I recently read a user comment somewhere in the depths of the internet that said something along the lines of “It’s obvious that Sony has already lost this generations console war”. At first I dismissed this. However a day or two later it seeped back into my brain. As I went through a mental list of all the things that Sony has done wrong since the PS3 was announced in 2005 I began to ponder if Sony really has lost this generations console war.
It’s fair to say that the PlayStation 3 has been traveling on a rocky road for a while. The announcement of the $599.99 price tag at the 2006 E3 seemed to induce a collective “Really?” through out the video game industry (a very similar reaction came from this year’s E3 when it was announced that the PSP Go will be priced at $250.00)
Fast forward a few years and the PS3 continues to be pounded with bad press. It was announced that Sony lost two of their biggest exclusives in Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid to Microsoft at E3 this year. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, made statements threatening to stop developing for the PlayStation 3. Valve has recently said the PS3 is too complicated to develop for and they certainly aren’t the first game development studio to make this complaint.
We can argue the criteria of what it takes to win or lose a console war until we are blue in the face but in reality it all comes down to sales and market share. As of now this is where Sony is failing. However it could very well be another four or five years until we see a new generation of consoles from the big three. Does this mean that Sony has time to make a come back? The PS3 has the release of two of its biggest exclusive franchises on the horizon with God Of War III and Uncharted 2. I also think it’s safe to expect a PS3 price drop some time in the near future. But will a few triple A exclusives and a price drop be enough to reignite consumer interest in the PS3?
Author’s note: I am an owner of a PS3 and personally I love it. The idea that this piece of hardware could become irrelevant saddens me. Not because I spent a lot of money on it but because of what it is capable of. From a hardware point of view, the PS3 is certainly superior to the 360 or the Wii. However having the ‘best’ product on the market doesn’t mean jack if your marketing team has their heads up their asses.