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Question of the Week: Can Sony Convince Developers and Consumers of the PS3's Dominance?
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Question of the Week: Can Sony Convince Developers and Consumers of the PS3's Dominance?

September 22, 2006 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 5 Next

They can promise all kinds of things to developers, but until it's a solid, well established platform with the bugs worked out of its SDKs, anything they promise is basically wishful thinking. And they can price cut if they want, but they'll probably only do it for the box, since they'd be selling them at a loss anyway. The games will still be higher priced than Xbox because that's where they make the money. Cutting there will really hurt their bottom line. Last, you'd think that a company the size of Sony could marshall more resources and pump out the boxes to meet expectations, or that they could take a hit on the box sales to get back some of the market they're losing, but they don't seem to be interested. It seems to be arrogance rather than confidence. Sony's founder had confidence, that maybe sounded a little like arrogance. Now it seems that Sony has more arrogance than confidence.


By and large, the game library is the big thing that will convince the public that PS3 is a viable purchase, irrespective of any sugarcoating or any good or bad publicity in the here and now. And that is a problem that ultimately depends on developers rolling out appealing products. It's often been the case in the past that Sony's support and tools for developers has been lacking (rather unspeakably so), and while there are a number of signs that this has been improving -- the PSP's devtools, for instance, showed major steps in the right direction -- there are still several light years left to go.

The fact of the matter is that PS3 can actually be a very enjoyable platform on which to develop, but "enjoyable" for a single experienced programmer messing with SPE job queues does not equate to production-grade software development, and what Sony can do to facilitate entire teams is what matters in the end. Shortcomings on the developer side ultimately killed platforms like the Sega Saturn and the 3DO and so on because it in turn meant a library of games which was sorely lacking. While lack of developer support didn't really hurt the Playstation brand once before, and PS3 will certainly be able to ride on the heels of being "the quintessential gaming brand," such a trend is not indefinitely sustainable; especially given that their competitors are leaving them in the dust on that front.

Even if Sony succeeds without it, it will be in spite of that deficiency, not because of any other strength. If they DO change something about it, even if it means delegating to other companies like IBM and/or nVidia, that will cascade out to improvements throughout the spectrum of PS3 game SKUs. The public has a narrow enough attention span that everything up until now will be long forgotten after PS3 comes out and people have a frame of reference for what to expect from their games. If that frame of reference can be viewed in a positive light, then so much the better.

Parashar Krishnamachari, Crystal Dynamics

I fear the PS3's market share will be so small with its pricing and delays that from a business sense this platform would not be a logical choice. In conjunciton with the difficulties of programming on the PS3, my project managers will be saying, "The XBox 360 and Wii have a larger unit base (and are a dream to program for), let's drop the PS3 verison." Therefore, Sony needs to lower it's console price and quit talking about $100 game prices to make us feel comfortable that there will be enough units out there to make it a viable console. (That being said, maybe in a few years it might be worth it.)

Karren Willard, Saffire Corp.

Sony needs to delay the console by a year. Of course, they can't likely do that without paying all manner of penalties, such as to the retailers that have laid in pre-orders and the like, but that is still what they need to do. It is crystal clear that the product is not ready, they are not ready, the production methods are not ready, the support is not ready, the launch titles certainly are not ready and even the movie format is touch-and-go. They're just not ready.

Tadhg Kelly

Regarding pricing...I don't know if they can save face (I'm sure they'll find a way), but I got really tired of Sony saying that the PS3 is good value for the price. Yeah, so is a new Lamborghini under $100,000, but it's still REALLY expensive.


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