Are Sony successfully digging PS3 out of a hole?

The problems with the Sony Playstation PS3 are well documented. It was far too expensive at launch and still is, but less so, it’s graphics processor is weak holding back game quality, it is difficult to develop for so games were slow to be released for it including key platform exclusives, it had terrible Sixaxis controllers, it costs too much to make because of Blu Ray and Cell so Sony have no room for manoeuvre and Sony management have been sending out conflicting messages which has confused the marketing. This is why the PS3 is running third and last for sales in this generation of the console wars.

But Playstation is the biggest global brand in gaming and totally dominated the two previous console generations, so Sony still had a very solid marketing platform on which to build. So this is what it has done. There has been no golden bullet, just steady slog. Firstly Sony stripped out a pile of capabilities, including backward compatibility, so it could make it cheaper and thus sell it cheaper. Then it started churning out the software with the occasional exclusive like Metal Gear Solid 4, but these have not had the massive effect some were hoping for. There are more big hopes on the way, Killzone 2, Little Big Planet, Resistance 2 and Gran Turismo for instance. And these, once again, will each help a bit.

The biggest boost they have had was from Microsoft with the Red Ring of Death (RRoD). This saved Sony’s bacon. You could see the effect with GTA IV when the 360 version won, but only just, despite exclusive downloadable content and massive marketing. People felt safer buying a PS3 to play this game.

Online the PS3 is way behind with PSN, but it is free. Despite this seeming advantage there is the downside that it is not sufficiently policed so is full of preadolescent hooligans running amok. PSN has been successfully updated with Xcross Media Bar. And Home promises to bring social networking to gaming and has the potential to be a massive success. Like Second Life with a purpose. With beta about to start we will soon be finding out how solid the promise is.

There is a gesture interface coming for the PS3 which is why Nintendo just upgraded its gesture interface on the Wii, so as to remain competitive. We are promised blockbuster announcements from Sony at Leipzig and this could be one of them. If Sony use a motion controller to introduce games that appeal to a wider audience it too could be a massive success. Once again, we will see.

As it is Sony are now ahead of Microsoft in Europe. Partly because Europe easily gets fed up of a diet of shooters and partly because the entrenched Sony brand and territory management in Europe are so powerful. In America the 360 is well ahead but the PS3 is catching quickly. This must be Microsoft’s biggest worry and you can see it dropping prices again for the holiday season in order to fight back. In Japan, amazingly, the 360 has outsold the PS3 some weeks. This is a disaster for Sony on their home soil, where PS3 sales have never really taken off, with only just over two million sold to date. Surely a fix for this must be in the works.

So globally we really are on the cusp of seeing if Sony can beat Microsoft this time round. As ever in this industry it will be fascinating to watch.


  1. The four links you use to back up your opening statements are all links to… errm… your other opinion pieces!

    Seriously, don’t write an article unless you can back it up with facts rather than your own speculation.

  2. isthebloke,
    Seriously, I link back to previous articles.
    1) To save me writing it again.
    2) To give people more background if they need it.
    If you looked through the 300+ articles on here you would see that they far more often have links to external sources than internal. Click the links in yesterday’s article about Russia, for instance.

    This article about Sony is full of undisputed facts. Yes they are third, yes the PS3 is expensive to manufacture and yes they are doing badly in Japan.

  3. Brucie, sounds like you have buyer’s remorce.
    Like the first commenter said, back up your statements with acts, not your own spculations.

  4. I have been looking through some of your articles posted above and I het the feeling that you really don’t like that Sony IS catching up and inevitably will take MS’ spot in the top 3.
    1.) MS had a small failure with Too Human, a highly anticipated game for the 360 that hasn’t had the A+ review expected.
    2.) MS does have an advantage over Sony in Japan, but only due to the lack of rpgs/jrpgs being released as well as a very popular JRPG that was just released. Sony is obviously meeting the demands of North American gamers.
    3.) MS seems desperate… attempting to rush a new Halo game and make their own motion controller as well as the inevitable price drop that you stated previously.

    Sony may not win the war but it will win the battle

  5. BRuce ummmm please when writing an article start of with a neutral stance , it really undermines the authority of an article when you start like this…


  6. theres a couple flaws in here…n u fail 2 mention how ps3 soo far has trumped 360 sales soo far dis whole year….but back to da flaws….the problem is not dat da ps3 graphics processor is weaker…cuz its not…its pretty much equal..watz holdin da ps3 back a bit is da fact dat da processor is weirdly designed…soo interms not weaker but jus to different…developers are pretty much forced to werk wit a foreighn processor…but besides dat as time progresses people will say dat da processor is actually pretty (profanity deleted) awesome…once dey understand how to werk wit it….

    from da mouth of Hideo Kojima….(bout mgs4)
    my game is a movie….360 is da onli real tru media console around…but da problem is dat da ps3 is a theatre….i want people to have da best experience wit mah game..

    hey u make wat u make of jus quotin da man

  7. “As it is Sony are now ahead of Microsoft in Europe. Partly because Europe easily gets fed up of a diet of shooters and partly because the entrenched Sony brand and territory management in Europe are so powerful”

    All you need to do is Swap Microsoft/Sony and Europe with America…


  8. other than what the others have posted, make sure your paragraphs flow. sometimes it feels like i’m reading bullets piled on top of each other. you sound like a student who’s rushing a report.

  9. Actually, being european, you are partly wrong.
    PS3 sells more in Europe for different reasons than the ones you said:
    1 – brand loyalty: there’s an enormous legion of PS2 owners who considered PS3 the obvious upgrade (plus, there’s no “national loyalty”)

    2 – quality perception/reliability: for (most) europeans, quality is a decisive factor. And the X360 just isn’t reliable. Microsoft’s approach on the RROD subject wasn’t acceptable. And we honestly don’t care about extended warranties.

    3 – Software selection: Singstar and Buzz are huge in Europe and “sell” the console as a family oriented machine. Microsoft’s “Buzz” never had the same marketing. Lips is nowhere to be seen.

  10. No RPG game for PS3 is the main reason why the Japanese not buying PS3

  11. Bruce I think telling the truth has hurt some feelings so. Next time distance yourself from the facts. The facts are facts but when a person is in DENIAL or don’t want to believe something. The mind will tell it to attact the messenger or the source. For instance being the one to tell a person George Bus was lying about Iraq a country of only 17.2 million (before we displaced 2 million and killed 500,000) had weapons of mass destruction. Or that they would conquer us!!! lol Remember how people would attack the messenger? If you told your friend you think some one is giving it to his wife would you not be taking a chance? So distance yourself when speaking the hard to hear truth. Remember most of the ps3 fans still think the ps3 has multiple cpus dispite Sony admitting they where not cpus years ago!

  12. @ corndog: I’m afraid you are undermining Bruce’s post. Bruce’s comments on Microsoft and Sony can certainly be justified as his opinion. But if you try to make the case that they are based on unbiased facts, then you step into quicksand. I enjoy Bruce’s posts, but I have long ago learned that he is stuck in the spin cycle on that topic. I don’t understand why, but I am hoping that one day he will reveal it — I think that would be the really interesting post on the subject.

  13. Well, in my opinion it seems very clear that the PS3 will trump the 360 before the end of 2009. And will probably go on to become the winner of this generation’s war, considering that the Wii might be in a class of it’s own. But most importantly, it might be the console that redefines console gaming as we see it. If Sony has it their way, the PS3 will be more akin to a “one-stop” HD entertainment set-top box, that has something for everybody: games, blu-ray movies, downloadable tv, music, movies, and virtual communities. Let’s just see how it plays out, but i can’t see anybody in a better position than Sony to make that happen.

  14. I don’t want to sound intolerant but someone’s got to say it;Most of you are all Fanboys derailing dangerously in surrealist offtopics,and giving shows of a little arrogance,of both sides.Yours are too,in most cases,just opinions.

    There are more appropriate places at teh interwebs to start a flaming war about Sales,pals.
    This precise article is about how Sony got where it is now,and where could it be going.

    I’m not answering back at anyone who tries to engage in an argument because of this claims.

    Nice read,like the others.

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