Sony needs a Wii

Both Sony and Nintendo have announced the price of their forthcoming games consoles: the PS3 will be a “Holy crap! You’re kidding!” £425, while the Wii will cost $249 in the US (so I’d assume well under £200 over here). Meanwhile Xbox 360s are currently selling at £279 for the premium system and £209 for the core system, and that’s bound to drop before Xmas. Which makes me wonder: what the hell is Sony playing at?

Yes, the PS3 is impressive, on paper at least. Yes, there’s a rabid fanbase of PS2 owners. But come Christmas, there’ll be oodles of Xbox 360 games, a stack of Wii games, and about three PS3 games; there’s bound to be PS3 shortages, and that will no doubt lead to retailers taking the piss by only offering bundles. So you’ll have a choice: an overpriced PS3 bundle with a few lacklustre games (and by “overpriced” I mean “overpriced compared to the overpriced PS3 itself”), or for the same cash you’ll be able to get a 360, Halo 3 (possibly), a Nintendo and a few games for that as well. Hmm, tough choice.

Maybe Blu-ray drives offer something utterly amazing, so compelling that games developers will prefer PS3 development to Xbox or Wii development. But I suspect not . Faced with the choice of developing for a next-gen console that’s hugely expensive and won’t be widely adopted for ages, or for a much cheaper console that’s already in millions of homes, making PS3-exclusive games might not be the smartest strategy.

I really wonder about Sony sometimes. From Super Audio CD to its bone-headed refusal to make MP3 players that support MP3, and now its insistence of bundling Blu-Ray to put the cost of a PS3 into orbit, it’s like watching a very slow corporate suicide.





0 responses to “Sony needs a Wii”

  1. david

    Not forgetting that one of the PS3 SKUs doesn’t include an HDMI port so you won’t be able to play copy-protected Blu-ray discs anyway.

  2. Gary

    I really don’t understand them. I’ve been reading some pretty devastating post-E3 reports.

  3. David

    a lot of pundits are likening it to Nintendo when they had almost complete dominance of the console market when they basically said that consumers don’t really have a choice.

    IMHO they’ve made some total howlers:-

    Claiming that the “HD Era” starts when Sony says so.
    Claiming that only 1080p is true HD – when only a fraction of their own HD-ready TVs support it and it isn’t even a ratified standard.
    Calling the 360 the XBox 1.5
    Claiming that both SKUs are a bargain.

    They’ve massively overhyped this. Their online service will have to be something special to even compete with live. They’ve claimed it’ll be free then denied it. They’ve dropped dual HDMI support, they’ve dropped 7 controller support. They’ve dropped vibration feedback. The motion sensor stuff seems to be last minute and has pissed every nintendo fanboy off. Also Microsoft have come out and said that everyone should go out and buy a 360 and a Wii and still have some cash left.

    They’re relying entirely on brand loyalty, which in this market is a really bad move. Nintendo once had market dominance through brand loyalty, closely followed by Sega. Then Sony blew them both out of the water. They seem to be pretty arrogant thinking that they can’t be touched.

    I think the Wii might well take the lead again – especially at under £150.

  4. I saw in Penny Arcade that everyone at E3 was lining up to check out the Wii (can’t type that with a straight face!) and no-one was lining up at Sony. Also there’s this thing that it’s not possible to produce much better graphics anymore, they’re so close to (real life/movies), so the only way to get people to shell out is by doing something completely new: the Wii controller may be that thing. It will be interesting…

  5. Gary

    Yeah, I think you’re right about the Wii. The impression I get from Sony so far is a combination of cluelessness and arrogance, whereas Nintendo comes across as quite childlike – I get a joyous vibe from all the Wii stuff, silly name aside. And Microsoft’s been pretty good too: they’ve made a complete arse of the launch, of course, but their attitude does seem to be better than Sony’s so far.

    You know me, I’m platform agnostic – I bought an Xbox ’cause it was cheaper than a PS2, and because I wanted to play Halo; I bought a 360 because I could still play Halo, I wanted wireless controllers and I had a very limited timescale to buy a console before Liz shouted at me. But I’m starting to become increasingly convinced that I made the right choice of next-gen console, and I’m becoming increasingly interested in the Wii. Provided it isn’t RSI central with that controller, of course.

  6. Gary

    > it’s not possible to produce much better graphics anymore, they’re so close to (real life/movies)

    Yeah, you get to a point where it’s too close and you fall straight into the uncanny valley. You also start noticing things you didn’t before, such as wonky physics. Certainly in gamerland there’s a dimissive phrase: “graphics whore”. It’s someone who values pretty eye candy above gameplay, and who rates some dull but good-looking derivative FPS higher than, say, Geometry Wars.

  7. Uncanny valley! I remember that from my childhood robotic obsession!

    I’m a bit disappointed that the Wii isn’t scheduled to be out till next year(!), but I think it could actually be the first console I own.