Forums - Sony Discussion - The first half of the PlayStation 3 was too "Hardcore"

The Seventh Generation was a very important one in the gaming industry. It was the period where the medium and its audience were growing larger, and the consoles were being made more appealing to people who weren't into games before. On one end, you had Nintendo and the Wii, who had a special focus on targeting people who never played video games before thanks to simple, yet fun games like Wii Sports. Then there was Microsoft's Xbox 360 in the middle, the solid all-round platform that was the home to the biggest "Core" games that gen, but also friendly enough for casual gamers to jump in as well. And for the first few years, Sony and the PlayStation 3 were at the very opposite end of the Spectrum. A $600 beast of a console filled with niche games, convoluted technology, and a focus on being some omnipresent media center instead of a games console.

We can joke about the price and Cell, and Sony's PR for the system all we want. But IMO, the main problem with the first few years of the PS3 was that Sony kind of missed the point, and was too detached from what the industry's future actually was. It's not about how much power and technology you can cram into a games console, if it's not fun or easy to use. The PS3 was a notorious bitch to develop games on, was overpriced for the casual gamer, and most of its early games didn't have the same broad appeal that the Wii or 360 did. This resulted in sluggish sales, lukewarm third party support, and millions in financial losses for the entire Sony Corporation.

What's even worse, was that the early days of the PS3 were very much the complete opposite of what the PlayStation brand was built on. PlayStation, as much as some fans don't want to admit, was never a "Hardcore serious gamers" brand at all. The original PlayStation was designed to appeal to a wider audience than Sega or Nintendo consoles. Sony used the CD format, simple yet cutting-edge 3D hardware, and more relaxed license fees to do this. This allowed developers to create new types of games and experiences that reached consumers, who would've otherwise, never bothered with video games. The PlayStation 2 built on this using DVD as its format, making it many people's very first DVD player, while still being a gaming machine first and foremost. Even the PSP attracted a hip, young audience with its multi-media capabilities. But the PS3 was simply trying too hard to be this high-tech gadget that only hardcore fans could afford, and none of that technology was even properly used for most of its first half.

Fortunately, Sony realized this was a problem, and by 2009 the PS3 was given a much needed facelift. A massive price cut, new smaller model, new logo that ditches the pretentious Spider-Man font, in favor of a more rounded logo reminiscent of the PS2 and PSP, and a new marketing campaign featuring the fictional Kevin Butler helped give the PS3 a much friendlier face, and more importantly, some real momentum to compete with the Xbox 360. By 2010, the PS3 was practically a completely different console than when it launched, bringing back some of that original PlayStation magic with games that had broader appeal, and some much needed improvements to features and UI. Plus, the introduction of PlayStation Move, Sony's foray into full motion control gaming, which up to that point, Nintendo had to themselves.

This all set the stage for the development and launch, of the PlayStation 4, a console that essentially, returns to the original vision of PlayStation. An Interactive entertainment brand aimed at everyone, casual, hardcore, kids, adults, and everyone in between. I mean, the first game Sony announced for it, was a cartoony Platformer called Knack, LOL. This all came as Nintendo and Microsoft were spiraling out of control with the cluttered and confusing messes that were with the Wii U and Xbox One. In 2013, PlayStation was back on top. And the PS4 was the result of Sony ditching their pretentious ego and those silly "Casual" and "Hardcore" labels, and just made a console that would appeal to consumers.


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Totally agree. Word for word.