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They're just a business. They don't love you.

Now that we're in the thick of the 8th generation of gaming, the console wars are in full swing. This is going to come off as a bit of a rant because the topic at hand is something that really annoys me.

Over the past several weeks, we've been dealing with the Xbox One nightmare, a nightmare from which we've only groggily woken up from (after MS reversed their DRM policies). In the midst of all the arguments and articles trying to defend Microsoft, someone - SOMEone - would inevitably say something along these lines:

"You know, Sony is just a business too. They don't care about you. They're all about profit, too"

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that any person who says this has no clue whatsoever on how to run a business or how to sell a product. Let me repeat that: if you believe Sony (or any company) is just as bad as Microsoft just because you think they're "all about the profit", then you have no idea of how a real business works or how real sales work.

I'm under no illusion that Sony loves me personally. They don't. The only way they know I exist is through my PSN profile.

So, yeah, in the most literal of senses, Sony doesn't love me, personally.

And I'm aware that Sony is a business that wants to make money. Duh. They make consumer products. If they weren't a business, then they wouldn't be making Playstation products (or any products, for that matter). And naturally, they want to make money from those products. It's a basic principle of business and capitalism.

If you - the reader - work in any sort of service or retail market and you show up to work, flipping burgers or answering the phone or writing lines of code or doing whatever it is you do, are you aware that the very REASON you get a paycheck every two weeks is because your effort is being sold to someone who is willing to pay for it? That's business, and because a business is able to make money, you're able to get a paycheck. If you run a business or if you're responsible for managing a business, this is even more apparent: failing to balance inventory, employee training, customer complaints, public appearance, and customer rapport will mean that you make less (or no) profit for all of your hard work. You need to make profit in order to run a company, and "making a profit" does not in any way equate to "screwing over your customer". That simply isn't how business works. Sure, you CAN screw over your customer in certain ways to make more profit, but the simple mechanic of making profit in business does not automatically mean that your sole aim is to screw your customer for as long as you can. That's not how good businesses operate.

Of course Sony is a business, but do you think developers at Naughty Dog shouldn't get paid for the product they made? Snarking "Sony is a business too" makes about as much sense as blaming Shell for the BP Gulf oil spill because "Shell is a petroleum company, too". It's idiotic.

However, let's go a bit deeper. Why does it irk me when people say "Sony doesn't love you. They're a business too. They don't care"? It irks me because it is patently FALSE. Businesses in the consumer industry MUST love their customers. They MUST care, or they will go out of business. The few exceptions to this rule are - ironically - companies like Microsoft that opt instead to erase competition and strong-arm retailers into removing competing products instead of improving their own product.

Sony is a business, yes. However, the improvements they've made to the Playstation division would not exist unless they cared about their customers in one way or another. They would never have opted for a simplified architecture. Instead, Sony would've put Cell 2.0 in the PS4. They would never have tried to make PS+ a viable alternative to XBL Gold, nor would they have created the Trophy system.

When Sony makes a change or adds something or improves something, is it for the business? Is it for profit? Yes, of course. Does Sony do it because they personally love me? No! Of course not. Yet, they do it because they want to retain me as a customer. That's the big difference here. It's not about a corporation loving me or sending me a hand-written letter every time I buy one of their products. It's about a corporation acting like a good business by appreciating my money, by appreciating my loyalty, and by not taking that for granted (like Sony did back in 2006).

Over the past six years, I've managed two businesses in two different industries. Business isn't easy. Neither are sales. Both are intrinsically tied together. Sony is behaving like a good business because they are aiming to please their customers. Naturally, companies are going to miss the mark. Some companies miss more often than others, and the ones that miss too often end up shutting down. You have to take care of customers. They're the ones who spread word about your business. They're the ones who return because they liked your service or product.

Microsoft missed the mark with the Xbox One. Big time. They didn't listen to their customers. Instead, they went forward with the product THEY wanted to make and then turned around and claimed "we know better. Let us educate you. You won't understand it until you buy it".

That's bad business.

And to stammer, "well, y-yeah Microsoft m-m-messed up but SONY IS A BUSINESS TOO!" is beyond hilarious. It's sad. People who say that are oblivious to how the real world operates.

I've seen a slight variant on the argument of "they're a business too". I've seen others say "If Sony had the chance to screw you, they'd do it too". How silly. Why do you hold Sony accountable for Microsoft's mistakes? A lot of gamers suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. They'd rather associate with their abusers and insult "the other guy" than to simply change allegiances. I don't hold Sony accountable for things the other guy does. I hold Sony accountable for things like the PSN hack, their obsession with The Cell, the high price tag of the PS3, the failure rate of the Phat PS2 models, and stuff like that. I don't keep Sony at arm's length for things they didn't do. I don't keep a suspicious eye on Sony because they MIGHT do DRM or they MIGHT do always-online. I'll hold them accountable if/when they do it. Microsoft has earned my suspicion. They were the ones to suggest the Xbox One's DRM in the first place (and it really is nothing new. They already did this on PC with GFWL and again on certain Xbox Live games on 360). When Sony screws me, I'll react. When Microsoft screws me, I'll react, but I'm not going to be irrationally-suspicious of Sony (or anyone else) just because Microsoft decided to go all 1984 on us.

Anyone who wants to run a successful business: pay attention to Sony. They're not perfect (who is?) but they are taking all of the correct steps in running a customer-friendly and customer-satisfying business. Pay attention to Microsoft, too. They're an example of when a business stops paying attention to its customers and decides instead to leverage its own customers for a few extra bucks.

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Aery1729d ago (Edited 1729d ago )

Both Sony and MS are big corporations and they have many employees, so they both need to care about their business.

I want to invite all of you to spent a second on thinking about MS and how they usually manage their business. Their "history" is pretty full of bad behaviour and with the Xbox One they exposed themselves in full force.

For example, there is a BIG difference between paying X million of $$$ for an exclusive and spending X million of $$$ to open a game development studio/ team and develop a game from the ground up.

MS built a console based on marketing.
Sony built a console with a bunch of passionate gamers (Cerny on top).
The XBox One wants to be the center of your living room, somehow "controlling" how you spend your freetime, PS4 is "just" another console, to game.

Take care folks, and take the right decision before starting to support a company.

loulou1729d ago (Edited 1729d ago )

do some research before writing your mills and boon love story ffs

"I've seen a slight variant on the argument of "they're a business too". I've seen others say "If Sony had the chance to screw you, they'd do it too". How silly."

read some of the links, then see what sony said to people who they knowingly screwed. "it corresponds with the specs" the technician from sony told me to buy a "more expensive tv if i wanted better 3d". ok i admit that 1500 is not a great deal for a tv. but 1500 from another manufacturer gave me 10x better results. strange that

"They're not perfect (who is?) but they are taking all of the correct steps in running a customer-friendly and customer-satisfying business" lol you fanboys are on another planet.

READ THE LINKS, then remove this rubbish

Septic1730d ago

One major point you fail to mention is the fact that Sony is facing an extremely dismal financial situation; it just simply has no choice but to cater for its customers and keep everyone happy, be it indie developers or us. The start contrast in the way it conducted itself earlier this generation compared to how carefully it's treading now is evidence of that fact.

We'RE actuay seeing a bit of a role reversal because Microsoft's position in this industry has been enhanced considerably in comparison to what it was at the start of the current generation. Now, Microsoft can afford to flex it's muscles more and you should be under no illusion about the true intentions of all these corporations. Yes, inevitably you will get some companies who will listen to their customers more than others, but in the case of these two giants, they are both just different sides of the same coin.

Godmars2901730d ago (Edited 1730d ago )

And you're missing that much of Sony finical issues stem from TVs. That in regards to the PS3 they overplayed their hand, the massive success they had over two systems and well over ten years, and tried to manipulate devs with the Cell while also trying to sell gamers and non-gamers alike with BR.

If fact with the first point, Cell and devs, they reacted exactly like gamers with MS's DRM. The Cell was hard to program for because Sony wanted them to put in the extra effort, make it harder to transfer titles over to the Xbox and Wii, but devs got pissed. Came to hate the PS3 to an extent, a shared sentiment with gamers because of the system's price. The only thing that saved them was Sony's history of consumer relations. That they eventually realized their mistakes and acted on them.

But with MS you can't say the same. All the mistakes they've made surrounding the XB1 never should have left a planning meeting. Much less reach the level of public awareness which they have. What they had planned was nothing short of direct dictation and would have rewarded prior loyal customers with exclusion.

Septic1730d ago

Regardless of where the financial issues stem from, is still affects Sony's gaming department, one which they are now desperately relying on to help steer back the business to success. In fact, I think there's a BBC interview with Kaz Hirai that is quite insightful and one where he confirms the above.

How did Sony's customer relations help? (genuine question) As far as I recall, we had an expensive console and the Cell that caused a lot of developers much headache by forcing them to program in the way you mentioned, Ken Kutaragi waxing lyrical about how the PS3 was not a gaming machine but an entertainment console with supercomputer calculations or something to that effect and how we should get two jobs to purchase the machine.

Yes Microsoft did try and lead the charge by dictating its vision for s digital future. Apart from the mandatory requirement to connect once every 24 hours (I'm still boggled by this decision even if it woudnt really affect me), I can see what they were trying to do with the whole movement towards digital gaming. But yeah, they made a critical mistake and severely misjudged the market and it's constituents.

If we're arguing who is the lesser of the two evils, I don't know to be honest. My perception of it has led me to believe that ultimately, they are both after my hard earned money.

One thing I will say though is that I despised the way Sony conducted itself at the start of this generation with its smugness as it was riding high when enjoying a massive majority from the generations prior to this one, it's refusal to really accept and improve the online game space, something that it promised way back with the PS2; the way it misled us at E3 with fake CGI trailers that they didn't even bother clarifying wasn't the real thing until the LAST possible moment and its spokesman left a lot to be desired in thr customer relations department. J Allard, who I have no idea where he's disappeared to, was the main spokesman at the time of the 360 unveiling and not only was he a really nice guy but he was extremely passionate about the industry. When asked about things like cross platform gaming, he was very frank and said, well why not. If the others want to do it, we will too. Turns out later on that running enough, Microsoft were the ones curtailing this endeavour. But at the time, we had Kutaragi to contend with and Phil Harrison, who just seemed to steamroll his points across, like he's doing now but for Microsoft.

Ultimately though, whilst N4G makes it difficult at times, I remember that this hobby of ours primarily revolves around games. So whilst customer relations play a big part of our decisions to part with our cash, it's the games that, for me, are the utmost concern to me.

Pillsbury11730d ago

HAha troll harder. Are you just upset that Microsoft has turned it's back to core gamers? TV, sports and kinect is what Microsoft cares about.

Septic1730d ago


Sorry, how am I trolling?

Godmars2901730d ago

Just like MS has must-have's in Halo and Gears, there were games people would buy a Sony system for regardless of price. And as much as people made an issue of it, with some not forgiving Sony to this day, the PS3's price point wasn't that big an issue.

Hell, as far as I could tell, things like XBL Gold, the Arcade SKU and the expensive proprietary HDD very much put MS in the "evil" camp. Whereas the worst Sony was try to offer a $600 BR player which played games and a crappy web browser when regular units sold at twice the price.

HammadTheBeast1730d ago

The difference between Sony and Microsoft is that Sony listens to consumers while Microsoft persuades them.

PS+ will be required for multiplayer. Yes, it's not great, but from what I've seen of it, it benefits the consumer immensely and is worth the price.

It doesn't make it OK, but getting Uncharted 3, XCOM, and many others for $50 is great, especially when you compare it to other services debuting with offerings of games from 2007.

Septic1730d ago

What I find ironic is that in the midst of the furore caused over used game blocking etc, The Last of Us was released with an online pass, which is pretty much a used game block in itself.

Sony have however continued to make all the right moves in my opinion. PS Plus' value cannot be denied but I feel that its a service introduced to make up for the PS3's stark technical shortcomings in the online gaming space. Nonetheless, it offers a far superior service as far as value is concerned.

HammadTheBeast1730d ago

Technically. But with online multi player, you're renting the servers/play area I guess. Kind of a grey area.

s45gr321730d ago

Personally I still believe that Sony may (not certain) keep a barebones online gaming service free (chat/text and game invites along with free online gaming). Other than that I am not complaining.

Software_Lover1730d ago

There is no point in debating with you, just as there is no point in debating with an Xbox guy. You see what you want to see. Counter arguments are useless, because you will say it's because of "this or that". The same thing the xbox guys say and have said over the course of this gen. We all are blind to what we want to be blind about and we dont even realize it.

You like Sony, thats great. Some guys like Microsoft that is wonderful. Most of us like games period. But on N4G, people are beat down every freakin day over what they want to play, what they like to play, and what they play it on. There is no civility to anything. A guy says he is getting XBone day one because he wants to play forza, etc. He is bashed verbally, disagreed with, and mocked. To the point that is sad we are supposed to represent the "gaming community". Most of the people on here represent nothing but garbage. A guy says he's buying a ps4 at launch (I am) for Killzone, etc. its the same thing. Just sad.

This isn't business 101. We dont need lectures on how businesses run. We go to school for that. Some of us run businesses ourselves. We come here to meet and talk with fellow gamers and share our experiences. Lately the only thing we share is hate.

The fact of the matter is Sony made ALOT OF MISTAKES EARLY THIS GEN. They learned from them, and changed the direction of their company. They hired/fired the right people and are on the move. Microsoft has made ALOT OF MISTAKES relating to the release of XBone one. They are trying to change.

THEY DID THE EXACT THING PEOPLE WANTED THEM TO DO, AND THEY STILL GET RIDICULED. I can see if they just stayed the course. We can go on and on about WHY they did it, but they did it none the less. Get over it. They want to compete and are doing the things necessary to compete. No more, no less.

Game on people.

Pillsbury11730d ago

You forgot to mention one thing: Microsoft changed because they where FORCED to by consumers. They saw all the huge backlash and low pre order numbers and they turned right around DAYS after e3. They saw they couldn't get away with it so they flip flopped.

Software_Lover1730d ago

You obviously didn't read. I will not hold it against you though. Too bad we have the bubble system as I would love to debate with you, especially with what you said, I didn't say.

Game on.

Godmars2901730d ago

If you still see Sony and MS as the exact same thing, then you very much need a business 101 class.

At the very least you should be able to recognize that where Sony announced then made their mistakes, MS has only gotten to stage one of that two stage process.

BillytheBarbarian1730d ago ShowReplies(1)
rainslacker1730d ago (Edited 1730d ago )

If you take Sony and MS out of the context of this blog, and focus on the actual business part he's talking about, he's not wrong in what he says. He's also not completely accurate, as there are many business models which make a successful business. MS business model for the past 3 decades has been about bullying competition, and trying to force their policies on their users due to their high user count.

This is especially apparent with their Windows OS, and if more people did some research on how MS operates they would be appalled at some of the things MS has done. Some of those things are exactly like what they tried to do with the X1. Reading posts on here it seems to me that most people have no clue just what kind of corporation MS is, and only see that they make a games console that they like.

Now, I'm not saying other companies are innocent. Within gaming, Sony, Nintendo, and even Sega have made their fair share of blunders when it comes to consumer relations. But all of them admitted to their mistakes, and tried to rectify them. Some with better results than others.

MS itself made a decent gaming system with the 360. I will never deny them that. But they were the first to have paid online, they ignored or denied the RROD fiasco until they were on the verge of a huge class action lawsuit(which I have yet to see them apologize for), they dropped support of the original Xbox without hesitation, they dropped support of 1st party AAA games to the bare minimum the last 3 years, they are the first to introduce a console that was so obviously tailored for their own gain that actually took away from the consumer, and the list goes on. In all this stuff, I've never seen them be humble with their mistakes. Their mistakes are ALWAYS addressed with some PR spin about how innovative and forward thinking they are. How they always trying to push forward, all while marginalizing the issues and trying to subversively blame the customer.

What's funny about that though, is that it's ONLY the gaming community which gives MS a free pass on this stuff. Other industries that MS services tear MS apart over their blunders. The reason MS still exists is because of how ingrained they are into the technology market, and the fact that they do make some good powerful software/service products.

However, back to my point, this shows MS squarely as a company that is all about the money. And yes, all companies are about the money, but other companies can be about the money by providing products that the consumer wants, in a way that the customer wants.

Now we can obviously compare Sony's blunders over the years, and yes they have made quite a few, but they always come back to the customer in the end. They know where their bread and butter is on the PlayStation brand.

Sony for the past few years seems almost like their begging for us to forgive them by offering us what we want, and same goes for the development community. That attitude shows that they care about the customer, and when you care about the customer, the customer cares about you, which in turn makes you money, which is what the company cares for.

Edit: I'd also like to point out that Sony still gets ridiculed for it's mistakes. I have a feeling this whole thing will persist into the next next-gen. In fact I have a feeling it's going to get even worse with all this online gaming becoming more ubiquitous. But that's another debate for another time.

TheRealHeisenberg1728d ago (Edited 1728d ago )

@ Software_Lover

"There is no point in debating with you, just as there is no point in debating with an Xbox guy. You see what you want to see."

I really did not need to read any more than that part of your comment to see that you are one of the more level headed members of this site. Of course though, I see what I want to see.

Edit: I was originally pissed at myself for bothering to read this drivel disguised as a blog because I should have known better. Thanks for trying to bring some balance although I know it will be ignored and/or missed by the herds of sheep grazing N4G.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1728d ago
BitbyDeath1730d ago (Edited 1730d ago )

Both are businesses in their own right but vastly different.

Sony push technology to earn money.
MS focuses on improving their bottom line.

BillytheBarbarian1730d ago

That was about as informative as a fortune cookie I broke apart today.

Run up the hill to sweat and burn calories.
Focus on maintaining your form.

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