Sony will be releasing their next generation PlayStation 3 in just a few short months. I am here to tell you that it will not be as successful as either of their previous PlayStations (PS1 or PS2) and possibly not as successful as Nintendo’s Wii system. Why? Overconfidence is my guess. They are sacrificing franchise game development, or more specifically just game development in order to have the latest technological advances like Blue Ray, online abilities, and hard drives. These features have driven the cost to a staggering $600 for a system.
They (Sony) need to understand what it is that the average gamer wants. That is a great game. By focusing on these advances, it is like creating a system that only plays RPG (role playing game) games. While people like me (I love RPG’s) would be ecstatic, the remaining 70% of the gamers who don’t play RPG’s could care less, especially if they could go elsewhere to play better and cheaper games that they do like. This is why I feel that Sony’s stranglehold on the console wars is about to loosen if not break entirely.
The main reason that the PS1 and PS2 models sold over 200 million units is because they appealed to the average gamer. They were a system that played games. Period. I know that the PS2 also plays dvds but who doesn’t like dvds? The average gamer does. Now look at the PS3 and the controversy already surrounding it. First take the price tag – $600. That has failure written all over it. Don’t they remember the Geo or Sega Saturn? Don’t price yourself out of the market Sony. This price won’t bother the hardcore gamers who have nothing better to spend $600 on, but it certainly will prevent the average gamers from buying. The hardcore segment only represents a tiny fraction of gamers.
Next look at what you get for that $600, or more importantly, look at what you don’t get. You don’t get a game, probably not a second controller, probably not an S-Video cable (or RFU adapter) to hook the system up to your TV, you probably don’t even get a memory card for games not requiring the hard drive. Now look at the average costs for those items on the latest X-BOX 360. Second controller – $50, memory card – $30, TV adapter – $25, and game – $60 each. Now lets say you want this system for Christmas, and assuming that you can find one at retail, you will need to sink in roughly $1000 for it with all wires, 2 controls, and 2 games.
$1000!! Who the hell will pay that, other than the above-mentioned hardcore geeks with nothing better to spend the money on (like a girlfriend or car or their own apartment)? Nobody will spend $1000 on it, not the parents of kids who LOVE video games, not the working 16 year old who can’t afford it, not the older fans of video games, nobody, just the 20% hardcore fanboy base. They will not help Sony succeed since they do not play the games that Sony sells the most (which is where the true money is made in the industry – games like Madden, GTA, and other sports related games).
Next, take a look at what may be the ultimate nail in the coffin. This is only a rumor and has been officially “denied as being a rumor” by Sony, but rumor has it that all PS3 games will only be playable on the first PS3 system on which they are used. This means that if you and your buddy each have a PS3, and you plop down $70 for Madden 2007, and you play it on your PS3, you will not be able to play it on your buddy’s PS3. No more sharing games, no more used video games for sell at EB or Blockbuster or eBay, no more at all. They (Sony) want the games to be not bought by the consumer when you go to Wal-Mart and buy it, but they want it to be more of a renting from Sony, even though you do buy the game at full retail. Again, let me stress that as of now, Sony is denying this. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. And if it does, goodbye to you Sony. Just check all the video game chatrooms and discussions. You will lose fans faster than Michael Jackson.
Where will those fans go? Why to the Nintendo Wii of course. Nintendo’s upcoming system is rumored to cost about $200. They are focusing on game development, no Blue Ray technology and other junk that we don’t need or want. They make games that people want to play. They own the most popular and successful franchise in history – Mario Bros. They also have The Legend of Zelda. Plus, the Wii will allow you to play all of the previous Nintendo games form all other systems (NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, and hopefully also the handheld GameBoy systems). Nintendo knows what consumers want. They will survive this and take their place back on top of the video game mountain. Sony could have stayed but they just got greedy and overconfident. Don’t believe me, then ask your friends which system they will be buying this fall. Then look at the sales when they are released after Christmas. See for yourself who did better. I would truly be shocked if Sony wins this third round.