Forum Roundtable: Is Sony Losing It?

Sony is no longer appearing as such an untouchable leader in the video game industry. The 360, despite its short supply, has had a remarkable launch. And now, as Sony has pushed back the release of the PS3 from March to Q4 2006, Nintendo will also be within the new generation release timeline.

Do you feel that with all the red tape Sony has endured, with Blu Ray, hardware availability and size limitations of the console case, that Sony may for once be feeling the pressure from the competition, and in fact be at a disadvantage? Considering Microsoft have had such a good launch, and the Revolution is set to be the cheapest console, along with improved developer support over the GCN…

I think Sony are losing it, hardly surprising though when they have a megalomaniac like Ken Kutaragi at the helm. All they’ve ever done in the gaming market is take other peoples ideas, not implement them as well and market them better. This may have made them the market leader, but it’s also made them complacent, they are going ahead with Blu-ray and haven’t learned from any of their past mistakes like Betamax, Minidisk and UMD. The real deal maker or breaker will be the PS3’s price though, too low and they are just going to lose too much money, which they certainly can’t afford, and too high and they run the risk of reduced sales. They really have put themselves in a lose/lose situation and the only way they can get out of it is to downgrade the PS3’s specs, as it is there’s no way the machine will live up to the hype Sony have set out for it. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say the PS3 could well be Sony’s last console.

I believe that Sony has one ace up its sleave, and that is Blu-ray. Now what I’m thinking is probably not what you are, yeah the PS2 will play the latest movies but the biggest advantage using Blu-ray will have is the end of Europe waiting ages for games. As already stated by Sony head of software Phil Harrison, PS3 games will come in every SKU on the one disc, meaning the time taken to release games over here will be gone.

People tend to forget that Sony are by far miles ahead in the hardware sales in the last 10 years, no one got within half the sales of the PlayStation or PlayStation 2. People say that Sony being last to the market will cost them, it’s hard to agree with that on past history, they were hardly prompt with the PS2 yet that didn’t do half bad. I think people are writing off Sony to their peril. In my eyes they will be the only winner, whether I like that or not.

Good for us Europeans maybe, but I can see it pissing off the Japanese and US markets as now they’ll be the ones having to wait.

Not really, as the games will be released at the same time everywhere, localisation will be done during development.

I’ve been saying they’re off their rocker since E3 2005. I’ve been able to say it louder and louder with each announcement Sony makes concerning the PlayStation 3. Higher prices, a later release date. The things Sony will be reliant on will be the same thing Nintendo’s relied on for the past two consoles – popular franchises and a large fanbase.

Undoubtedly Sony is feeling the heat of Microsoft and to a lesser extent Nintendo. That’s not to say they’ll fail – I’d bet my hands they’ll survive this generation with strong console support, but unless they’ve got something huge planned (and unique) to wipe out the competition, Sony will be taking a hit to the family jewels. This will probably be one of the closer in sales generations.

Yes they definitely are, I know people who are very happy with the 360 and people very excited about the Rev, but no one seems to speak of the PS3 anymore.

With so little to gain and so much to lose, it really isn’t difficult to predict which way Sony is headed. There are many other important factors, like their reputation and the ‘next-gen’ assault from Microsoft and later on Nintendo, but even without all of that Sony would lose. A company needs a healthy growth, and I don’t see how Sony can grow any further at all.

I’m not overly sure if they have ‘lost it’, but they certainly don’t appear to be the ‘rock’ that they have been with the PS2. Sony is already heavily in debt, and they need to discount the PS3 to get it out there. No one in their right mind is going to pay a grand (400 pounds) for the console.

I know we know nothing about the console price so far, but with these new Blu Ray DVD players fetching more than US$1000, and are the size of a house, well, something has to give. And that’s all they do, play Blu Ray discs. The PS3 is the type of super computer that will send people to Mars. And good ol’ Ken thinks it can fit into a Kleenex box. Hah, we’ll see.

E3 will paint a clearer picture. Sony need a heavy duty scrubbing brush and hospital grade cleaner to accompany them.

Sony are losing because they are nearly the spitting image of Nintendo when they lost it. When Nintendo lost it they did the following

Allowed a megolomaniac at the helm- Yamauchi – Kutaragi
A high price point- N64- PS3
Higher graphical capability N64 – PS3
Refused to listen to the public’s wants and needs N64- PS3

What happened at this time was we saw a stable company offer a low priced console and low priced games with less graphical capability that played CDs and was affordable with all your favourite game companies on it, the PlayStation.

Now the roles have reversed, Sony are arrogant and believe they can tell people what they want. The cheek of Kutaragi when he said “We want people to work more hours so they can buy a PS3”. We can also see Nintendo taking the direction of games such as the Game Track Golf (which was hugely popular) and being very affordable with old games available for download. Microsoft are pioneering the online market with a fantastic service through Live which is again what people want, alongside the rumours of a TiVo style update in the works and a price drop soon this generation will be a close one but I believe Microsoft can actually pull it off and take first and Nintendo can regain a serious chunk of the market.

Sony will still win, due to their strong brand name, everybody who doesn’t know much about gaming always goes with the safe option.

Saying that the gap at which they win will be a lot smaller this generation, that much is obvious.

Sony will make a big splash regardless – the brand name is very strong.

Just as in the 80s every console was referred to as a Nintendo by the uneducated – the same is true now of the PlayStation.

At the heart of it however are the games. The success of any hardware is largely dependent upon the applications for it. The Gizmondo failed largely through lack of support as did the Betamax back in the day.

From what I have heard the PS3 is a real dog to program on – compared to the relative simplicity of the Xbox 360 and the closeness of the Wii to the current generation allowing for shorter and therefore cheaper development time.

I believe that this and only this may be the first nail in the coffin – although a next gen GTA as a PS3 exclusive will win them many supporters…