[Opinion] Sony's current gen struggle and the need to improve for next gen

Feb 15, 2009
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Note: It is a bit out of place as I'm just writing this as it comes to me.

So the next generation of consoles have been revealed and so far from what most of us have only seen, Sony's PS4 has caught the most attention and so far captured the wallets of many as the console they want to purchase for next gen. Of course this can all change if they end up making marketing choices or other decisions that consumers end up giving Sony the big fat middle finger. Now before I continue, this is all based on my own opinion and will sound a little one sided at times. I'm not bias among the gaming console giants even though it sound like it is, but I am and always have been a supporter of Sony ever since the walkman came out to it's first home console (the PSX).

To start the PS3 was coming off of a very successful PS2 campaign that still sees it as the best selling console of all time, but the PS3 never really met expectations. Factors from launch price point, hardware changes, to delay of launch. The PS3 was suppose to have many more features such as 2 hdmi outputs, better ram, and the reduction of I/O usb and card readers due to production costs. As well the implementation of a blu ray drive which I would say has turned out to be a good thing. The blu ray drive although cost Sony a year after the launch of the 360 and launch of almost double its price, has become the native format for high definition entertainment movies and games. With next generation of blu ray discs going upwards of holding 120gb of data, yeah blu ray was a good decision to fight for. But the PS3 ended being designed with an architecture that developers found hard to use because it was so different from the 360 or PC.

Then came the announcement of the PS4 which developers are saying has been designed so that they can finally develop games like a PC making ports much easier and much like how they were praising how easy it was to make games for the 360. Now both the PS4 and Xbox1 have pretty similar specs with of course the user experience being the big difference when it comes to which console to buy, if not both. There has been a lot of backlash on the Xbox1 due to things like online connection, and DRM games, and now the privacy through the Kinect 2 camera. But it's kinda funny how when I think about it, Sony hasn't said anything or mentioned about the same issues, and in a way people are assuming that the PS4 won't follow those marketing choices that many are saying will plague the success of the Xbox1. What if the PS4 did the same? Would we still want to get the PS4? Many people would tell you while PS3 has great games, the online experience even though paid in a gold membership has a lot more features that make the overall experience that much more worth paying for. Sony also never said if the camera must be plugged in as each system will ship with one.

So Sony has been pretty tight lipped on everything, and the biggest thing going for them heading to E3 is the console reveal itself whilst avoiding answering any questions comparing the services that have made people hate the Xbox1. Sony has already said no online connection is needed to use the console, okay so thats good. But what about used games, apparently Geoff Keighley has said that PS4 will follow the used game scenario of having to pay some fee to play a used games because it doesn't make sense that one system will require payment and the other doesn't. And it doesn't. Sony said that the PS4 will not block used games, but careful wording they never said a fee won't be included. Xbox1 will play used games, you just have to pay a fee so in the end don't be surprised if they both charge you for used games. Kind of like the online pass, except it'll be like an activation code that comes with the game case.

And before I forget, as I am writing this as I go, the dreaded launch price. Sony has said they have learnt from the PS3 mistakes and plans not to launch at that price which was $599 (damn now I think about it, I got my PS3 for $300) and people have speculated it'll launch at around $400. Amazon France has begun listing the console at $599 euros, which based on how international pricing works, it'll be $599 in North America, of course that doesn't mean that's the actual price but it's something to think about and not be surprised if it does costs around that price point. Sony as a company is still struggling in trying to make profit as it used to be one of the biggest electronics company which has seen competition taken the spotlight. Microsoft on the other hand isn't in need of money, heck Sony can mention a price, and then MS be like here we'll take $50 off.

As much as I hate to say it, MS reveal has said the system will see 15 exclusives throughout the first year of launch, and that is pretty impressive. And good exclusives do influence sales, especially with Forza showing a very pretty trailer that is slated to be non CG. This compared to Drive Club, if I had the money, Forza would take it, only because they have 5 other Forza games in their resume compared to Evolution Studios only having done Motorstorm's which aren't really your simulation racing games. But going back to the exclusives, it's a good number and it'll be tough for Sony to top off considering MS has a Halo to announce. Sony needs the devs to go back to the roots, and maybe pull out some old franchises and bring life back to them, and well, actually make them good (ahem Socom). A lot of the new IPs for PS3 are great inFamous, Uncharted, Resistance, but Playstation All Stars really showed that history of Sony franchises, and how many of us old school gamers miss them. Taking a look back in 2012, the PS3 had an enormous number of exclusives but majority of them end up being subpar, good but not great like a half finish game. Feels a lot like pushing out games just for the sake of having them, a bit of a reflection of how Sony pushed out their TVs. They marketed a wide range of TVs, but one feature have something the other doesn't where as Samsung or LG just gives you a TV with everything in it. Same with the 360, it had only 3 big exclusives but they felt really complete as a game. I need to mention though, while MS says 15, we don't know if that includes XBLA games so it doesn't mean anything until those are revealed. (added) The PS4 reveal showed a list of a hundred devs currently working on games, which is even better than what MS announced, but unusually the PS4 list had discrepancies and the number of devs has decreased, what's the heck is going on Sony?

I'm sure E3 will answer a lot of questions but not all, and will bring up even more questions. Though it should give that push to help decide which console to get if people decide on console gaming over PC. We still have TGS and Gamescon and like 50 other conventions before the systems do get launched but its hard to forget that Sony in the past few years has made great announcements and then stepped on everyone later on. Every year we always think E3 is going to be huge because of what is expected or rumored, then they become debunked and then realize E3 wasn't that special. I wouldn't be surprised if Sony adds in a paid subscription to play online to replace Plus but that would obviously be a huge setback for PS4. I'll still have to say this E3 will be the biggest of all, though I don't have my expectations set too high.

Other things to mention is Jack Tretton told media after the reveal that games will range anywhere from 99 cents to $59.99. Just today a retailer had PS4 games listed at $69.99, so lets hope that's wrong. And if it's true that PS4 will have 2 different bundles at $100 difference, I'd like to see a Vita included in the other bundle, which would really help push the Vita marketing with remote play, cross play, cross buy, cross save etc. For the E3 conferences, Sony has the last sleight of hand presenting last, so there's some advantage knowing what MS presented and a good way to fire back. Although we can never forget Nintendo, while it's not necessarily competing with PS4 or Xbox1, they eventually will find success through all the first party franchises they own.

Marketing online has recently been hysterical, love it, it's pretty entertaining seeing the war Sony wants to start. But one thing the 360 did right was marketing. I was at Walmart and a couple were asking about good games for PS3, and the worker told them Uncharted. They were like "what is that?" and I almost wanted to jump in to sell them, but they've heard of all the other 360 games, so you can tell something Sony didn't do was advertisements either that or they were hypnotized. Only recently we've seen UC3, GoW Ascension, and The Last of Us fairly good exposure to.

The PS4 reveal aftermath gave a relief to a lot of us long time Sony supporters, by really making a console that focuses primarily on one thing, games. Of course all the extra features are great, but to be honest my PS3 has been used 95% of the time for games, because thats what it's intended to be used as. The Xbox1 reveal, a lot of the media's first reaction was a big laugh because how many times did the say the word TV? like 42? My Samsung TV does all that already. What were gamers looking for? games. But like how I've told others, E3 is when MS will come guns blazing with games, while the reveal was meant to show off the system....well aside from that 15 mins of CoDG. But Sony, the first step was making a console for games which we're happy with (assuming specs wont change), but now it's how they will carry it through till launch. Think about the consumer, the gamers, we know what we want, and if it's good, then we'll pay for it, simply as that.

In recent news (May 29), reported that all devs are required to enable remote play between the ps4 games with the Vita except games that use the camera. This is great new, esp since it helps support my PS4 bundle theory. But I find it unusual how the PS4 was marketed to remote play all games, and now reports say Sony are asking them to do it. Shouldn't that have been something made clear back then. Then again, this could just be a report from days back when PS4 development began. I'd like to see more compatibility between the two systems. It's nice in the Rayman Legends trailer show the coop use between 2 Vitas for the game but that's something I'd rather see as a cross controller similar to what is being done on the Wii U. Esp since you can control the PS3 from anywhere worldwide at current gen. Also want to mention the cloud gaming with Gaikai, while it's quite nice to hear they are developing a way to have your old PS games playable across all devices, I'm sure it won't be free, but after the Xbox1 reveal I get the sense that MS is already levels ahead of Sony on that front.

Only 2 more weeks! And even though the reveal was great, the little things that came afterward has slowing been tearing apart the company and the system. And as we're familiar with some choices Sony makes, we can only hope they make the right ones....for the consumer
 
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Sir_Scud

Super Elite
Dec 30, 2007
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I haven't read it yet Hartia, but I will. And don't worry, the 500 count is just a minimum. If you want to write an epic that's totally fine. I will read it through and give you some thoughts, but either way it's been entered.
 
Feb 15, 2009
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#3
haha thanks Sir Scud. I was just referencing that I didn't even think about word count, just wrote and wrote...and I only planned it to be like half of that LOL. Now that I read it again, I felt like I just rant...a LOT. =P

BTW, it's too bad I can't change the title, I feel it's a bit over exaggerated...but lets keep it as is
 

Sir_Scud

Super Elite
Dec 30, 2007
2,185
41
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#4
Actually you can edit the title, or I can if you want. But in the end it's the content that's important. Personally I like longer pieces. And I tend to sound like a ranter, too lol.
 
Feb 15, 2009
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#5
forgot to mention...."smooth 1080p 3d gaming anyone???"

And E3....no more Wonderbook, please...at least not 30 mins....
 
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Sir_Scud

Super Elite
Dec 30, 2007
2,185
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#6
As I said I would, I finally got a chance to read it, Hartia. I think here in America the Xbox had stronger brand recognition and presence. Your average person probably knew all about Halo or Gears, but something like Uncharted could be missed by some. And yeah, the market presence wasn't great. And if games are $69.99...probably going to go PC route, ignore purchasing new games until they drop in price. Even though I could afford it, at some point it's too much. Oh and the remote play feature was one reason I bought a Vita last month. Pretty excited for the future of gaming, though!
 
Feb 15, 2009
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#7
Yeah, I was discussing with a friend recently, if ps4 and xbox1 follow through with the DRM-activation plan, not only will it hurt initial sales, but also companies like gamestop and eb games as most have already first pointed out to. And thats assuming games are released at 60$ or more. Now if we look at steam, it's the exact same thing, you use the game code, and it's yours and you can't sell it, or anything (excluding steam gifts). And they make a killing off profits, but the main point out of steam is that, almost every single game at release you can purchase for only a fraction of the price. Such as dead island riptide only cost 15$ if you knew where. How much did console owners pay? 50$?

I, like you, at least in the past year only purchased games once they dropped in price unless it is something huge and worth the purchase. ie. I got a copy of Ni No Kuni for 12$ a month after release =) The only difference for me, is I get access to new releases for 20$ off MSRP, so my decision comes down to, whether or not I actually want to play it. I'm not sure how it is in USA, but in Canada prices drop about 20-30$ within the first month after release as well.

In terms of Xbox brand recognition, there are die hard fans, and then there's us the casual. The one year early release was one of the bigger factor in, in my opinion, the influence for followers to buy. How I see it is, a group of people already have the 360, then when it comes to other friend deciding what to play, "oh you have 360, i'll gt one too so we can play online". The multiplayer is another huge factor, imagine what would happen if online gaming still didn't exist on current gen?