Sony’s Savior

Last week, N’Gai Croal and Geoff Keighley had a great conversation about the weekly sales chart, focusing on the amazing slide Sony seems to be lost in. I had been thinking about Sony’s problems for a while, and wrote to him. I have pasted my email below:

Sony’s Savior

“Now Sony is in deep shit over a lot of things; mainly, the PSP is constantly beaten to death by the DS every month in sales, and the PS3 is so exorbitantly priced that people really must get a second job to buy it, but rather save the $200 and buy a 360. The only good thing for them is the PS2 still manages to outsell the 360, which I believe is what they must embrace. Pitch the PS2 as the cheap alternative, and make some great bundles available for consumers to lust after; the Rocking Guitar Hero or Rock Band Bundle, or even the God of War Bundle, each would still be cheaper than buying a PS3 or 360. The PS2 must remain Sony’s bread and butter until they can weather out this storm. If they can have the PS2 be the number one selling console of the holiday season, they might make it out okay.

The next console in Sony’s decent down the sales chart has to be the PSP. If the PSP continues to lose to the DS, Sony will have to dramatically rethink their approach to the portable market. While this was supposed to be the GameBoy and iPod killer in one, it has become the mini-disc (remember that failed technology?) . And now with the PSP mid-product cycle, Sony has to get it selling hot again. And with the ads they have had for the PSP, they need to get a new firm; even the most recent is pretty sad. The recent price drop will definitely help the numbers climb, but they still need that killer app for it already. Loco Roco is the only game I have truly enjoyed that is exclusive to the PSP, and now its even coming to the PS3. Crush looks to be good, but other than that, its all sequels or ports from PS2 games. And where is the PSP music and video store? Another thing needed before the holiday, to help the PSP make a move on the DS. But there is no way it will catch up that amazing shiny piece of love. Wait for the next product cycle, and decide one thing to go after, the DS or iPhone. Sony, you cant do both!

Now comes the misunderstood ogre, the ugly child, beaten for being born early, the PS3. What is the biggest problem with the PS3? Its the fucking price! I really need a second job to afford it, and I wont even have any games to play on it, with that cost. But like all amazing technology, wait a year, and its half the price. If the PS3 was released later (I don’t know how long, a year, maybe even 2), and was $100 cheaper (preferably $200, but I would settle for $150), then it would be sold out everywhere, almost like the Wii is doing. But since they can’t undo that past mistake, the child has been born early, and is not ready for the ridicule. It needs some serious protection from Sony, but for some reason I don’t think a prettier Second Life is going to get them more gamers. Do you know anyone who plays Second Life regularly? Neither do I, because people usually just look at it for 5 minutes, and then never return but remain a citizen. They have to do something a lot better than what they have been showing.

I hope LittleBigPlanet is as good as it looks, but I will have to trust you [N’gai] on that. I will say that it might be the weird exclusives that might actually win the war for Sony. MGS4 will definitely sell a few million. So will God of War, SOCOM, and Gran Turismo. But only if enough people own a PS3, which wont happen at this price. I think it was a great point (not sure if yours or Geoff’s) making the PS3 the best Blu-Ray player, and I would love to see that happen, because from what I hear, the Blu-Ray playback function is quite finicky. (But I don’t actually know, because I cant afford one!) Selling the PS3 to high end video people could be a huge boost to them, and probably even sustain the PS3 sales through this holiday season. And then using the video capabilities to combat the 360’s amazing video download program, and the other pipelines into the house. In the end, I think Ken [Kutaragi] had a great idea for the PS3, I just think he was a little ahead of himself and the future.”

Well I hope you enjoyed my thoughts, because I always enjoy reading yours!