Did Sony screw up the video game market?

When the Sony Playstation launched in 1994/5 it had significant competitive advantages that enabled it to beat off the competition from Sega and Nintendo to become the dominant console gaming brand. Sony marketing concentrated on the fashion and trendiness aspects and targeted at the affluent 20ish male demographic. By the standards of anything that had gone before it was a massive success, but we know now that they were actually under-performing.

It has taken Nintendo with the Wii and the DS to show us just how limited Sony’s ambitions were. Nintendo have revolutionised the market by going after the broadest possible demographic. All ages, all incomes and. most importantly, both sexes. The female audience was all but ignored by Sony and, in this alone, they were throwing away half their potential customers. Innovations like Eyetoy and Singstar that could have opened up the market for Sony were pretty much under exploited and it has taken Nintendo to show the power and marketing potential of a gesture interface. Despite Sony having the technology several years earlier.

So now Sony are in a difficult position. Their current home console offering, the Playstation PS3 has no significant competetive advantage yet demands a premium retail price. It is mainly the cult of the Playstation and the attendant fanboys that sustain Sony in the market. But this is just a niche, a fairly broad niche, but still a niche. Microsoft, as the underdog, were far quicker than Sony to see what Nintendo had done and have massaged their offering in several ways to try and follow. However this market is ruled over by technological limitations and it takes two years to react in a significant manner.

The real test will come with the next generation of consoles. The Playstation 4 and the Xbox 3. These will need to appeal to the widest possible demographic whilst offering a significant processing power hike and being economic to manufacture. Interesting times.


  1. “Oh! The author of the book I am reading (which I am enjoying tremendously) is much better than the author of the book you are reading (which you are enjoying tremendously).”

    “NO! My author is actually prettier”

    “But mine is more intelligent”

    “Of course not! If your’s were more intelligent, then he would have used better characterization!!”

    “The characterization of my author is superb! How can you say that!!!!”

    blah blah blah

    and meanwhile the books rot

  2. this is not a dis to you sony fanboys but because sony is still producing the ps2 and selling them at $130 or less and game companies are releasing games for the ps2 some people don’t need need to spend $250 or more on another console and beacuse it sold over 100 million units people are still sticking to it and not buying a wii, ps3, or a xbox 360

  3. The Wii revolutionized gaming? You can point at all the people buying Wii’s but the fact is that they aren’t gamers. They buy 2-5 games a piece against the 4-7 that xbox and playstation owners buy. How is the Wii good for our industry? The only titles that sell on the Wii are Nintendo made games. It just isn’t a system that will make developers any money. Yeah, Nintendo was able to get people who don’t normally play games to buy a system and made them a lot of money but for those who actually play games and make them the Wii is worthless. The Wii is a party toy but not a gaming machine.

  4. Wii Forces Game Makers to Play Catch-Up

    “The Wii may prove to be a windfall, since games cost just $2 million to $5 million to create, a fraction of the $20 million to $30 million spent on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 titles, analyst Taylor said.

    In addition, Wii appears to be expanding the market, rather than stealing sales from rivals, he said.

    Ubisoft Entertainment SA, maker of “Rayman” and “Tom Clancy,” was the quickest to recognize Wii’s appeal and is reaping the rewards.

    Wii games helped increase sales for the December quarter by 24 percent to $405 million. In January, the company raised its 2007 forecast for revenue growth to 16 percent from 10 percent to 12 percent previously.”


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