Popular Posts

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Sony is Doing Wrong

I may write a follow-up to this post about what Sony is doing right.  Maybe.  We'll see.

First off, I don't understand what Sony was thinking with its marketing scheme when the Playstation 3 was released a few years ago.  Check out this ad they ran:


What the heck?  That's supposed to make me want to buy a PS3?  It creeped me out!  Made me want to take a really hot shower to burn the disturbed off my skin.

Only the fact that they had a legitimately good product saved them.  The PS3 was very powerful, and could double as a Blu-Ray disc player.  Plus, legions of Final Fantasy and Metal Gear fans figured that Sony would continue to keep their precious game series exclusive.  (Metal Gear Solid 4 did end up a PS3 exclusive, but Final Fantasy 13 was sold on both the PS3 and X-Box 360.)  People bought it despite, not because of, the advertising campaign.

And how about that PS3, huh?  Quite the machine.  Although, just like the 360, early models of the PS3 suffered hardware problems that cost the company money.  That's understandable; most machines are buggy when they're first released into the market.  The problem is especially bad in the video game industry, however, where companies rush to release their new products without adequately testing them, just to race the competition.

The original PS3 was massive and heavy, which likely hurt sales, especially with the Nintendo Wii was about the size and weight of a Pop-Tart.  Sony did eventually manage to release a new, slimmer version of the PS3, but this came with a major drawback:  it wasn't backwards compatible.  No more PS2 or Playstation games for you!  This doesn't really make sense to me, and here's why:  The PS2 Slim was tiny.  I could hide it under a DVD case and no one would know.  It weighed next to nothing.  Yet somehow, dropping the Emotion Engine (the bit of the motherboard that ran PS2 games on the PS3) led to a 33% slimmer, 36% lighter PS3.  I really don't get how that works.  How big can that chip possibly be?

Okay, so, I can't play my favorite PS2 games on this new system.  Fine.  At least I can play the cool new games coming out, right?

Nope.  Developers found the PS3 was difficult to program for, and many nearly abandoned ship and moved to the 360 and Wii.  Despite the PS3's power and potential, no one made any notable games for it until about two years after its launch.  Sony has since cleaned up its act somewhat, with a much more developer-friendly PS3 Slim.  Still, the PS3 is lagging way behind both its competitors, trying to offer an extremely pricey system with fewer game options.

Here's another thing Sony is handling wrong:  Final Fantasy VII.  The seventh installment in the uberpopular series is one of the most-loved video games ever.  People bought the freakin' Playstation just so they could play Final Fantasy VII.  Heck, the Playstation came into existence because Square Enix wanted to created a game of epic proportions.  Originally, they were going to program the game for the Nintendo 64, but Nintendo wanted to stick with cartridges instead of trying out this new-fangled CD thing.  A cartridge couldn't possibly hold all the data the game would need, so Square asked if Sony wanted to have a shot at making a game console.

Point being, Final Fantasy VII is ridiculously popular.  And yet it has never, not once, been rereleased since it's original launch in 1997.  It's the most popular game ever to be released on pretty much any Playstation, ever.  And Sony used sections of--with cool updated graphics--at the E3 convention in 2005 to show off how cool the PS3 was going to be.  A "Final Fantasy VII testing group" was mentioned in the credits of the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children movie and in the Final Fantasy VII spin-off video game Crisis Core.  The team that worked on the original game has stated--repeatedly--that they would love to revisit it and update it for modern consoles.  Yet still we get no updates, no rereleases.  Sony is sitting on a gold mine, and it seems to have no interest in mining it. 

Also, Final Fantasy 13 sucked.

Here's how a good business makes money:  learn what consumers want, and sell it to them.

Here's how a lousy company fails to make money:  release a product with a lot of potential, then do nothing with it.

Admittedly, some companies came come up with a product that nobody was looking to buy, and then make that product popular.  See the iPod as an example.  But that's not what Sony is trying to do.  The PS3 was a highly-anticipated machine that gamers were salivating over.  Then it hit the markets and failed to live up to expectations.

Here's what Sony needs to do to turn things around:

1) Rerelease Final Fantasy VII for the PS3.  It will sell consoles.  Guaranteed. 

2) Release good, quality games that are enjoyable to play.  Not Final Fantasy 13.  And definitely not Metal Gear Solid 4.  They are very pretty games to watch, but they are so dull to play.  Good game play trumps good graphics every time.  That's why the less-powerful but incredibly fun Nintendo Wii has seen so much success.

3) Advertise better.  Tell people why they should spend hundreds of dollars on your product.  Don't give them creepy babies in an empty room.

4) Respect the past.  A lot of people loved their PS2 games.  They PS3 is so expensive that a lot of players hawked their PS2 in order to get it.  Retool the Slim if you must, but make it backwards compatible.  If nothing else, at least make all those old game downloadable onto the PS3.  We'll pay ten or fifteen bucks to be able to play them again.

This has been another post from L33t Games.  Until next time, spend some quality time with your sweetheart.

No comments:

Post a Comment