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"Sony about to lose?"

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Fri 12/08/05 at 12:02
Posts: 18,185
I spoke to a lecturer over in the media section of a neighbouring university recently and he told me something rather startling. He said to me that he believes the next gen console war could be the end for the Playstation brand. He said it could also mean problems for HD-DVD and then he went on to explain why…

But how on earth can Sony topple from its perch? I mean really? The mighty Playstation Company produce less software than the Nintendo and Microsoft but the high sales of their format is just unbelievable.

But is that about to change?

Sony's new era is supposed to be great, and it looks it. Sony's E3 show defeated Nintendo's hastily put together production and Microsoft's grand celebrity unveiling. The games looked better, Sony themselves were more sophisticated and they didn't need a hobbit to tell everyone they are the best. The PSP highlights their new venture into handheld gaming and it is moving at a swift pace.

It is impossible to say Sony are losing, the PSP may not have had the impact it should have had but it is still selling amazingly and the PS2 is the run away leader world-wide.

But the warning signs are here.

Nintendo's DS has upset Sony... upset Sony a lot. Sony, when first unveiling the PSP, did not expect to go head to head with a new Nintendo handheld right from the word go.

Sony hoped that the PSP would outshine the GBA SP so much it was bound to win due to its fantastic graphics, brand name and look, regardless of the price. And this was rather likely. But the DS has confused matters, it is a new competitor, cutting projected sales and its low price of £99 has meant Sony have had to cut the planned price for the PSP. This means the PSP will make a far greater loss at the beginning than Sony originally intended.

In Europe and America the PSP could well beat the DS. It has had a good start in America and pre-orders are high in Europe. But in Japan it is a different story.

In Japan Nintendo's DS has firmly beaten the PSP. PSP is doing okay; it is selling solidly and is unlikely to go anywhere. But the DS is beating it by 2 million consoles overall and outsells the PSP by about 20,000 consoles every week. Why? Well the Japanese market is in a slump and the DS not only tries to rejuvenate things with its new ideas but there are also a load of non-games, appealing to those Japanese folk that buy consoles for random reasons like "gentle brain exercises". The DS is even outselling the Playstation 2.

The Nintendo Revolution, although unknown for the moment, could well do something similar. It'll be cheaper than the PS3, much cheaper, and it'll have random Japanese games (like the gentle brain exercises) that will mean the Revolution could do "A DS"... as in dominate Japan. The Japanese market is volatile and easily changes, Nintendo could well take dominance back in the home ground.

But not in Europe and America. Nintendo could well rule the Japanese roost again but they are far from dominating the west. No, the new threat is Microsoft.

The X-box, in the sense of weekly sales, is beating the PS2 in America and Europe. It makes sense as the PS2 has been out 2 years longer. But the X-box franchise has made a MUCH larger name for itself over the last few years, taking supporters from the Sony encampment. Sony has to take this threat seriously. The PS3 is a VERY expensive console to produce, it needs to sell around £500 to make a profit and Sony are gonna go for around £400 and make a loss. Simply so they don’t upset the punters.

But Microsoft are set to have their system priced even lower AND they have a vital head start. Sony will have to re-consider pricing if they want to keep up. If they do cut the price then the PS3's first year losses will be massive. But if they don't they'll let Microsoft in.

Sony are facing a problem. They are at risk of losing their vital monopoly, vital because Sony make losses (at the start anyway) on each system they produce. Sony does not produce the software of Microsoft and Nintendo. Nintendo do not need to sell at the rate of the Playstation because Nintendo’s mass of software sells so well on its system (people buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games). The same, although to a lesser extent, applies to Microsoft (people buy the X-box for Live and Halo).

The Playstation brand is strong. Yet at the moment Nintendo are the number one games company in Japan and Microsoft are making a larger name for itself year in year out. As my lecturer friend put it “Nintendo are hot right now in the east and Microsoft are hot right now in the west… Sony are falling out of favour”.

Is this the beginning of the end? Or is the PS3 simply gonna destroy all?

Here’s to the future


The conspiracy theorist inside me can not help but mention that Microsoft are making it possible to send messages to DS through the 360 and have allowed their company, RARE WARE, to develop DS games. To say the two are working together to defeat Sony is a ridiculous story to spin, but it is interesting to see these rivals getting along so well.
Fri 26/08/05 at 18:32
"topgamer above all"
Posts: 139
sony kicks ass and a lot of it, whose with me
Fri 26/08/05 at 18:01
Posts: 21,800
Codemasters invented the multitap when they put 2 controller ports in the cartridge of Micromachines on the Megadrive.
Fri 26/08/05 at 17:11
"High polygon count"
Posts: 15,624
Actually, I might be getting confused...

There are 7 USB ports, and I think it could be those that are controlled by an eighth.

Controllers on Bluetooth may be a different kettle of fish.

I read it a while ago, and can't remember which it was.

I've a feeling things like EyeToy and mics/headsets will connect via USB.
Fri 26/08/05 at 17:04
Posts: 15,443
Remember there are peripherals other than controllers i.e. instead of having different sockets for the Eyetoy, Mics and controllers, Bluetooth will allow all to be connected simultaneously.
Fri 26/08/05 at 12:47
"High polygon count"
Posts: 15,624
Apparently there are 8 channels, but the 8th is used as a 'control' channel for the others.
Fri 26/08/05 at 12:05
Posts: 4,686
7 player wireless... what's with that?

Ruins Pro Evo
Fri 26/08/05 at 00:11
Posts: 9,848
7 is an odd number...
Lucky for some I guess. :-)

gerrid wrote:
> I dunno, if there's money to be made then they'll probably be in
> there. They did invent the Multi-tap after all. The king of rip off
> peripherals.

Wasn't that Nintendo with the Snes?
Still, making the PS2 with just two slots was naughty, especially as so many PSOne games had four player splitscreen on them...
Fri 19/08/05 at 21:14
"High polygon count"
Posts: 15,624
Well, there is that, yes!

PS3 is 7-player wireless.
Fri 19/08/05 at 21:11
"bit of a brain"
Posts: 18,933
Or you'd actually prefer it if you didn't have to buy a multitap at all! And it was 8 player out of the box.

Is it the PS3 or the 360 which has 7 player wireless?
Fri 19/08/05 at 21:05
"High polygon count"
Posts: 15,624
Don't know about online with the Xbox, but personally I'd rather have to buy a multitap or two than a second console or an annual subscription to an online service. But I don't claim that to be anything other than my personal preference.

PES is definitely up to 8 player on PS2, though.

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