The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 16, 2007

Console Check-Up: Sony

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Brian Lutz @ 12:49 am

Note:  This is the last of three posts that take a look at some predictions I made for the current generation of video game consoles last October prior to the PS3 and Wii launches.  In this post, I will take a look at the predictions I made for Sony.  If you haven’t seen the two posts before this one, I would suggest reading the first one (or at least the introduction to that post) to give a bit of background on this.

Back when I made the predictions I am basing this on, I stated that whether they intended to do so or not, Sony has found themselves betting the proverbial farm on the Playstation 3.  I also stated that I believed that if the PS3 had been designed as a reasonable incremental upgrade over the previous generation which could be sold at a lower price point than the $599 it was launched at, there would have been a lot less people questioning their strategy with regards to the PS3.  I questioned the decision to include Blu-Ray with the system, as it was one of the major contributing factors to the high price tag, and wondered if Sony was ever going to stop making PR blunders on a regular basis and get their act together.

Nine months later, a lot of the questions about the PS3 still have not been answered, but it is clear that the system is not on the path to duplicate the success of the PS2.  In spite of initial shortages that resulted in people camping out for days to get a system at launch (a lot of those to resell for significant profits on eBay) the intitial demand quickly faded, and within weeks of launch PS3s were readily available on the shelf (while Jack Tretton offered $1,200 for any PS3 that was found on the shelf for more than five mniutes in an interview,) and people who camped in line for days for their launch day PS3s ended up returning them to the store after being unable to sell them on eBay.  This was just one in a lengthy series of PR and marketing blunders committed by Sony over the course of the last year, dating back to the trainwreck that was their 2006 E3 press briefing.  Notable incidents included multiple instances of using screenshots of Xbox 360 exclusive Project Gotham Racing 3 to promote Gran Turismo HD, the use of racist themes in advertising to promote the PSP in Europe, and one of the most inept attempts at astroturfing to date.  And that was just the Playstation division (it seems that the rest of the company wasn’t exactly having a good year on the PR front either.)  Although the PS3 does appear to be selling reasonably well in the PAL territories (Europe and Australia,) sales in the US and Japan remain sluggish, with the PS3 not only outsold by Nintendo products, but the PS2 as well, and the Xbox 360 in the US.

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