Friday, April 20, 2007

The Circle of Suck Continues

Even as the strong advocate of all things Xbox that I obviously am, I can still manage to shed a crocodile tear or two for the PR Nightmare that is the PS3. Really kids, I don't hate Sony as much as I sometimes allude to. Okay, so maybe I'm a bit more vocal about it than I sometimes realize. The truth of the matter is that I have fond memories of a time when Sony strolled onto the scene, and was the one wearing the white hat, so to speak, as opposed to Nintendo. Some of you might not remember, but back during the pre N64 days, it was Nintendo that was getting a little too big for it's britches, and was being a real pain in the ass in terms of gaming.

Heck, it was a failed agreement on Nintendo's part that birthed the PS brand as we know it. Fast forward a few generations of hardware, and we now find that Nintendo is all cute and fuzzy on us again (thank goodness), and it's Sony who has a major case of the ass on their hands. Just like Nintendo's inability to let go of the cartridge format in favor of the superior (and cheaper) CD/DVD format that we all have come to enjoy, Sony has found itself in a not so similar, yet contrasting situation. They've decided that the world really needs a new disk format to further complicate the already crowded video/video game market. Now you may be rolling your eyes at all of this, and thinking that this groundbreaking piece of news is a few solar eclipses late to the party, but I'd like to point your attention to THIS nifty little article that gives a little street cred to my ramblings.

You see, the inclusion of the Blue Ray format meant that the PS3 had no choice but to price itself somewhere between a high end sports car, and a couple platefuls of a select caviar in order for Sony to hope to make a profit off the console in the next decade for so. I still don't find anything lacking in the current DVD format, but that's beside the point, it seems. As a result of this pricing, the PS3 has been on the receiving end of many jokes (raises hand gleefully), attacks, and has sent at least several thousand people to the doctor in a rare case of sticker shock syndrome. Yes, we're talking about an epidemic here.

What this translates into in the real world, is that while marginally successful, the PS3 has not sold anywhere near as many consoles as the competition. This may come as a big surprise to many fans, as the Playstation brand is synonymous with sell out crowds. To their credit, they've literally crushed the competition during the past few generations of hardware. These days, the big old Juggernaut of the electronics arena is more prone to be associated with "gnashing of teeth", and other not so pleasant Biblical references. Now I'm certain that part of this is due to the console still being new and not having a solid line up of games under its belt yet, but the condemning finger still points to the high price of the console, very much the bastard child of the inclusion of Blue Ray technology.

So now that I've managed to send yet another series of verbal jabs at the Playstation brand, I'd like to spend a slim amount of time pointing out the real message behind this piece of propaganda. Eidos has made it clear that they have no intentions of putting support behind the PS3 until sometime next year. Their reasoning is that it just wouldn't be a wise business decision for them to do so at this point. After all, the install base of the console is just too slim to justify the costs incurred on their end at this point in time. While this could certainly change, stances like this don't do anything to help matters. Eidos ends up with one less storefront to make money off of, and Sony gets to sweat it out even more as developer after developer starts looking at them with wary eyes. If this chain of events continues to unfold and follows its natural/logical progression, the PS3 could be in some serious trouble. We've already seen a couple staples of the PS era suddenly decide to go multi-platform, and I'm guessing that it's only going to get worse.

Sony needs to sit down, and do something it hasn't done since it first threw its hat in the console business. It needs to really, and I mean really start listening to consumers instead of dictating what they think we really want. You out of all console makers, should know from first hand experience what happens when you get a little too arrogant, and decide that it's basically your way or the highway. While you're sorting this mess out for the foreseeable future, I'll be enjoying the great support and games for my Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. Think about it.

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