Who Is This For? The Sony Problem and Solution

GotGame: The PS3 has finally managed to find its footing, but Sony has had great difficulty when it comes to launching new hardware. Sony’s last truly successful hardware launch was way back when the PS2 debuted. Since then, Sony has repeatedly made the same mistake. They’ve designed hardware without defining its market.

The story is too old to be commented.
GribbleGrunger1962d ago (Edited 1962d ago )

I don't agree with any of the points made in this article but I will comment on one. The problem people have when discussing the MOVE is that they immediately think it should have had the same support as the Wii. It wasn't and isn't intended for the same market. Play Infamous 2, Killzone, or Resistance and you would know that in an instance. But Sony did and do still cater for the casual to core gamer with many other titles such as Sorcery, LBP2, Unfinished Swan or Sports Champion 1/2. There are many more you could choose from too.

It is meant to supplement not replace and it offers opportunities for developers if they feel it fits in well with their games. This author, and I'm sure many more people, just don't understand Sony's strategy. Those people will quote huge sales numbers of a small amount of games with similar themes, as if in some way that discredits the diversity of the PS3 library.

This article and those dissenters are now too late. The PS3 and Sony's strategy has taken form and anyone with an eye for common sense can see how Sony help the industry more than most other companies. It's all well and good focusing on one or two different experiences but that doesn't 'educate' the gamer of the future and offer the industry a broader pallet to draw from going forward.

It's better to take less from more than it is to take more from less... unless people really do want a future of COD clones of course

Oh, and the PSPGo was an experiment to test whether people DID really want a system with only DLC as most journalist were suggesting ... the same journalists, I'd like to point out, that then complained that the PSPGo should have had UMDs (a dead format according to those same hypocritical journalists). Bandwagons are good for short term fun but they'll bite you in the ass in the not too distant future.

Are we really going to complain about a company trying something new if that something isn't a HUGE success? Next time you catch a plane somewhere, be glad that someone had that idea, even if many pilots died and companies went bust in the process of refining the concept. Moving forward is sometimes painful, but I give credit to any company that dares to risk that pain.

ExPresident1961d ago

Have a bubble on me. Well said. I rather appreciate Sony's strategy of giving me options. I don't need locked into one thing and they support that idea.

JustinWeinblatt1961d ago

You're saying the Move was targeted towards a different audience, but was that audience interested in motion control gaming? Did move support help sales for Resistance 3, Infamous 2, or Little Big Planet 2 sell more than their predecessors? Did Sports Champions and Sorcery sell well at all? What market can you legitimately say the move appealed to? What move games have been successful?

It's not that I don't understand the thinking and strategy behind any of these choices. It's that the decisions were wrong. You don't have to take my word for it. Look at the discontinuation of the PSPGo, the 100 dollar Playstation 3D Display, the Xperia Play, the sales of the Vita, and so on. It's not just my opinion that these products performed poorly, it's a fact.

Is there anything wrong with trying something new if it isn't a huge success? No, not inherently. Kudos to Sony for trying something new BUT when a company continually releases products that fail to perform there is a fundamental problem. Sony's last successful hardware launch was the PS2, or arguably the PSP. That's about a decade of failing to release products that appeal to much of anyone. Perhaps you admire Sony's little engine that could determination, but something is clearly amiss in Sony's R&D and marketing departments.

As for broadening the market, that's a noble ambition, but it's not something that Sony is particularly good at. Each company has strengths and weaknesses. Nintendo is good at capturing the casual market but performs poorly with the 18-34 year old demographic, particularly in the west. Sony performs well with that demographic and more tech oriented people, but doesn't do all that well with the casual market, particularly the older or female part of the casual market. Sony can't seem to crack that nut, and needs to focus on what they do very well.

Even if you disagree, I thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article.

LOGICWINS1961d ago (Edited 1961d ago )

Very intelligent comment and article. Sony devotes too many resources to failures such as the PS 3D display, Xperia Play etc. Don't even get me started on the whole "contact lenses" thing. They're clearly out of touch in terms of broadening their market. Casual gamers will NEVER understand why they need to spend $400($250 PS3+ 2 Move controllers+ Nav controller+ PS Eye camera) in order to play Sports Champions 2/LBP 2 when they can just buy the more popular Wii for $100.

Sony needs to cater solely to their beloved hardcore market and accept that casuals will always be out of reach for them.

SandwichHammock1961d ago

There's an old proverb. I don't remember it exactly but it goes something like "the smartest generals come forward after the battle is lost".

MikeMyers1961d ago

Gribble, nobody has to agree with the article and one wants to debate the issues at hand and you did which is always welcomed.

The PSP Go

To me it was a failure because IMO it offered less value to the consumer yet the cost to the consumer wasn't any less. In fact it was more. The gaming industry keeps working against the grain. How does one be convinced to support a digital era if those games are not less to the consumer? I should pay more for a retail copy because it grants me more access and flexibility. On top of that the publisher and provider make more money off of Digital content because it eliminates the used market and helps counter piracy. The PSP Go had a smaller screen and only supported digital games.

The Playstation Move

I own the Move and the navigation controller. I think the device itself is awesome and very accurate. It gives an alternative way of playing games. The reason for its lack of interest is because it was always treated as a peripheral and nothing more. Games like Tumble showed us all what was possible. We all saw videos on demonstrations but most of that never really materialized where it mattered most, in the software. Instead we got lower budgeted games that were made solely for the Move which takes the most advantage of the device or we got existing games with Move support. It was hardly an indication to make it a must have product. Which to me was a real shame because the Wii opened up the door for someone like Sony to make better but to be better it needs the support.

Xperia Play

Another experiment that also shows Sony's willingness to keep expanding. What Sony often doesn't get is by having less products mean you can support them more. Sony has expanded itself far too much and now it's costing them. The latest rumors is they are getting out of lithium batteries. They need to downsize and they are. This is a market dominated by Apple and Android. There's no room for half-assed efforts and limited support.


Again this is a case of Sony trying to amalgamate existing products to sell off of one another. The problem again is support. The PS3 hurt Sony early on but it won them the new format war with bluray. All at the expense of Playstation fans due to its large price tag. Thankfully it paid off for the gamers but it did cost Sony a lot financially and was also felt by the lack of Sony HDTV's being purchased.

The Vita

A great product at the wrong time. The mobile market and the tablet market has eaten up consumers interest for expensive gadgets. Nintendo seems to be immune do to a very supportive fanbase and by marketing itself better with a handheld gaming device. Sony wanted to trump that like they did with the PS3 by coming off of being the high-end gaming device. I still find it way too early to be writing it off.

Sony is a great company that is still stuck in loyalty and history. The Japanese market no longer dictates the industry. We now live in a world market and sadly Sony still makes most of their decisions from an Eastern perspective. The Yen is also a huge problem for both Sony and Nintendo. I have a lot of faith that the PS4 will be a great product. Both the Vita and PS3 are learning experiences.

doogiebear1961d ago (Edited 1961d ago )

I'm a huge sony fanboy, own a ps1,ps2,ps3, and a vita. Plus i have 2 ps move controllers and a ps eye (of course). So i can play every game they've got (psp games played on my vita).

HOWEVER, I still agree 100% with this article. Sony needs to focus more. 3d, the move, etc are gimmicks. I believe that maybe motion controls can be great one day, but the ps move is hindered by the technology of the aging ps eye (which has issues with florescent lighting in small rooms, and is not hd). Also the move is not marketted at all. Sony needs to market the move more, but independently of it's other offerings. For example, market Wonderbook to families (as a move game), yet market the few hardcore move games towards the hardcore.

I dont see why the move must be marketted towards only one demographic. It should be marketted per game. Nobody has kids without there also being adults in the house. So marketting to all audience (seperately) could raise chances of it being in the most amount of living rooms possible.

JustinWeinblatt1961d ago

The problem with marketing the move towards multiple demographics is a matter of resources. The Move was up against the Wii which had an established library of quality games, and the Kinect which was more interesting technology, although not as good for gaming. Sony was going to need several HUGE titles to convince people to invest in their motion control solution over the cheaper Wii and the more novel Kinect.

At the same time, hardcore gamers were skeptical of the motion controls, largely due to the Wii and Move. To their credit, Sony was able to implement the Move into several hardcore franchises and it worked well, but to truly sell the move to the hardcore, they were going to need big exclusive games.

So, the problem is that money, time, and developers are limited, and Sony just didn't have enough resources to make awesome games for the casual and hardcore move audiences while still making normal Dualshock 3 games. There simply weren't enough games to go around.

If Sony does try motion controls again in the next generation, they might be able to do things a little better, but frankly, it doesn't seem like they were well prepared this time around.

Thanks a lot for reading and commenting!

doogiebear1961d ago

@ Justin: good points man

Ben_Grimm1960d ago

I love how you continuelly defend Sony and it's failures by saying that:

1. It was an experiment

2. It was targeted for a different group

3. It wasn't marketed well enough

Wrong, The Move had a number of casual titles and they even had support for it's hardcore games also. Just like the Wii. Some companies even tried to port a lot of their Wii titles over to the Move to see if they could get success on this "hardcore" platform. And failed.

face it, Sony tried to capitolize of the Wii's motion success but it was too late. Why must you make every excuse in the book sort of like a PR working for Sony. (which i have taken directly from another poster here who likes to throw that around)

And the PSPGo was an experiement brought on by what journalists suggested? Come on Gribble you are truly reaching the bottom of the grab bag now. What multi BILLION dollar company listens to journalists? Companies have R and D, they follow the trend of technology, they see what is on the market to come and what will be the next big hhit of the future they don't listen to Lois Lane who types some article about "people want digital only".

Face it, the PSPGo was a cash grab attempt for Sony to completly control their own market. They wanted an Apple like device plain and simple.

GribbleGrunger1960d ago (Edited 1960d ago )

You really need to brush up on your comprehension.

And for balance sake (just for you): I hate Sony advertising. I thought it was a bad move not putting memory in the Vita. Sony should never have said 'the next generation starts when we say it does.'

You'll forget I said that though

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1960d ago
1961d ago Replies(2)
SonyStyled1961d ago

long article. only read the first half but i could tell it was well written

tiffac0081961d ago

The PSP Go was like a freaking experiment if digital only would be accepted into the market. Needless to say, we all know what happened to that.

The PS Move is a great device and is a fun optional control with PS Move compatible titles but it was treated as an add-on and not enough PS Move only games came out to support the product. Sony just wanted to get a piece of the casual pie without any long term plan and the longevity of the PS Move in the market reflected this.

Xperia Play - I think Sony tried to cater to the wishes of a lot of people who wants a phone that has a functionality of a dedicated gaming handheld device but Sony did not support it very well. Besides the normal Xperia models seems to be faring better.

3D TV - this is one of the reason Sony's TV division bleeds money. I can understand that they want to lead the market but with the price tag and the small screen those are not exactly selling points. Not to mention you have to buy the 3D glasses and they are not cheap too. Maybe the when prices are more affordable.

The Vita - I have posted a lot of my thoughts about this device here in N4G and I'm a proud owner of one but I still think its too early to judge. The ball is in Sony's court and whatever moves they make the game industry is waiting.