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Erik rants. Today: "The PS3 is not the N64!"

Forums - Sales Discussion - Erik rants. Today: "The PS3 is not the N64!"

In this thread, I’m going to rant. Today, I’m going to rant about why… The PS3 is not the N64! One thing I see people say—both Ninty zealots and neutral observers—is that the PS3 is Sony’s N64. Um… I have to disagree… But maybe not for the reasons you think… Sony today and Ninty 10 years ago may have gotten themselves into similar situations. But they did not get to this point in the same way. In fact, it was basically the exact opposite. Nintendo was focusing on out-dated technology—tradition—Sony is focusing on pushing the envelope. The N64 was cheap, and PS3 is expensive. N64 was a “games only” machine, PS3 is a multi-media beast. N64 was a leader in controller innovation, PS3 is a follower. Basically, the whole theory and ideology behind the two consoles are totally different. But even more than that, here’s the key: Nintendo alienated developers, Sony is alienating customers. You don’t have to look past N64 launch sales, or N64’s top games vs. PS1’s top games, to know that customers were still enamored with Nintendo as the generation started. A $200 console with $50-60 games, which would produce well under 1,000 games during its cycle—no one knew that a better cost:value relationship could exist in the home console market, and there were tens of millions who were fine with it. It was developers, led by Square, who said “good riddance” to Nintendo. Nintendo’s policies towards third parties were atrocious, and were halting the growth of the industry. To developers and publishers looking at their bottom lines, this was as obvious and as angering as the PS3’s sticker price is to the public today. Today, by and large, developers don’t want to see Sony fail. They’ve prospered under the rule of PlayStation. Sony has repeatedly helped up-and-coming devs establish themselves (LittleBigWorld’s and flOw’s devs most recently), and invested heavily in tools for devs (most recently EDGE). The bulk of the perceived hate of Sony from devs is really them hoping for more parity in the home console business, not a Sony collapse. It’s the customers who are pissed at Sony, because the cost:value relationship they’ve come to expect is out the window. The days of buying one console for $300, getting games at $50 (without worrying about micro-transactions afterwards) and having a game library of 2,500 which includes “everything but the Nintendo games and Halo” are over. And your average Sony defender today? They're sold on Blu-Ray, or in other words, the new cost:value relationship works for them. The comparisons which do exist—both companies are arrogant, both are likely to shed a ton of marketshare… They’re surface observations which probably could be made between thousands of products. The scary thing for Sony is… They don’t understand what’s going on. A recent blog post by IGN’s Hilary Goldstein (Hil-IGN)… “Tonight, Sony held a meeting of the minds between some popular bloggers and a half-dozen high fallutin' PlayStation folks. For some reason Sony invited me… We sat at a table of about 20 people…On Sony's side were Phil Harrison and a handful of others who cooled themselves under the shade he provided. Everyone was very nice to each other, even when Harrison and the Sony crew were grilled about the negativity slung constantly at PS3. Unlike most interviews or press briefings, Harrison and crew were fairly candid. Though a few bits of marketing speak slipped into the conversation, Sony more or less conceded they have no idea why people are shitting all over them. It was Dylan Jobe, game director for Warhawk, who turned the tables and asked the bloggers (and me, for some reason) why people were so angry with Sony. /rant ~Erik.



"[Our former customers] are unable to find software which they WANT to play."
"The way to solve this problem lies in how to communicate what kind of games [they CAN play]."

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo President. Only slightly paraphrased.

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One more thing that shows PS3 is not the N64...PS3 will not be the 3rd place console in Japan. However, PS3 is likely to be lower than 2nd place in at least two markets due to its price and timing of launch (North America - 4 million behind 360 and growing, Japan - 1 million behind Wii and growing ). Really, it is well behind in Europe as well, but that is unfair since it has not launched there yet.



People are difficult to govern because they have too much knowledge.

When there are more laws, there are more criminals.

- Lao Tzu

I'm more intrested in what PS3 sales will be in July/Aug. N64 sales for 6 months after it's launch, are finally being topped by Wii. (NA) The N64 *was* the best selling console in it's first 6 months. (NA) The Wii has topped that now. The N64 got creamed in NA, and the world before the end. The PS1 had a horrible launch, becuase it was diffrent, and people had to learn to accept it. It took them over a year. I think the PS3 is alot like the PS1. But as I say. The July/Aug sales are the ones that will determine if the PS3 will surpass the 360 with ease or not, in NA/Europe. After July, the PS3 will have it's fair share of exclusives. If it is still behind the 360 in NA/Europe. It will takes years for it to pass. (and will be a general failure) I expect it to pass 360 sales in march in NA, and europe tho...



PSN ID: Kwaad


I fly this flag in victory!

The PS3 shares a lot of similarities to PS1, with its new disc format and everything...but it's not the same at all...considering before the N64 stuck to cartridges, which most developers didn't like. I don't think too many developers will gripe about the Wii using DVD discs.



LEFT4DEAD411.COM
Bet with disolitude: Left4Dead will have a higher Metacritic rating than Project Origin, 3 months after the second game's release.  (hasn't been 3 months but it looks like I won :-p )

PS1 also had the luxury of being released 1.5 years before the main competition (N64), so it wasn't really a problem for it that it took a while to really catch on.



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I recall perfectly that it was FFVII who sold the PS1. FFVII sold PS1 like crazy in Japan, as soon as people knew it was coming to PS1. That's also when I decided to buy one. The rest is history, with most good RPG going to PS1, and PS2 followed. PS3 would have too, if it wasn't so expensive, especially given Sony's track record with reliability of their consoles.



Erik, I see what you are saying. All of your points are valid. That said, I still think the PS3 is Sony's N64. I make the comparison between the two, but not for the reasons you sited. The N64 was the first Nintendo console not to finish first place in overall market share. The PS3 seems poised to be the first Sony console not to finish in first place. As you've pointed out, the details for the most part do not match up. Nintendo and Sony while both being arrogant and over confident had two diverging philsophies. My constant comparison of the two is more about the likely result of this generation and less about what events that lead to that result. Excellent post though Erik. BTW I to find Sony's bewilderment at the backlash disturbing. You can't fix a problem if you aren't aware that it exists.



In spite of what people believe today, cartridges were not (and have never been) obsolete technology ... The fact is if you could produce a cost-effective flash based (the modern equilivalent to a cartridge) the benefits would far outweigh the problems. The problems with cartridges on the N64 was Nintendo was building a system with the idea of low load times and seamless worlds when the industry was focused on full motion video, and when the N64 was released represented the largest gap capacity/cost between an optical disk (CD) and a memory format (memory cartridge). Trust me, within 2 years we will have flash memory which challenges Blu-Ray for capacity and with in 5 years memory of that size will be inexpensive enough to deliver content on it ...



Erik said: But even more than that, here’s the key: Nintendo alienated developers, Sony is alienating customers.
In retrospect, it's pretty much the exact same thing. Alienate customers, demand shrinks, devs looking to make money see the shrinking market share and go elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, I understand your post completely, but you're not comparing apples to oranges, you're comparing Granny Smith Apples to Golden Delicious Apples.
Kwaad said: I'm more intrested in what PS3 sales will be in July/Aug.
Just like how you were interested to see sales in March? As much as you want to see some solid PS3 sales Kwaad, pushing back the date to actually FIND them won't matter until holiday season, and even then their sales will be overshadowed by the 360 and Wii.



TheSource said: One more thing that shows PS3 is not the N64...PS3 will not be the 3rd place console in Japan. However, PS3 is likely to be lower than 2nd place in at least two markets due to its price and timing of launch (North America - 4 million behind 360 and growing, Japan - 1 million behind Wii and growing ). Really, it is well behind in Europe as well, but that is unfair since it has not launched there yet.
But do you REALLY believe the X360 will beat the PS3 in Europe ?