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Why Sony PS3 came third in the console race

by Mark Tyson on 12 June 2012, 12:17

Tags: PlayStation3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabh45

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The cheeky chaps at Kotaku ‘culture news blog’ snared Sony’s head of hardware marketing John Koller and asked him Why Did You Wind Up In Third Place? It’s an interesting question on a blog which features a lead story today about people who dress up in doll bodysuits…

In the interview Mr Koller seemed to concede that the main issue with the PS3 was the console’s relatively expensive price, especially at launch time when it was $600 or £425. From this slow start it’s been a fight to keep up in numbers though that doesn’t mean that the console has not been a successful one and sales are relatively good now, higher than the Wii but behind the Xbox 360. Kudos goes to Don Mattrick from Microsoft for his prediction at E3 2011 that Xbox 360 would be the global best seller a year later.

February 2012 figures for worldwide cumulative console sales were as follows;

  1. Wii - 95 million
  2. Xbox 360 - 66 million
  3. PS3 - 63 million

Quarterly console sales chart up to Q4 2011, from Geekwire.com

 

Looking at the Kotaku interview, the lead question was a pithy “You guys are in third place. You're a team that was in first place with the PS1, first place with PS2. Why has this generation played out differently, where you guys haven't won?” The most on-topic answer from Mr Koller was the following; “Why we're in third... you know, there's a lot of things that happen in the market that cause sales to occur. I think we've been very staunch in our belief that there's a certain value behind the PS3 and there's certain kinds of games for the PS3 that have stood behind that. There's no secret that we opened behind a high price point. And certainly others got a relatively nice head start on us because of that. That's certainly been part of it. But we absolutely have no regrets.”

Looking at the most recent sales numbers above no one would call Sony’s PS3 anything other than a success. Xbox 360 had a long head start and Nintendo’s Wii the sweetest price and control method innovations. However in the coming months it looks like Xbox 360 is going to continue to be top dog in sales with the way it has been adopted into people’s living rooms as much more than a gaming device, at a lower price point than the PS3. Sony could have potentially done more in this area considering they chose the “winning” Blu-ray tech for their console but Microsoft put in the resources and effort to carve that niche they had been trying to get into for some time, thanks to the online services in Xbox Live.



HEXUS Forums :: 28 Comments

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The last two words in the piece are the biggest one, outside of and if not instead of, the high-price: “Xbox Live”. Multiplayer gaming in terms of mass adoption with consumers exploded with this generation leading the charge by some distance, a distance that still remains IMO, is Microsoft.

There was a headset bundled in with the launch consoles that made those awful December nights on Lag of Duty 2 immensely fun - all it needed was word of mouth and it absolutely took off. If you look at MS's portfolio as well, they've consistently had good if not the best, online (console) games.

So for me it has been Live that has halted the PS3's charge, of course the year gap helps get your hooks into the consumers but the first year of 360 sales wasn't even the great - Sony just had no answer to what the consumer was after.
I think Sony need to view this as not a failure but a success but not as good as the competition. Why ?
1. Wii was revolutionary and also came in at an attractive price.
2. Xbox was cheaper, almost as good - but most importantly Microsoft evolved it and kept people interested in it.
3. Was too expensive, games seem to be more expensive too and Sony didn't really evolve it.

As with all Sony products, Sony lack software ideas and innovation. Yes their software looks all smooth and shiny on the surface but its always lacked the flair.

My thoughts anyway.
Brewster0101
1. Wii was revolutionary and also came in at an attractive price.
2. Xbox was cheaper, almost as good - but most importantly Microsoft evolved it and kept people interested in it.
3. Was too expensive, games seem to be more expensive too and Sony didn't really evolve it.
Agreed with all of this. I'd also add that Sony was rather late to the party. And as it turned out, they were more fond of stripping features than enhancing its feature set.
Brewster0101
I think Sony need to view this as not a failure but a success but not as good as the competition. Why ?
1. Wii was revolutionary and also came in at an attractive price.
2. Xbox was cheaper, almost as good - but most importantly Microsoft evolved it and kept people interested in it.
3. Was too expensive, games seem to be more expensive too and Sony didn't really evolve it.

As with all Sony products, Sony lack software ideas and innovation. Yes their software looks all smooth and shiny on the surface but its always lacked the flair.

My thoughts anyway.

Very well put
Personally, the reason that the PS3 “failed” was down to cost and the controllers.

At the time I was looking for a games console I really wanted a PS3, but the cost premium at the time on both console and games meant that I chickened out and went XBox360.

Later on - when the cost became more reasonable - I looked again, but I really didn't take to the PS3 controllers (the XBox ones are far more comfortable for me). But by then I'd got a reasonable amount of XBox games - so I stuck with what I'd got.

Technically, I still think the PS3 is better than the XBox. That said, Kinect (imho of course) is much more capable than Move - which still looks a bit “me too”.

We've got a Wii too - but that was bought for the fitness and family games - the latter being an area where MS has to tip its hat to Nintendo - even now. Don't think we'll be swapping it for a WiiU - because MS is getting better.