August 4th, 2006, 15:34 Posted By: wraggster
SPOnG’s just noticed an interesting feature in today’s Technology Guardian, detailing the recent post-E3 PR turmoil surrounding Sony and its forthcoming next gen console/Super Computer, the PlayStation 3.
The piece is interesting for a number of reasons, mainly because it is perhaps the first national newspaper to offer a well-written, reasoned account of Sony’s recent (mis)fortunes.
The Guardian’s well-respected technology editor Jack Schofield poses and attempts to answer the straightforward question, on pretty much every games industry exec and developer’s mind right now: “Is Sony fighting a losing battle?”
Schofield strangely paints Sony’s showing at E3 as a successful high point, from which it’s been “...downhill from there...” This is perhaps the only point in the article SPOnG disagrees with, with it being pretty much universally agreed that, in PR-terms, Sony ‘lost’ E3, with Nintendo coming out of the show as clear winners with Wii, and Microsoft running a close second with a far more robust games line-up for its 360 over the coming Christmas holiday season.
The Guardian rounds up the various issues that have caused Sony setbacks in recent times, highlighting a number of salient points - the backlash against the Killzone demo (widely believed to be a fake); development issues with the Cell processor; the perceived value of Blu-ray to the mass market and, most clearly of all, the initial whopping great cost of the console.
Schofield offers a perceptive overview of the situation which, in his opinion is this: “Rather than dampening down the overheated online arguments about all these issues, Sony's staff have tended to feed the flames, appearing remote or even arrogant. For example, Kaz Hirai, president and chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment America, recently told PlayStation Magazine: "Every time we go down a path, we look behind and [Microsoft is] right there - we just can't shake these guys. I wish that they would come up with some strategies of their own, but they seem to be going down the path of everything we do."
He continues: “It's a remark that Hirai might have got away with in an earlier age, but it was instantly dismembered online. Microsoft was first to put a hard drive in a console, and pioneered with its Xbox Live community building (or both Microsoft and Sony are following the Sega Dreamcast). Microsoft was first to do a global console launch, which Sony is emulating. Microsoft offered two versions of its Xbox 360 console - which Sony said was a bad idea - but there will be two versions of the PS3, and so on.”
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