Why Sony and the Playstation 3 are fucked.

  1. The PS3 is too expensive. The two largest deciding factors contributing to console purchasing decisions by gamers are price and title selection. The PS3 is more expensive than anything else and it will have a very small selection of titles for the next 6 months. The 360 is cheaper and will have more than 50 titles in a wide variety of genres on the shelves by the PS3 launch day.
  2. The XBOX 360 has more well recognized franchises on the horizon than Sony. Most of the PS3 launch titles are unproven IP. Not that I don’t like new games, but sequels to existing IP tend to sell better and shift more units at launch.
  3. It’s hard to develop for. While the PS3 is good at raw graphics and signal processing tasks thanks to it’s SPU’s and GPU it sucks at traditional “gameplay” code. It has been reported to be much slower at processing branch heavy code. Gameplay code is where all the inovative and fun stuff happens in games. The SPU’s are also pretty much useless for doing anything other than vector and signal processing. The 360’s CPU on the other hand, while suffering, to a lesser extent, from some of the same problems as the Cell CPU, is much easier to use due to its simpler more conventional design.
  4. Manufactuing delays and problems. Low yields of the Cell. Production delays in blue lasers for the disc drive.
  5. No units in Europe and Oceania until March 2007. Europe, Sony’s second biggest potential market has been left out in the cold, again. This will mean a slower start in PAL territories and the chance for Microsoft it maximize its current sales lead.
  6. 100,000 PS3 units for Japan on launch. Sony have basically handed Christmas 2006 to Nintendo. The DS is taking Japan by storm. With more than 10 million DS units sold in Japan Nintendo has been given the opportunity to leverage this customer base with the Wii by focusing on similarly unique, accessible and gameplay focused titles.
  7. The PlayStation 2. Sony’s has to convince the consumers who own or will buy the US$130 PS2 and are happy with it to buy a US$500+ PS3. The PS2 continues to sell better in the US than the XBOX 360 purely because of price and title availability.
  8. No-one cares about Blu-Ray. DVD is good enough for most people at the moment. Those who do care about High Definition disc formats are currently picking HD-DVD because the title selection is better, the players cheaper and more available, and the visual quality is better. Search google for “HD-DVD” you get about twice as many hits as you do for “Blu-Ray”. People understand what HD-DVD means, just like they understand what HD-TV means. What the hell does “Blu-Ray” mean to the average consumer?

Now even saying all this I still think the PS3 will eventually sell bucket loads, mainly due to brand loyalty. But unlike the heavily Sony oriented situation in the current generation of consoles, the next-gen market is probably going to split into even thirds for each of the three consoles.

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2 thoughts on “Why Sony and the Playstation 3 are fucked.

  1. Very good analysis. The only point that I would argue is the last one. Blu-Ray is getting a lot of support from the movie industry with most new movies coming out in both formats.

    I agree however that that feature won’t sell the PS3 because it is much more cost effective to just buy a disc player that plays Blu-Ray.

    Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth.

    Be well,

    Bill

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