PS3 Still for “Early Adopters”

By Shamus
on Jan 16, 2009
Filed under:
Video Games

Via Kotaku, we have a quote from John Koller of Sony:

The PSP, from a handheld perspective, it’s more of a 13-17 year old [demographic], multi-ethnic, a bit lower-income as well. The PS3 is still in its early adopter phase, tech-oriented consumer… they’re interested in the multi-functionality of the system.

SONY: Everything is fine.  We’re sure the market is going to abruptly change any minute now to something which is more favorable to us, without us having to do anything.
SONY: Everything is fine. We’re sure the market is going to abruptly change any minute now to something which is more favorable to us, without us having to do anything.
The console is two years old, and Sony is making the excuse that it’s in the “early adopter” phase to explain why sales are so low. Two years into the lifespan of a console system is not “early”, as measured by any lucid party. This excuse is madness, but only if you view the PS3 as a console gaming system. If you view the PS3 as a blu-ray player, it makes a lot of sense, because video formats change more gradually, and we are still in the early-adopter phase of blu-ray.

Which is how I think Sony has viewed this all along. Their real goal was to win the format wars, since controlling the format of video content for the next decade is worth far more than having a respectable share of the console market for the next six years. They put the blu-ray player in the PS3, thus driving the price through the roof. Thus less were sold. Thus less developers wanted to make exclusives. Thus the main selling point of the PS3 – its super-powered processing abilities – went to waste, since only exclusives are going to be engineered to actually take advantage of all that extra power. Thus the system was even less appealing to people who just wanted a system for playing games, continuing a dreadful negative feedback loop.

But for Sony it’s still a win, because blu-ray won, and it won early. I’m not saying that having the blu-ray built into the PS3 is what won the format wars, I’m saying that Sony couldn’t afford to leave it out.

It makes business sense, although now that they’ve won the HD format war their behavior in regards to the PS3 has been slothful and unfocused. Their plan seems to be to announce that everything is fine on a regular basis, without really doing anything to close the gap with either of the other two consoles. I’d like to see them offer something to rival Xbox Live, gamertags, or the achievement system. (I know they have the trophy system, but it doesn’t look to be tied to anything like an account or gamer profile which can be shared. Without a gamertag, you have to just tell people you beat Explodious 3 on super double-hard. The system tracks your accomplishments, but it doesn’t give you a way to share them, which is what makes the system social and perhaps even viral.)

The thing is getting marginally cheaper to produce, which is nice, but even if they cut the price to Xbox 360 levels (which is extremely unlikely) they still don’t have a way to woo potential customers who are shopping for a console gaming system, or who might already own one of the others.

I am still a huge fan of the PS2, and it’s still my favorite of the previous generation. But a large part of the appeal of that system is the vast library of quality titles. The PS3 can’t ride the coattails of its predecessor because they dropped most of the backwards compatibility. And it can’t hope to build a library of its own if it’s sitting in distant third place. The tale of the dusty, underused PS3 is a common one.

Dear Sony: The current realities of the market are working against you. You will need to do something if you want this to change.

Topic for discussion: If you own more than one gaming platform (PC, Gamecube, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, etc) which one gets the most use?

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  1. Sauron says:

    I won’t really count my house since our console purchasing there is a strict Nintendo progression so far, I’ll count my college dorm suite which, with eight people, can count as a large family.
    1) Our PCs
    2) Wii #1
    3) Wii #2
    4) PS2
    5) Xbox #1
    6) N64
    7) Wii #3
    8) Xbox #2-4 (they’re borken)

    Okay, so we have a lot of overlap do to it being a bunch of people with separate purchasing habits combining their power….

  2. Relayer71 says:

    I only just got into PS2 gaming exactly 13 months ago (Christmas 2007) after supporting the Gamecube and Dreamcast before that (I have a 1-system-at-a-time rule, 2 if you count handhelds and between those and PC gaming not enough time to support more systems).

    Funny thing is I was considering a PS3 so I can get PS2 backward compatibility and play both but Sony had to go and take it ouf of the newer systems. On top of that there weren’t really any PS3 games I really wanted to play and the price wasn’t helping either so I got a PS2.

    Couldn’t be happier, I’m having a blast catching up with all the PS2 games I missed. With the HUMONGOUS library available not to mention games that have come out the last few months (Persona 4 ROCKS, and Yakuza 2 is highly entertaining with a very good story and excellent script/voice acting) I’ll be busy for at least the next 2 years with the backlog of RPGs I’ve still to play.

    If you look at PS2 sales for 2008/2007 you can see it helped Sony in light of PS3 sales (PSP helped as well) so it’s a good thing they’re still supporting it – although I think 2008 was probably it’s last big year (not much good down the pipeline for this year).

    As for the PS3, if the price comes down I will definitely get one. But I may break even sooner when Resident Evil 5 and Final Fantasy XIII come out, two of my all time favorite series.

    Sony should have concentrated on what really matters to a gamer: GAMES…and left out Blu-Ray. It would have ensured a more affordable price from the beginning and probably wouldn’t have given Microsoft the 1 year head start they had with the 360.

  3. Relayer71 says:

    Oh, guess my list would read:

    1) PC (many hours of Warhammer Online the last few months!)
    2) PS2 (picked up 12 games the last month alone)
    3) DS (gets play every lunch hour at work)
    4) Gamecube (have a few unfinished games I pop in once in a
    while)

  4. Kameron says:

    As a gaming platform, the Wii gets the most use. The PC gets more overall use, as I watch most of my TV shows via the Internet, take occasional advantage of Netflix “Play Now”, the general family surfing and my writing.

  5. Kiwipolish says:

    It’s probably the Xbox 360, but we use the PS2 a lot around here. They could just keep releasing PS2 games and we’d probably keep buying them. That certainly seems to be Atlus’ strategy.

  6. Chops-Frozen-Water says:

    To answer the question, I play almost exclusively on my Mac (WoW and Civ IV).

    On the Blu-Ray aspect of the PS3… when it first came out, it was the cheapest Blu-Ray player. Now, even Sony itself sells Blu-Ray players that are cheaper than the PS3, which makes the “early adopter” argument seem like a really, really weak excuse.

  7. Zukhramm says:

    Playing World of Warcraft daily, my computer sees the most use. Between the consoles it’s more equal. I’ve got the most unfinished games and the most replayable games on the PS2, so that one ends up second. Betwwen the GameCube and the DS it’s even harder, but the DS requires less effort to start.

    I feel a bit sorry for the GameCube, ending up last. I really like it. But well, someone’s got to be the least used.

  8. WanderingGrapefruit says:

    Well, I’ve been a Nintendo devotee for pretty much forever but now I finally broke free and bought a PS3. The lack of proper backwards compatibility is a pain but I wanted in on the games that only get made for the PS3 and Xbox360. While the PS3 is expensive and doesn’t have as many exclusives, the exclusives it has appeal to me more, like Valkyria Chronicles.

    So yeah, at the moment
    1) PS3
    2) DS
    3) Wii
    4) GBA, Gamecube, N64 don’t get any use anymore.

  9. B.J. says:

    Whenever someone tells me they have a PS3 and I ask them what games they have for it, they usually shrug and say “Well at least it plays blu-ray” like some kind of consolation prize. Err, does that sound like the hallmarks of a successful console to anyone? When I ask people about their 360 or their Wii its all about the games. It’s really strange to me because it seems that Sony didn’t learn from their own success; for two generations they had the low-price, low-tech console and won big time.

  10. nilus says:

    I got a 360, A PS2 and a Wii and I think the PS2 and Wii are tied for dust collection. Wii get busted out at a party and even thats rare now since I have Rock Band 2 on 360. PS2 gets busted out when I feel nostalgic. My 360 is nearly constantly in use though, between games and netflix streaming it almost always on lately

  11. Jansolo says:

    Discussion: the gaming platforms that I use (in order) [my wife hates gaming. We have no children by the moment]:

    1.- PC
    2.- PSP
    3.- PS2
    4.- DS

    I have no more platforms. I’m expecting Final Fantasy XIII in order to buy a PS3 or an XBox 360.

    Meanwhile, I play Bioshock, Mass Effect, Fallout 3 in the best platform ever: the PC.

    I travel a lot, so I use a portable platform: PSP.

    I have a lot of great games for PS2 (Final Fantasy from VI to XII and more) and I still have games to play.

    The DS was a present for my wife. It was almost a failure: she doesn’t use it and I play from time to time (you know: Final Fantasy IV)

  12. arclight says:

    I stayed away from owning a console for many years but finally broke down and bought a PS3 last summer. I bought it because of its excellent specs – it’s a very, very powerful machine and it makes not only for a great gaming experience but also a media center and, of course, Blu-Ray player.

    The problem, however, is that I don’t really know many people who have one, so it’s hard to get a network game together ahead of time. On the other hand, it seems like everyone I know has an Xbox 360, and I do have to say that I’m jealous of their online gaming. In fact, I now do most of my online gaming on the PC in the form of MMOs.

    Unless I feel like playing Rock Band (which I do frequently), I use the PC more than my PS3.

  13. Blockenstein says:

    PC, Wii, PS1, Dreamcast, and SNES. I’d call it a toss-up between the PC and the Wii. I certainly play the PC more, but my roommate’s daughter puts so much time into the Wii, it’s frightening.

  14. SteveDJ says:

    I thought I had heard that the Xbox 360 had an HD-DVD player in it. Is that wrong? Or is it something that requires an upgrade?

    If 360 has HD-DVD, then I don’t buy the argument that Blu-Ray won because it was in the PS3; in fact, HD-DVD should have won instead.

    Re topic: We just have Nintendo systems (plus PC, but that doesn’t count): GBA, DS, GameCube, and Wii. Primarily used by the kids, I would put Wii on the top, followed by DS.

  15. SimeSublime says:

    Out of my PC, Wii, Gamecube, PSX and Sega Master System 2; the PC gets by far the most use. Since my housemate and I beat Twilight Princess, the Wii is hardly touched. The older consoles are in draws and seem to be here more because I can’t bare to throw them away.

  16. guy says:

    The PC gets the most use by far.

    Also, the master’s psionic powers have earned my anger tonight.

    And his hidden minigun.

  17. Dix says:

    My Mac gets the most use, but I use it to play online text-based roleplay games largely of my own (or my friends’) design – and to that degree it’s basically a social internet machine, not a gaming machine. Downloaded WoW today so we’ll see if that changes.

    Of the consoles in my possession – PS1, PS2, PS3, Gamecube, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, SNES, NES, and Sega Genesis (no, I never throw anything away, I just box it lovingly with its components and pieces and store it under a careful label in the garage, why?)* the DS gets the most use hands down. By at least a 100% margin.

    The reason is simple: it’s handheld. Therefore it can go with me (hello, long boring wait in doctor’s office). It doesn’t use the TV, so my SO can sit and watch Jeopardy! and I can still play a game. It charges like a laptop and holds a charge for a long time (like a non-crappy laptop) so I am not constantly fussing with batteries (like I did with the now-dusty Gameboy Advance).

    After that the PS3 gets the most use, because we went to the trouble to acquire one of the ones with hardware backward compatibility. It spends most of its time running PS2 (or even PS1) games, excepting Rock Band (PS3).

    * I have that little Playstation gadget too (imported) for minigames downloaded from some PSX games, but I don’t think it really ever qualified as a console.

  18. Nathan says:

    Top console: PS2, mostly due to a mix of my huge backlog of old, great games (including PS1 games), and Persona 3, Persona 3 FES, and now Persona 4. I still have another new PS2 game on the way, too.

    Second: Wii, especially due to the Virtual Console. There are a number of great games on this system, and many more are coming out in the next year.

    Tied for Second: DS. So many good DS games… GBA backwards compatibility is great too.

    Fourth: Xbox360. I just got this one. I am still sorting out the bugs, and most of its features don’t really appeal to me. I am not a big internet multiplayer or social gamer type, and it is a total failure for not having an in-built wireless internet capability (the $100 pricetag on the adapter is pretty bad, too). It has a few good games, though. Only time will tell if I keep using it a lot or not.

    Fifth: PC/Mac gaming. I only really play the Civilization series and Warcraft/Starcraft on a computer, and even then I haven’t touched one of those in quite some time. I just don’t like the PC gaming experience at all.

    I don’t have a PSP or a PS3. I am leaning towards getting a PSP sooner or later, but I will wait until White Knight Chronicle is out before I even consider getting a PS3. I would list the Gamecube, but it is obsolete thanks to the Wii, so I will include that with the Wii spot. Same for the PS1.

  19. Scourge says:

    My own personal top reason to why I didn’t buy the PS3 is that I need to INSTALL the games if I want to play them, and 60/80 GB HD’s are still not big enough for all the stuff I got as I can see on my PC.

    I already got a PC for that, I much rather put them simply in and play, just like you did with the PS1, PS2, Xbox and the other stuff.

  20. Ravens_cry says:

    1.PC
    2.Sega Genesis
    3.Game Boy Original
    I am a vicarious gamer.

  21. kelvingreen says:

    The Wii gets most play of late, but that’s because we just got into Mario Kart and Pro Evo, but the PS2 still gets a lot of use, and will continue to do so, as we’ve still got a number of great games to play through.

    I have no interest at all in getting a Firebomb360, and the PS3 has unimpressed. I’ll stick with my “underpowered” hardware for a bit longer, I think.

  22. Narkis says:

    1) PC
    2) Wii
    3) Nintendo 64

    Remarkably, almost none of those is due to me. PC’s first because my father plays WoW, Wii’s second due to my mother and sisters, and I mostly play Nintendo 64 for old time’s sake. Damned exams.

  23. StingRay says:

    In responding to this, I’ve written enough that I should probably make it a blog post, rather than dump a ridiculously long comment on your post. As such, I’ll just respond to the discussion question.

    At the moment, my DS is seeing the most amount of play. With Professor Layton and Zelda on hand, and Age of Empires: Mythology and Chrono Trigger soon to be purchased, I’ve got a lot of gaming goodness coming from the little machine.

    The 360 is second, though that’s largely because it’s the new kid on the entertainment center. Plus, Left 4 Dead rocks.

    The Wii and PC are tied for third. I play both very little lately. I don’t feel like rebooting into Windows on my iMac to play games, and the 360’s “new factor” needs to wear off some before I actually take into account which of the two I turn on.

  24. brashieel says:

    When I thought about it, I actually have a ridiculous number of gaming systems. Still, three of them are stuck under the bed with the old anime VHS tapes, so I think I can skip those. To list the ones that get actual play:

    1. PC (the Good Old Games people are to blame)
    2. iPhone
    3. Wii
    4. PS2 (mostly the Final Fantasy games)

    I haven’t bothered with either the PS3 or any version of the XBox because they just don’t appeal to me. PS2 had price and RPGs, Wii has price and great casual gaming titles.

  25. Simplex says:

    PC, Xbox360, PS2, PSP – I have no more systems, though I am considering PS3 because of heavy rain. Why must have they made it a PS3 exclusive? ;/
    I am also considering wii, because you get a free gamecube with it ;)

  26. Ted says:

    Wii and PC: I use the PC more, but the rest of the family uses the Wii more.

    In response to the penultimate paragraph, a fictional quote from Sony, stolen from Mythbusters:
    “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

  27. Joe henricks says:

    Ok I am a long time pc owner, and my first console ever was the ps3. Now the pc market is at its worst with the drm bull, but thats still not why i bought my ps3. I, like a long list of buyers bought it for blu-ray movies, and wow has it not been a disappointment.

    Now for the many in denial blu-ray doesn’t blow dvd’s out of the water with a nuke, the only other excuse I’ll provide is that you might be mostly blind. I decided to upgrade my joy of joys my home theater system.

    I started with the ps3 and I could see some slight difference even with my 480p 80″ projector system however I had already intended on a full upgrade to the system so it was only about a month before I purchased my full 1080p hd projector to go with it.

    Now before someone says “oh well apparently you have more money then you know what to do with.” My total investment in this project will be about 1300$, ps3 and projector included.

    The difference is undeniable, I already hate watching dvd’s its like video cassettes vs dvd’s all over again. I can see the hairs on peoples arms for goodness sakes. I don’t regret my investment in the slightest with an 80″ screen, definition is key.

    So don’t even try for the “oh there’s no difference” its more than twice the resolution. There is a very noticeable difference even for the old, young, and whatever. If your tv is more then 5″ you get to see details that you don’t get to see on lower res.

    Now, yeah the ps3 kinda sucks for games but for 250 bucks new its a great deal and I’ll wait for the solution, because it looks to me like sony is slowly working it out. I’ll use my ps3 for now, since buying an xbox is like activating the self destruct button and waiting for the countdown to finish.

  28. Eric says:

    Totally agree with you Joe. This year’s lineup for the ps3 looks really sweet.

    @steve dj: The hd-dvd drive for the xbox 360, was a separate attachment that you plugged into your 360, it ran for 100-150$. Microsoft likes to milk it’s customers for everything.

  29. Miral says:

    1. PC
    2. PS2
    3. Wii (A long long way down. Not because it’s not fun, but because I don’t have many games for it, because they’re far too expensive and aren’t dropping in price.)

    This is overall, anyway. The PS2 is probably getting the most usage right now, since I’m currently in the middle of Persona 3 FES. (My original PS2 actually died a week ago. I immediately bought another one — partly because I’m in the middle of Persona 3 FES.)

    I’m still sitting on the fence regarding Xbox 360 vs. PS3. At the moment, there’s nothing terribly exciting that’s PS3 exclusive; there are a few 360 exclusive titles that look interesting, but I’m hoping they’ll eventually make their way to PC.

  30. Andrew says:

    I currently have PC, Wii, PS3, PS2, PSP

    Probably the Wii gets the most use, because of the interactivity – my Fiance who is rabidly against video games – is loving to play the Legend of Zelda (Twilight Princess), and Mario Cart. The PS3 gets used predominately for Blue Ray Movies these days. The PS2 is gathering dust. The PSP gets used for travelling. I had an Xbox 360 – but sold it very shortly after I picked it up. Just got bored with it – and did not want to go through a RROD.

  31. ryanlb says:

    I have a PC, a SNES, and an XBox 360.
    I’ve had the PC far longer than the consoles, so it has had the most overall use, but the 360 is the new gaming device, so it’s getting the most current use. As long as I can buy original XBox games or older 360 games for cheap (or steal them from neighbors, coworkers and in-laws) it’ll get more use than the PC, since I’ve played most of the older games I’m interested in, and I’d need to upgrade it before I can play any of the newer PC games, and I don’t want to have to worry about DRM and such crap.

  32. Ranneko says:

    My List would be:
    1. PC by far
    2. Xbox 360
    3. DS
    4. iPod
    5. MacBook Pro laptop
    6. Wii

    My PC is used by far the most often, I launch everything through Steam and have about 100 games on Steam anyway, the only problem here is choice paralysis. I play mostly TF2 and L4D as my multiplayer games of choice.

    The Xbox 360 was bought in December during the Christmas sales, which made it nice and cheap at $500 for the system and 3 games, my ISP announced that the markeplace content would be unmetered and it finally succeeded in the games test. Which was when I was walking through a games store I could find 3 games that I was interested in playing that wouldn’t just be coming out on PC.

    The DS would be giving the 360 a little more of a run for its money but at the moment I am reading on the bus, and transit time is either book or DS time, not both.

    The iPod is used every now and then, typically whilst in the bathroom. Vortex and Peggle. Though I have only the hardest challenge left in Peggle.

    I use the MacBook Pro occasionally for a OS X only game, and every now and then reboot into Vista (which has been a mre stable OS thus far than OS X) for PC gaming. Especially when I head to LANs.

    The Wii gathers dust. I didn’t even unpack it after I took it to a friend’s place for a party. This is pretty much the only use it gets. It does not help that I imported my Wii from the US, and the dollar has gone to shit, so I’d be paying about as much for games importing as I would buying them here.

    Ironically before my previous PC died in about May of 07, I was doing almost all of my gaming on the Wii, as my PC was generations old last being refreshed sometime during 2003/early 2004, on a student budget. I then bought an entirely new PC with a ridiculously high budget, because I could, I was 3 months into full time work and thus had a lot of disposable income. After that I installed HL2 and never really looked back. Even though my consoles were plugged into the same monitor as the PC, I just tend not to think about the consoles when deciding to game.

  33. Derek K. says:

    Spectacular. It gets better than this.

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/hirai-were-the-official-industry-leader

    My personal favorite quotes:

    “This is not meant in terms of numbers, or who’s got the biggest install base, or who’s selling most in any particular week or month, but I’d like to think that we continue official leadership in this industry,” Hirai told Official PlayStation Magazine.

    So, leadership is not defined by being the best in any way. It’s … just saying you are?

    “We don’t provide the ‘easy to program for’ console that [developers] want, because ‘easy to program for’ means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?” explained Hirai.

    Nice.

    So, there, in black and white, is the statement. “We don’t expect anyone to make games that get better – all we have is making them prettier. Did we tell you about spectral flimflamory vertexes?”

  34. Felblood says:

    Screw HD and Blu-Ray, first of all. Screw them in the eye with a pitchfork.

    I don’t need HD, and I don’t want HD, and when the American broadcast networks switch to HD, I’m going to do all my television watching through DVDs. –not that I watch TV much.

    I refuse to buy into this lobbyist powered enforced consumerism. –and I refuse to buy a PS3 that doesn’t play PS2 games.

    They are selling off the selling point I was most interested in, in order to lower the price by a tiny fraction. Now that HD-DVD is dead, sell a version with no Blu-Ray or something, but don’t throw out the PS2 library. It’s all you’ve got, now that MGS4 has failed to save the console.

    Now that I’ve got that out of the way:

    I favor PC over PS1 or Gamecube, but a lot of the PC usage is for emulating a Sega CD and a Gameboy Advance, whne I’m not doing something on the network with my friends.

    The Gamecube would probably see more use if my couch was at a more comfortable angle to the TV.

    Oh, and I use my PSP hen I’m away from home, now that the buttons on both my GBAs are worn beyond use.

  35. rayen says:

    okay i own PS2, Wii, and a PC, Wii is completely backwards compatible (provided you keep memory cards and controllers) so my gamecube is sold (excluding memory cards and controllers) PC probably gets the most use because i can listen to history channel or CSI or Natgeo or let the kids watch something while i play which is nice. Also i have the fantasically under-rated (and DRM free) Alpha Centauri game on it.

  36. Nathan Abrahams says:

    Finding out that the PS3 had dropped all pretense at backwards compatibility was a huge blow against it in my circle of gamers, since most of us had more than a few excellent PS1 or PS2 titles that we really didn’t want to give up. Give up Armored Core and its brethren for a Blu-ray player? Not likely.

  37. Gilf says:

    I’ve got a PS2, PSX (or 1, depending on who you ask), Xbox 360, PC, Dreamcast, N64, Gamecube… well, that’s about it. The PS2 has been seeing the most use recently, thanks to Persona 4, but before that it was definitely the Xbox. My family are all nuts for the Fallout and Bioware games, so even with my time on the computer, the Xbox still won out simply because there was always -someone- playing it. Alas, we only have one tv, so while Persona is going strong, Microsoft’s little funbox gets to sit in the corner.

  38. Dreadjaws says:

    As usual, Shamus, you were right. The PS3 managed to rise by doing exactly what you said they should have done.

    Now the new gen… that’s another story.

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