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Advice to PS3 Fans from a Nintendo Fanboy

by Carmine Red - December 16, 2008, 1:57 am PST
Total comments: 21

Opposing fanbois have taken to comparing the PlayStation 3's sales to that of the GameCube. They may be doing this as a way to put Sony's console in its place, but the truth is that the comparison suggests better things to come. After the GameCube came the Wii. After their darkest days, Nintendo reconquered the world. And with a little fortitude, and a lot of innovation, Sony can too.

1. Stay Your Course in the Face of Adversity

Sony, and its fans, have two models to follow as the PS3 makes do with a third place position. On the one hand, they can emulate what Nintendo did with the GameCube: hang in there, fight honorably, and keep the dream alive. On the other hand, they can become the next Sega.

Of course, if you're going to hunker down and fight it out, you'll need what Nintendo had and Sega didn't: money. The strategy right now is not to get knocked out, and that means that not only do you have to stay positive, but you have to resist the urge to give in to the howling demands of detractors.

For instance, many have called for drastic price cuts for the PS3 in order to spur sales. I've been guilty of bringing up this topic myself. But ask yourself, did price cuts help the GC catch up to the PS2? And did the newly-$200 Xbox 360 whip the Wii last November? No.

Price drops didn't magically launch the GameCube ahead of its competitors

In the big picture, Sony has already moved mountains to cut costs on the PS3, from undergoing radical re-engineering to remove costly hardware emulation, and, let's face it, the company needs to keep from losing money in today's economy. Yes, low prices are absolutely necessary to remain competitive, but I've already shown that price drops don't magically regain turn a third-place console into a market leader. Cut the price as much as possible, but someone has to keep an eye on the bottom line until the PS4 comes out.

Of course, this brings up a very important question: "How can the PS3 continue to sell, and how can Sony's gaming division keep its head above water, if it's the third place console?"

Hmmm… give me a day to think on that. Nintendo managed to do it. And as a fanboy, it's my passion to figure out how.

Talkback

KDR_11kDecember 16, 2008

Sorry but the amount of pre-launch arrogance Sony displayed deserves nothing but utter annihilation.

Another difference with Nintendo vs Sega is that Nintendo not only had money, they made money too. When a Sega console failed it buried Sega even more, when the Gamecube failed it still grew Nintendo's coffers. From what I heard Sony threw a ton of money at the PS3, if they don't get that back the shareholders won't be happy.

Victory is not something you get by following, victory is what you get by leading. Sony isn't good at leading, all they got was a lucky advantage by being the cheaper, more open (i.e. third party friendly) console in the PS1 era and expanding upon that with the PS2 but they threw it away with the PS3 while Nintendo worked towards that position. Now Nintendo leads at grabbing new markets and Sony seems clueless on how to copy that, especially now that they tried leading and led in the completely wrong direction.

The PS3 was a success if the goal was to sacrifice gaming for BluRay but I wonder how that'll turn out financially.

DasmosDecember 16, 2008

Well there is very little that is keeping the PS3's head above the water. Their exclusives are slipping away (Tekken, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest) and they just don't have the total 3rd-party support they had in previous generations.

I am actually really keen to find out what Sony will try and conjure up to try and reverse this.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusDecember 16, 2008

I think price drops would go a long way for the PS3. Remember the Cube was already the cheapest machine on the market, right out of the gate. So if being the cheapest doesn't help you to start, of course price drops aren't going to bolster sales or market position either.

The PS3 is still far and away the most expensive machine on the market, and people are unwilling to fund their Blu-Ray initiative. Lack of PS2 emulation is also a problem as it prevents people from confidently trading up. You can't just sell your PS2 as a means to get a PS3 because then your entire PS2 collection is worthless.

Sony made a number of missteps, mostly on creating a system that was so priced out of the market, it stood no chance. Not to mention the cell processor which is also a bitch to program for because it requires synchronized threading. As a whole they managed to alienate both customers and developers alike and as a result they have a small install base, and small (non-existant?) exclusive developer pool. Sony will have to just hope to keep their head out of water long enough to make it through this generation, and next gen they will have to opportunity to correct their mistakes and produce a machine that is more accessible.

PlugabugzDecember 16, 2008

I said it before and i'll say it again. MAKE A PROFIT.

Nintendo coming third on a profit making console (when the others are losing money) puts it a clear first in its business objective.
At least Microsoft has a strategy that is slowly beginning to pay off over time.

White MageDecember 16, 2008

As good as it feels to see Nintendo and Sony in completely reversed places this time around, I really don't necessarily want Sony to fail.  That just seems needlessly cruel.  Sure they may copy tech/ideas from others, sure they mostly pander to a demographic of gamers that find joy in bald space marines and shooting hookers, and sure they were incredibly arrogant going into this console generation to the point that it's so ironic that they are where they are, you can't help but laugh.  But hoping that they drop out of the game business is a low blow (not saying that anyone is calling for that here, but around the web, I see it a lot). 

I look back at the GameCube and even to some extent the 64 and what it was like to be a Nintendo fan during those eras, constantly defending your "child's toy" of a system, hoping and waiting for the next great game (more often than not, from Nintendo themselves), and waiting for the day that they finally announced the oft rumored online plans.  To be honest, it wasn't the best of times.

I don't really wish that anyone has to endure that side of the gaming culture.  It's one of the worst parts of being a fan - that you may be rooting for the loser while the majority is for the winner.  No one wants to be in that position.  As "bad" as Sony and it's fans may be, I don't think they should be run into the ground. 

At the same time, someone is always going to be number one and someone is always going to be last.  So is life.  And I'm glad Nintendo's not in last, haha.

KDR_11kDecember 16, 2008

Quote from: White

I don't really wish that anyone has to endure that side of the gaming culture.  It's one of the worst parts of being a fan - that you may be rooting for the loser while the majority is for the winner.  No one wants to be in that position.  As "bad" as Sony and it's fans may be, I don't think they should be run into the ground. 

Well, with Sony like it is now they'll keep suffering. If Sony pulls out then the fans are free again.

MorariDecember 16, 2008

Quote from: White

As good as it feels to see Nintendo and Sony in completely reversed places this time around, I really don't necessarily want Sony to fail.  That just seems needlessly cruel.  Sure they may copy tech/ideas from others, sure they mostly pander to a demographic of gamers that find joy in bald space marines and shooting hookers, and sure they were incredibly arrogant going into this console generation to the point that it's so ironic that they are where they are, you can't help but laugh.  But hoping that they drop out of the game business is a low blow (not saying that anyone is calling for that here, but around the web, I see it a lot).

You forgot the rootkits.

DAaaMan64December 16, 2008

Quote from: Morari

Quote from: White

As good as it feels to see Nintendo and Sony in completely reversed places this time around, I really don't necessarily want Sony to fail.  That just seems needlessly cruel.  Sure they may copy tech/ideas from others, sure they mostly pander to a demographic of gamers that find joy in bald space marines and shooting hookers, and sure they were incredibly arrogant going into this console generation to the point that it's so ironic that they are where they are, you can't help but laugh.  But hoping that they drop out of the game business is a low blow (not saying that anyone is calling for that here, but around the web, I see it a lot).

You forgot the rootkits.

I completely agree with Morari. This is why I want Sony dead. NEVAR FORGET

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 16, 2008

Quote from: Kairon

Of course, this brings up a very important question: "How can the PS3 continue to sell, and how can Sony's gaming division keep its head above water, if it's the third place console?"   


Hmmm… give me a day to think on that. Nintendo managed to do it. And as a fanboy, it's my passion to figure out how.

Nintendo had the Game Boy Advance during their GCN downtime.  That was probably the number one factor.  Add in the fact that, Nintendo is and always has been, a games company.  When Nintendo lost all of it's third party support, we still had the best damn developer making games for our beloved little cube - Nintendo.  Sony, while making some decent first party games, is no Nintendo.  Sony makes their money by selling hardware and licensing fees.  With the PS3, they're bleeding money on hardware and getting hit hard when it comes to licensing fees... and the PSP is no GBA.

Spak-SpangDecember 16, 2008

I liked this article but you needed another day to finish your thoughts.

Sony, needs to come back and not just be another me too system.

Xbox 360 has defined itself as the online console...it is Microsofts competitive advantage.

Nintendo has defined itself with unique and innovative controller that focuses on introducing new markets to games.  And has set up a great Virtual Console system providing it 2 competitive advantages. 

Sony's competitive advantage was its Blu-Ray player, but the consumer didn't care about Blu-ray movies.  They enjoy DVDs still and most don't see the need for the true HD experience...after all most people don't even have HD televisions.  So, Sony can not compete in the online segment, does not have a new play experience nor the virtual console.  So it is left with only the games to speak for the system...and so far that hasn't been enough.

Sony needs to bring something new to the next generation.  It needs to be something that can define Sony as different.  Perhaps it isn't as revolutionary or innovative as the Wii, or as sleek and well designed as Xbox Live...but perhaps something unique enough and designed thoughtfully enough to give them an advantage and remind gamers why they loved Sony in the first place.

Confession: I love my PS3. Another confession: I would not own one were it not for my brother needing money for car insurance. Truth is, I got my PS3 for a freaking steal, so I don't really count. I'm still able to look at the situation from outside, thankfully. And yeah, Sony has totally f*cked this generation up. I'll never forget that E3 when they announced the price. I was knocked off my feet! Were they serious? Do they continue to be serious? And taking PS2 functionality out was a HEEEUUUUGE mistake. Oh, I can play PS1 games, but not PS2 games? FANTASTIC. And I don't give two craps about Blu-Ray until somebody releases Jurassic Park on Blu-Ray. And you know what? My PS2 can play DVD's.

Now, honestly, my PS3 gets more playtime than my Wii. However, had I not gotten my system at a garage-sale price, I would not HAVE a PS3, so...yeah.

Bottom line: I love my PS3, but Sony screwed this up. Under normal circumstances, I would not have a PS3 today, though I'd desperately want one (for MGS4, R&C, and Tomb Raider...and Soul Calibur 4...and Bioshock). And Kairon left out the floundering PSP, which continues to deny its lingering death-knell.

broodwarsDecember 16, 2008

Back in July after Nintendo's abysmal E3 showing, I resolved to purchase a new console to fill in the inevitable drought till something I was interested in appeared on the Wii.  At the time, my financial situation wasn't as bad as it is now and I could actually afford to do that.  However, despite how hard the GameStop folks were trying to push me to buy a PS3, I decided instead to buy one of the brand new slim PS2s that fit right in alongside my Wii on my shelf.  Why?  It's too damn expensive, I couldn't buy a new model that still had 100% perfect PS2 emulation, and there really weren't any games on the thing I was interested in.  Those 3 things (well, 4 when you count their supreme arrogance) essentially doomed Sony this generation.

If Sony wants to make some recovery, the best thing they can do is modularize the PS3: gut the Blu-Ray player and reinstate the PS2 emulation hardware.  I don't give a damn about Blu-Ray (and given how strong DVD continues to do, I'm far from the only one), and when the time comes that I do I'll get a standalone player for it.  Make the Blu-Ray player a separate attachment for those who want it.  Ditto for the hard drives, which right now just lead to too many SKUs in the marketplace and outright confusion.  I'm interested in playing the games on the system first, and the removal of these components would probably drop the price of the PS3 by at least $100-$150. 

I consider Sony's removal of the PS2 hardware to be an especially aggregious error, because what if I want to bring over the sizeable collection of PS2 games I've collected over the past 6 months with me when I upgrade?  Right now, there's no guarantee that I could play all of them unless I got a 60 GB PS3 model, which are no longer being manufactured if I remember correctly.  Given the massive install base the PS2 has, I can't imagine it did Sony much good to essentially slam the door in their face with this, if in public relations alone.

As for the games, they are starting to appear.  Valkyria Chronicles and Little Big Planet in particular have me quite interested in the system, and there will be more on the way in the future (most systems have a library of games worth playing).  Sony, though, has priced the PS3 to the point where the cost of the experience outweighs the benefits, and unless they change that the system will never perform even modestly.

The window has long passed where Sony had a chance to win this generation, and they only have themselves to blame.  Their only recourse if they want to stay alive as a hardware manufacturer is to cut down on the excess, bring down the price, and make the console more accessible to your average gamer.

Armak88December 16, 2008

I think that Uncle Bob is the closest to hitting the nail on the head here. Financially, I suppose that the biggest factor was that Nintendo made a profit on every console sold, but what justified Nintendo's existence as a company, especially to fans, is that they provided a unique experience that couldn't be found on any of the other consoles. Like UB said, even if all the other third parties left, the cube still had the best dev in the business making games for it, Nintendo themselves. Sony does not have that kind of an identity. The 360 and PS3 both have the same types of games, and most of the good ones are for both platforms. The PS3 is losing because a good portion of it's best games are playable on the much cheaper 360, and the ones that aren't are outweighed by similar titles... and more of them.

The real questions is why should Sony fans even care? I mean why should they "stick it out"? As a Nintendo fan I wasn't happy about the cube coming in last, but I knew why I was sticking with it, the games. Sony just doesn't have that going for them, and their fans can get the same experiences, if not a better experience of the same type on the 360.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusDecember 17, 2008

Quote from: broodwars

If Sony wants to make some recovery, the best thing they can do is modularize the PS3: gut the Blu-Ray player and reinstate the PS2 emulation hardware.  I don't give a damn about Blu-Ray (and given how strong DVD continues to do, I'm far from the only one), and when the time comes that I do I'll get a standalone player for it.  Make the Blu-Ray player a separate attachment for those who want it.  Ditto for the hard drives, which right now just lead to too many SKUs in the marketplace and outright confusion.  I'm interested in playing the games on the system first, and the removal of these components would probably drop the price of the PS3 by at least $100-$150. 

They can't modularize out the Blu-ray player. Part of their reason for having it besides pushing Blu-ray was to allow for more "Epic and cinematic" games ala Metal Gear. At this point, I am not sure whether any games actually use blu-ray though.

Also, Sony invented Blu-ray, so no money would be saved by not including it unlike the Wii and it's lack of DVD playback where Nintendo would have to pay a license fee with each unit sold. They probably save money, at least for it's electronic division by enlarging the production run, well in the long run if Blu-ray is the true successor to DVD.

Also partitioning out the HDD would create a lot of work that may well be impossible seeing that PS3 never had an allowance for having no HDD.

With all the bits and pieces, one might as well just buy a computer.

In terms of cost, their biggest mistake was over-engineering it and making it needlessly complex. Both in manufacture and programming. For all their quality control issues, MS basically went with and Xbox 2 however went with a PPC chip for some reason that I can't remember or never knew. That helped MS keep costs controllable.

Sony has all the issues the N64 has, without any of Nintendo's strengths. But I do see Sony lasting out the generation. It will be a long slow drag to whatever one calls a finish line. PS4 is 50/50 at best. There is no longer the insane drive or vision in Sony for another. As insane as crazy Ken was, his force of will made the PS3. There is no one to replace that. In fact I believe there is a distaste for another in Sony.

Nothing else I learned from being a Nintendo fan. Just go and play the bloody games and enjoy them as they come. That or get a life.

broodwarsDecember 17, 2008

Quote from: oohhboy

Quote from: broodwars

If Sony wants to make some recovery, the best thing they can do is modularize the PS3: gut the Blu-Ray player and reinstate the PS2 emulation hardware.  I don't give a damn about Blu-Ray (and given how strong DVD continues to do, I'm far from the only one), and when the time comes that I do I'll get a standalone player for it.  Make the Blu-Ray player a separate attachment for those who want it.  Ditto for the hard drives, which right now just lead to too many SKUs in the marketplace and outright confusion.  I'm interested in playing the games on the system first, and the removal of these components would probably drop the price of the PS3 by at least $100-$150. 

They can't modularize out the Blu-ray player. Part of their reason for having it besides pushing Blu-ray was to allow for more "Epic and cinematic" games ala Metal Gear. At this point, I am not sure whether any games actually use blu-ray though.

Also, Sony invented Blu-ray, so no money would be saved by not including it unlike the Wii and it's lack of DVD playback where Nintendo would have to pay a license fee with each unit sold. They probably save money, at least for it's electronic division by enlarging the production run, well in the long run if Blu-ray is the true successor to DVD.

Also partitioning out the HDD would create a lot of work that may well be impossible seeing that PS3 never had an allowance for having no HDD.

With all the bits and pieces, one might as well just buy a computer.

In terms of cost, their biggest mistake was over-engineering it and making it needlessly complex. Both in manufacture and programming. For all their quality control issues, MS basically went with and Xbox 2 however went with a PPC chip for some reason that I can't remember or never knew. That helped MS keep costs controllable.

Sony has all the issues the N64 has, without any of Nintendo's strengths. But I do see Sony lasting out the generation. It will be a long slow drag to whatever one calls a finish line. PS4 is 50/50 at best. There is no longer the insane drive or vision in Sony for another. As insane as crazy Ken was, his force of will made the PS3. There is no one to replace that. In fact I believe there is a distaste for another in Sony.

Nothing else I learned from being a Nintendo fan. Just go and play the bloody games and enjoy them as they come. That or get a life.

Well then, I'd say Sony has essentially created a machine that's impossible to downsize in any meaningful way to make more affordable...at least till technology advances allow for less expensive replacement parts.  Sony's made its bed then, because if the price can't go down to bring in a larger audience they'll never get those "unique experiences" that every console must have to survive.  The 3rd parties will just move on to platforms that actually sell, and they'll just have to live with that.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusDecember 17, 2008

In reality, the PS3 was about two things for Sony: Blu-Ray, Cell Processor. They used the PS3 as a launchpad for both technologies, and saw proper success with Blu-Ray as it defeated HD-DVDs and lack of success with the Cell as it has not gained traction in home computing, thanks to Intel and their Core 2 Duo.

Sony was arrogant enough to believe that their consumers would blindly fund their research and application of both technologies by paying absurd amounts for their new technology. With Blu-Ray's success, Sony probably considers the PS3 a positive experience as that technology will provide income for the company for many years to come.

Come to think of it, the PSP was kind of the same as well. They used the system as a launchpad for UMD which ultimately bombed, but hey, they tried!

But anyway, like I said before, Sony will see this generation through, and next generation, unless they have some new format or concept they want to pass off, I'd bet they will be positioned to be a much more dominant player again.

Spak-SpangDecember 17, 2008

Sony defeated HD-DVDs, but it still has 2-3 years before Blu-Ray becomes mass-market and there is a chance people will bypass the Blu-Ray player for whatever is better, potentially download or streaming media.  Look Laser Disc came out but people did not support it.  Blue-Ray could be the same thing. 

GoldenPhoenixDecember 17, 2008

I think others have said it already, but Sony was arrogant and should have realized that their "brand" really has little meaning. They don't have any games that make people say "Wow I can only get this on PS3" making it a mega hit like Halo or Nintendo's franchises. Sony created some great hardware, but too great for a video game console. With PS4 Sony needs to try and establish something that is ground breaking for gaming, that you think of when you say Sony, instead of lots of "me too" games that are quality titles but do not define what they are as a gaming brand.

Also didn't the PS2 emulation hardware only cost $20 or so? If I recall it wasn't that expensive.

ShyGuyDecember 17, 2008

Is Lindy going to follow Kairon's advice? Inquiring minds want to know!

GoldenPhoenixDecember 17, 2008

Quote from: ShyGuy

Is Lindy going to follow Kairon's advice? Inquiring minds want to know!

Lindy is going to bludgeon all of us to death with his PS3.

MarioDecember 17, 2008

Thank you Kairon, your advice has been a good help to all PS3 fans. Both of them.

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