Europeans Reject the PS3 Due to High Price
Although the media characterized PS3âs launch in Europe as âcontroversialâ, regular gaming fans all over the continent reported that in their countries Sonyâs console stalls on storesâ shelves.
Desperate to get good press after a series of disasters (both concerning the PR and the manufacturing circuit), Sony readied at least 1 million consoles for the European debut of its next-gen gaming console, in order to stop any type of criticism that might appear.
Sony's senior PR manager for Europe, Jonathan Fargher, made the best resume for this kind of situation, in an interview with GameSpot UK: âWe're almost in a lose-lose situation--if we sell out on day one, then people will ask why we couldn't possibly have met demand, and that we should have been aware of the high demand for the machine. But if we don't sell out on day one because we've put steps in place to make sure that there's a steady stream of stock into retail, there's a large number of units on day one, then people will question why we haven't sold out.â
That is of course true and perfectly logical. But despite Phil Harrisonâs attempt to make the PS3 more attractive ("There are benefits for European consumers. There are more games available, more Blu-ray movies, and we've updated the online PlayStation network."
) Euro-gamers treated the launch with more indifference than anywhere else in the world.
And although official reports from Sony are not yet available concerning the success or failure of PS3, a few sites here in Europe have already posted the genuine reports coming from regular fans, which are not favorable to Sony.
In Sweden for example, a report shows that most of the retailers are âfully equippedâ
with PS3s, a similar situation occurring in Britain and Denmark, but also suggests that until now few are interesting in buying one. Most of them look for a Wii.
Replies to the article further confirm that Euro-skepticism is now a concept that can be applied to PS3 too. Apparently, in Germany the PlayStation 3 has not been met with enthusiasm, while in Spain everyone wants a Wii, not a PS3.
What is probably even more interesting is that in Finland PS3âs launch party was apparently obnubilated spiced up with a pornographic showâ¦
But the most âfamousâ
failed debut by far was in the French territory, where 95% of the consoles available at launch site remained unsold. Although Sony officials were expecting at least 3000 persons- and for that had mobilized 40 police officers- only 50 true-blue fans showed up. The co-organizers of the Paris event called itâ¦a ânon-eventâ.
The UK launch (meaning the March 23 event) was probably the most successful on the continent, which is a paradox considering that the British get the console for the highest price (GBP 425). Sony thought at âsweeteningâ the offer by giving away 100 HD TVs to the first 100 buyers.
Sony said it was the biggest console launch ever seen in Britain, with 220,000 machines distributed around the country in preparation for high demand from shoppers.
Despite the efforts, some fans were just not satisfied. One British fan said on GameSpot that: âAs a hardcore gamer I've not missed a console launch since I got an Atari 2600 as an Xmas present in 1978, but I'd not pay Â£425 for a games console, I'm the demographic that Sony is aiming for, buys loads of games has money to burn. But at that price its not worth it. [â¦] I'm lucky that I get to go on Business to Japan once in a while (I work for Honda), so I bought my PS3 for Â£260 in Tokyo 3 months ago, So how come the PS3 is Â£260 in Japan and Â£425 in Europe, Japanese wages are higher than European wages, Shipping donât cost Â£165 a time. We are ripped off in Europe all the time and we let them do it.
I paid Â£179 for my Wii, its Â£120 in Japan ,the 360 is Â£280 in the UK and around Â£220 in the US, so thatâs about a Â£60 difference both times, ok I can live with that, but a Â£165 difference, do Sony think Europeans are stupid?â
However, outside Virgin Megastore on Londonâs Oxford Street there was only one person- 17-year-old Rihatsu Thomas- to stand in line to get his PS3: âI thought there would be more people here,â he said. âI hope some more people come soon.â
PS3 PAL launch - a flop or not?
There has been a lot of talk about the Sony Playstation 3 launch. Much of the focus has been on the especially embarrassing Australian launch, where reportedly the press outnumbered the fans. But really, should Sony be concerned?
Do we have midnight launches for new Blu-ray disc players? Is there supposed to be a party with radio personalities when a new media center hits the market? No, then why did we expect much more from the Sony launch of their new entertainment hub?
Many web sites, including the respected game bloggers at Kotaku, gave tongue in cheek reports of the Friday midnight PAL launch of the PS3, the lack of people turning up to the flagship launch was indeed embarrassing for Sony, this was to be the hype starter for a media bombardment foisting new technology into the hearts and wallets of a new gaming generation.
In the UK the PS3 launch was met with trepidation amongst authorities, with police banning the midnight openings at some retailers, and Sony giving away 46" HD TVs in oxford street to surprisingly sparse crowds.
It would seem the launch has flopped, as my collegue Stan points out, in this country other than the initial pre-orders, sales of the PS3 are a fizzer. In fact a quick ring around of retailers in the busy Melbourne CBD today indicated no shortage of stock, and sales people ready to deal. A flop? Or good stock planning on behalf of Sony?
Even Microsoft has taken the opportunity to put a few barbs in with Neil Thompson, Microsofts Regional director for UK and Irleand recently quoted; "In the technology and gaming there's really little in the PS3 where I can say, 'Gosh, I wish we had that'," Thompson said "The biggest threat that Sony has for us is the brand that's been established around it." Microsoft are feeling so calm about the situation, that no price cut is evident for the Xbox 360 in the short to medium term, Although the new Black Xbox 360 on the horizon will boost appeal as well.
It is not all doom and gloom however for Sony, our neighbors in New Zealand seem to have gone PS3 nuts, if this report from The New Zealand Herald is any indication.
Part of the article goes on to compare the PS3 launch frenzy with that of the Nintendo Wii phenomon; Dick Smith merchandise manager James Cunnold said advance sales of PS3 had exceeded that of its predecessors, PlayStation 1 and 2, and rival console Xbox 360."Pre-orders are five times that of Nintendo Wii. Our expectation is that this is going to be our biggest gaming launch."
Mr Cunnold said many buyers were opting for the company's bundle deal, which gives an extra controller, two games and 18 months interest-free for NZ$1495.
My 2 cents worth; As I, and many here at iTWire have said. Sony has changed its target demographic with this console release. Perhaps it would have been wise to avoid the whole "midnight launch" idea in the first place. Launched the console as a media hub and accepted that niche.
Let all the Blu-ray early adopters get in on the act and then target the gamers at a later stage, when the game line up is more varied, critically acclaimed and able to show the true power of the PS3, and perhaps with an associated price drop.
In the long run, Sony will shift units, the PS3 will thrive and be part of the technological landscape for a long time to come. Once more, Sony exec's will need to weather the PR storm, derision from competitors and slow but steady sales of the third iteration of one of the most enduring icons of gaming culture.