Tuesday, November 28, 2006

PS3 Launch Look-back

From Galley Reader P.G.:
Holy shit, get a load of this report: Sony projected 400K PS3s for launch and delivered 125-175K, including 15K for kiosks!

If this were an auto manufacturer, the CEO would be shitcanned within a week, heads would roll, and stock prices would plummet.

If this trend continues and Sony can only deliver 30-50% of their projected units by the end of the year, I expect to see some very serious changes at Sony. So far the media is mostly caught up in the hype of the horsepower of the PS3; they have yet to comprehend the business failure that the PS3 represents. So here’s my longshot prediction for 2007:

Prices remain too high on the PS3 and with the expected Xbox 360 price drop and success of the Wii, the PS3 will see sales dwindle by mid-2007. At this point Sony will halt production on the PS3. By late summer rumors will fly of a trimmed-down version of the PS3 (perhaps with a little less horsepower, perhaps they abandon the doomed Blu-Ray format) which will sell for $300-$400 dollars. This unit will be easy to manufacture and will be ready to be mass produced by late fall/Christmas. This unit will be a success because by then the game catalog will be far more impressive than the pathetic launch titles available.

What really bothers me is how Sony abandoned everything that made the PS2 good in making the PS3. They treat consoles the way Microsoft treats software: they don’t give the consumer what the consumer wants or needs, they gave them a bloated piece of crap. Just wait a few months until Vista comes out and everyone says “holy crap this thing sucks."

Of course, not everyone in the media is buying the PS3 hype. The NYT has this devastating review last week:
Even after Microsoft took the lead in the video-game wars a year ago with its innovative and powerful Xbox 360, Sony blithely insisted that the PS3 would leapfrog all competition to deliver an unsurpassed level of fun.

Put bluntly, Sony has failed to deliver on that promise. . . .

The PS3, which was introduced in North America on Friday with a hefty $599 price tag for the top version, certainly delivers gorgeous graphics. But they are not discernibly prettier than the Xbox 360’s. More important, the whole PlayStation 3 system is surprisingly clunky to use and simply does not provide many basic functions that users have come to expect, especially online. . . .

“What’s weird is that the PS3 was originally supposed to come out in the spring, and here it came out in the fall, and it still doesn’t feel finished,” Christopher Grant, managing editor of Joystiq, one of the world’s biggest video-game blogs, said on the telephone Saturday night. “It’s really not the all-star showing they should have had at launch. Sony is playing catch-up in a lot of ways now, not just in terms of sales but in terms of the basic functionality and usability of the system.” . . .

And so it is a bit of a shock to realize that on the video game front Microsoft and Sony are moving in exactly the opposite directions one might expect given their roots. Microsoft, the prototypical PC company, has made the Xbox 360 into a powerful but intuitive, welcoming, people-friendly system. Sony’s PlayStation 3, on the other hand, often feels like a brawny but somewhat recalcitrant specialized computer. (Sony is even telling users to wait for future software patches to fix some of the PS3’s deficiencies.)

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