a couple of years and introduce one that did when the cost came down??? That doesn't sound like a very smart move. To use your own argument about the cost here's what you end up with...
You get a launch PS3 that could maybe be 300-400 bucks, in direct competition with the 360. OK, so you get people swarming in scooping up PS3s. Then you wait two years, after the BD comes down in price and offer a version that not only plays BD movies but allows for greater content in the games, and lets say charge 300-400. Well now you make everyone go out and buy another console for the same amount of money you are complaining about now, only we get the extra features now rather than wait 2 years, which MS would have used to explode the HD-DVD market in their favor, and there would be no room for BD leaving that resource untapped for future gamers.
I'm not a hardocre gamer by any means, I can count the number of PS2 games I own on my fingers. But I can understand what Sony was thinking. If you just wanna play "games" with cheesy weeble wobble people then you really should go get a Wii, or if you just wanna shell out 400 for a 360, which really is just an XBox in a different box with more memory (then an extra 200 on the external HD-DVD player) that's cool to it has some great games, and great graphics. But if you want, and understand TRUE Next-Gen, you should get the PS3. 600 bucks is alot of money, but when the other two companies are brining out the "2.0" versions of their current consoles, you can take heart knowing that your 600 PS3 will still be sitting above the bar.

@ EchoMike

Now, you see, it's when people start saying stuff like "if you want a true next-gen experience, get a PS3."

Explain to me, what exactly does the PS3 have the 360 doesn't? Blu-Ray? Hi-Fi? I have seen nothing game-wise on the PS3 that convinces me that the 360 is "2.0"

I agree the article(s). Blu-Ray raised the cost of the console and delayed the PS3 (although, judging by the quality of the lauch games, it was probably for the best it didn't come out in the previous spring.) And the benefits, at the moment, do not outway the high price.

I am compelled to buy a PS3, and it isn't for Blu-Ray, the Cell, online, 1080p or the fact that £425 also includes Wi-Fi. It's because I see games on it that I want to play that aren't on the 360 (Heavenly Sword, Tekken 6). So, I'm going to wait for the price to come down, when these games are out, THEN I'll buy one. I watch movies less and less now, because I find games more entertaining. So why am I going to shell out an extra £125 for a movie player?

I like having a console with all these multi-media extras, but they should be "extras". It would be nice to browse the internet on my 360, but why should I pay extra to have that feature when I already have a laptop? That's how I feel about Blu-Ray in the PS3. I'm simply not interested in it, so I don't see why I should pay such a high price to have something I don't want. Therefore, I simply won't buy it.

So the arguement comes down to whether Blu-Ray will be used in games or not. And right now, I see no evidence of what the extra storage will do for games, other than extra long HD cutscenes, which means nothing to me. We were told Blu-ray would give us more detailed textures in games, yet, I haven't seen any PS3 game that's more detailed than a 360 game.

I have no doubt that DVD9 eventually be too small, but 3 1/2 years from now, Microsoft would probably bring out there next console, which will have Blu-Ray/HD-DVD: and by then, it will be just as cheap as making a current console with DVD9. It simply makes sense to me.

A agree with almost everything the article said, except for the early PS3 adopters. Most of them seem to be Playstation die-hards, who would support Blu-Ray even if it wasn't in the PS3, simply because it's made by Sony. Surely video-philes with the moeny would want to invest in a dedicated Blu-Ray player?

I believe, that sony is pushing the blu ray technology out early in order to gain a head start in the blu ray vs HD DVD war. In a sense this is forcing many consumers who have purchased a PS3 to automatically adopt this new format since they "already own a blu ray DVD player". This is a smart move by sony if you look at it from a business stand point. From a gaming standpoint this does not stay true to the gamers and i can only

I believe, that sony is pushing the blu ray technology out early in order to gain a head start in the blu ray vs HD DVD war. In a sense this is forcing many consumers who have purchased a PS3 to automatically adopt this new format since they "already own a blu ray DVD player". This is a smart move by sony if you look at it from a business stand point. From a gaming standpoint this does not stay true to the gamers as they are being exploited. Fanboyism is a lot like religion... blind faith.

Would every owner of a PS3 buy a blu ray DVD player at this moment in time, given hypothetically, that PS3's werent equipped with one? I'd be quite inclined to say no. If PS3's werent eqiupped with bluray would Sony find it a lot harder to market bluray technology ? Of course they would. Microsoft have given consumers the option of an addition HD-DVD drive. Fine, but no thanks. Though i will give you a pat on the back cause you havent forced an emerging technology down my throat in order to gain market dominance. I've got a strange feeling that Sony might not be focusing all their efforts on their new console, rather most of their attention is focused on their new DVD format. Before the PS3 came out there was a lot of hype, expectations were high. Then the console hit the markets and there was dead silence. Now its being hyped up again, but this time its sitting in your living room? Hmm... Lackluster is the word that springs to mind.

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