Gamasutra's latest Question of the Week asked our esteemed audience of game industry professionals, educators and students to relay their thoughts on how Sony can turn around its arguably troubled PlayStation 3 launch and turn the six hundred dollar monster into a must-have product. Specifically, the question we asked was as follows:
Q: Given Sony's recent issues with PlayStation 3 supply/launch dates and overall negative publicity for the company, what does Sony need to do to convince developers and the public that the PS3 will be the dominant next-gen console? (Responses could include comments on developer support, pricing, network/online capabilities, PR, and any other pertinent factors.)
Responses were mixed, as expected. While many of our respondants felt that Sony's price point was a hinderance to success, many others felt that Sony has little to worry about, and that the dominating track records of both the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 will continue into the next generation. Others still argued that the PlayStation 3's software library needs to improve, and the vast majority of the replies we received seemed to perceive a strong air of arrogance on Sony's part, implying that the company is unwilling to listen to consumer demands.
On the following pages, we'll highlight a few of the more interesting responses received.
All that Sony needs to do is stop acting so arrogant. People can forgive any number of faults if the company generally acts responsible for their mistakes. When the PSP came out and people complained about the square buttons getting stuck and not being as responsive as the other buttons, Sony said "There may be people that complain about its usability, but that's something which users and game software developers will have to adapt to." We have to adapt to their broken button... Comedic at best. When everyone said the price of the PS3 was rather high, Sony told everyone that "people will buy it no matter what." What do they say about PCs? "The PlayStation 3 is a computer. We do not need the PC."
To top it all off Sony said no to a Blu-Ray, HD-DVD compromise. Now they are in the very uncomfortable situation of a VHS vs. BetaMax competition. Blu-Ray would appear to be the BetaMax in this because a blue laser is just flat out better than a red laser, but the cost on the blu-ray players is extreme starting at $1000.00. How can they ship the PS3 with Blu-Ray technology for $600.00? It would seem that they'll be taking the biggest loss per unit and still be the most expensive game system on the market. So with all these factors, what can Sony do to convince everyone that they're going to be the dominant console in the years to come? Stop being so damn negative. When you insult your customers, your competitors and everyone else to make your products seem better, it's a clear indication that there is something very wrong with your product. Their arrogance has got everyone riled up, and there's a lot of people who want them to fail as a result. Microsoft (the former Borg) have become the underdog that everyone is rooting for, and it's Sony's fault. How do you like them Apples, Sony?
Dave Fried, The Collective
Although I don't agree with it, I can certainly tell where Sony's arrogance comes from. Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy XIII and other exclusives that have been known to move hardware. People have shown that they were willing to buy PS1s and PS2s for previous games in the aformentioned franchises; Sony has no reason to believe this won't be true for the PS3.
Playstation 1 was the dominant console of its generation, as was the Playstation 2. Twelve months after the launch of PS3 few will care about the troubles Sony are facing right now.
Milner Nick, Aspen Technology
I really don't understand why Sony's rushing out the PS3 so quickly. The initial user base is going to be very small and it doesn't look like it's going to expand quickly. With such a low number of units given the hype, I forcast most PS3 related profits coming from scalpers rather than Sony itself. I recall that the Xbox360 was percieved as "rare" and a pain to obtain even after Microsoft got the units flowing steadily from factory to store. It seems like the PS3 wishes to experience this problem tenfold, the way they're handling things.