Friday, September 08, 2006
In December 2004, I talked how the DS would be competing with the PSP. At that time, both systems had just launched (well, DS launched both in the US and Japan while PSP launched in Japan only) and no one knew how things would turn out for Nintendo. Actually, most people praised Sony for introducing Playstation Portable.... it's kick-ass graphics, a widescreened device that can play movies, music and games!!!!!! And let's see what Nintendo has to offer.... it's.... an ugly, chunky.. system that has 2 screens, a microphone.... and a stylus to work with the touchscreen.. It didn't make a lot of sense to me, it didn't make sense to a lot of people. (At that time, I really did think the DS was ugly, just bad physical design, but I didn't doubt it's abilities and I didn't think that Nintendo was going in the wrong direction.... i did NOT..) At that time, Nintendo kept talking about how games were too complex, and how graphics don't matter. Of course no one would understand, those who actually cared to listen were all hardcore gamers or semi-harcore gamers who don't know how games could possibly be played 'differently'.
Everyone thought that it was really the end for Nintendo. History is repeating itself, history as in N64 vs Playstation 1: Playstation 1 could push more powerful graphics than the N64, it's CD-based media could hold more data for things like in-game videos, it worked as a multimedia device since it could play music CDs. The same applied to PSP compared to the DS.
Things seemed very good for Sony. You could even tell by the launches for each system. There were massive lineups for the PSP in Winter 2004 in Japan and Spring 2005 in the US. It was hard for you to find a PSP since they were all sold out everywhere. Most people got PSPs by pre-ordering. What about the DS? There wasn't much hype at launch.. it sold well since it's one selling point really pushed sales: backwards compatability with GBA games. Launch games weren't the greatest and even with those games, people couldn't fully understand what the fuss is about with the DS. It sold well but you could still walk up to a store without lining up and just buy a DS.
Every gamer you asked said that PSP was going to kick-ass and the DS was just a toy made by Nintendo, whose products are kiddy and 'gimmicky'. Playstation fanboys all bought PSPs and avoided DSs, like Nintendo just to 'kiddy' for them (and some still foolishly do that today).
However, shortly after launch, around mid 2005, it became clear: Nintendo DS was doing well, and the Sony PSP was not. Nintendo had previously stated that, they will rise to heaven if DS works out or they will sink to hell if it doesn't. So true is that statement, because Nintendo was selling LOTS of DSs, and the games were actually fun. So where and how did things go wrong with Sony? Of course, it's not just the fact that Nintendo's doing too good, the PSP has many many turnoffs.. too many: super LONG loading times before you can actually get into gameplay, short battery life, a portable system that's not durable (quite the oxymoron), an analog stick that just doesn't work good, expensive UMD movies that aren't selling, and most importantly - disapointing games. I must say that things look really grim for PSP.. how can you compete with the DS? Especially now that DSlites alone (not counting DS phat) is out and it's outselling PSPs 10:1 in Japan?
Today is Friday, September 8, 2006. Yesterday, Sony announced that they'll have to postpone the launch of the PS3 in Europe until March 2007. I remember back in 2005, there was a lot of talk about the PS3, how it's coming very soon and it's going to be a million times better than the PS2, just because it's PLAYSTATION 3!!!!! but it might not come out til 2007... A lot of people were confused.. how can they wait so long, 2 years..... when we're already talking about it being released really soon? Nah, there's no way it'll take that long to come out. Well now, Sony has made it so, which just shows how much power they have to truly disappoint. Sony initially said that PS3 would launch in Spring 2006. Anyone who truly knows Sony and the video game industry would know that that's impossible and that Sony's saying Spring 2006 just to make gamers wait a 'few' months and to keep them from buying an XBOX360 which launched in late 2005.
In E3 2006, when Sony made the pricing details for PS3 public, gamers were NOT happy... $499 USD and $549 CAD for the BASIC pack?? Many noted that with $499 USD, you could buy a $299 USD XBOX 360 Core Pack + a $199 USD Wii (Assuming that the Wii will sell for less than $199 at launch.. historically, Nintendo has never priced their launch consoles at more than $199). A few weeks ago, Sony announced the slogan for Playstation 3: "This is living".... now THAT is something I don't understand.. are you trying to say that I'm not living if I don't buy a PS3?
In my opinion, Sony, being the arrogant tech (not gaming) company that they are, are going to face a financial disaster within the coming months by taking this huge risk. They've already invested billions in R&D into blu-ray and the Cell processor. Not many people are going to be able to afford a PS3 and most people will not buy into the High Definition movies hype. They haven't even launched PS3 yet and the ONLY news that comes from Sony is bad press [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12*].
*People (especially, ESPECIALLY Europeans at the moment) are super pissed at Sony, so pissed, that they created a website to show how they really feel about the European postponement: http://www.thisiswaiting.com/). Compared to Nintendo? They've been getting only GOOD press lately: [1 2 3]
So what's going to happen when the Wii launches? Will history repeat itself? History as in Nintendo DS vs Sony PSP..... Wii'll see... yes Wii shall.
"And now you say, you want a Revolution. Well, we've got one!" ~Satoru Iwata, E3 2005