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Pachter predicts the PS3 is fucking awesome

posted on December 15th, 2008 by jay

Sony is something special. Any other console with the combined hardware and software sales of the PS3 would be considered solidly in third place. Somehow when it’s Sony in third, however, it is simply a strategy to take advantage of a grandiose ten year plan. Imagine how violently you’d have laughed had Microsoft announced a ten year plan for the Xbox.

Predictions from analysts and insiders are only now slowly starting to show that the PS3 may not come out on top this generation. The initial prognostications from ’06 can be forgiven but many refuse to treat Sony like another console maker.

The newest example is in this gamesindustry.biz article. Analyst Michael Pachter has gone on record saying, “There was likely some substitution of Xbox 360 for PS3 purchases, due to recent price reductions for the Xbox 360 and the bundling of the console with two free games,” and “In addition, we believe that PS3 sales are being impacted by lower demand for HD televisions as a result of the recession.”

Notice the explanation of the 360s sales entirely dodges qualitative judgment. Microsoft didn’t sell more because the system had more games people want, the 360 doubled the PS3s sales in November because people are poor. You know, just like how everyone wanted a Saturn in 1996 but could only afford a Playstation.

The next bit about how the lack of HD TV adoption is hurting Sony almost makes sense. When the PS3 was the cheapest Blu-Ray player in the market it is possible that HD TV adoption was somewhat correlated to PS3 adoption. When you consider both that the 360 is an HD console and that cheap Blu-Ray players exist, this argument that HD TV sales hurt the PS3 is left pretty powerless. Also, as an exercise, try going to Best Buy and asking for a CRT television. Let me know how it goes.

Sony is losing this generation’s race and no retarded graphs by analysts (PS3 sales octuple in the last second and Sony wins!), halfbaked software or decade long strategy will change the outcome.

12 Comments

  1. christian said on December 15, 2008:

    Patcher is an analyst, and one of the few that doesn’t seem to pull his predictions out of hat. His analysis is correct. Th 360’s price drop is on its lower model arcade unit. If Patcher is stating that this is increasing Microsoft’s sales, we can safely say most people buying it are oblivious to the quality advantages it may have. They’re buying it because they can afford it during the recession. Of course, the 360’s software library will ensure they have games to play, but they aren’t thinking about that, or how the console is about as good as the PS3 as a media player (Netflix support makes it just as good or better), but that is worthless to them without the harddrive.

    His flaw is in stating that those consumers are settling for something that is “not ps3”. The same lack of knowledge that leads them to go for a cheaper 360 is the same that would prevent them from thinking about whether they are missing out on anything by not getting a PS3 (they aren’t). If consumers had more money, and the prices were the same, the 360 would still sell better. Sony is not getting hurt by the economy or consumer confidence. They’re getting hurt because Microsoft is working harder to get into their homes. I agree that he should be praising them, but for a different reason.

    And I think you would be pleased if the 360 lasted for ten years. The PS2 will fare almost that long, and it lead to a large library of games that are now cheap, and aren’t at all crappy, as well as the small and impressive PS2 slim model. Gaming is cheaper than other hobbies, but new consoles are still pricey when you realize how quickly companies want to cannibalize them. I could live with Unreal Engine level graphics for a very long time. If MS laid out a ten year plan I’d praise them for breaking the status quo in order to make the industry less wasteful and more inviting. I hope that somehow the PS3 can last that long as well.

  2. Max said on December 16, 2008:

    I think Christian’s last point about console longevity bears some elaboration. I think what most of the industry analysts are missing is that the 3 console makers are not going to market in the same manner. I think there is some compelling evidence to support the notion that Microsoft designs their consoles for different target longevity than either Sony or the Wii. Microsoft’s game has been to introduce their console earlier in the cycle, and aim for a shorter console cycle than Sony. Sony, on the other hand, designed PS3 for a much longer haul, which is evidenced by the very advanced (but expensive) hardware, which naturally results in higher initial cost and slower adoption rates, but provides more life on the tail end. And then there is the Wii, which is trying to take itself out of the hardware fray altogether by pushing an innovative control scheme before graphical and processing power.

    Now what that means, oddly, is that all the graphs in this article are correct – but they are all reflecting Sony’s longevity targets, and are therefore not providing the real answer. There may well be more PS3s than 360’s out there in 2011, but is that what’s really important? What’s important is the total number of Microsoft consoles vs. Sony consoles vs. Nintendo consoles. In 2011, the Microsoft number might be composed of the 360 plus 360-next-gen; the Sony number might still be just PS3, and Nintendo’s number might be Wii + Wii Hardcore or something (I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo split their console offering into “hardcore” and “casual” some time in the future).

    By the same token, it’s kind of meaningless to measure market share of just the 360 vs. the PS3 vs. the Wii right now. We should be looking at overall sales inclusive of Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube. Suddenly, Sony’s position is not so bad, right? And while it’s tempting to split things up “by category”, namely new-gen vs. old-gen, that split strikes me as completely superficial, because these companies don’t go to market one console at a time.

  3. christian said on December 16, 2008:

    Max’s elaboration is wonderful, and we’ve seen this already when everyone was unsure about how to gauge Sony’s sales when they had three viable consoles on the market (which is changing now that the PS2 and PSP are winding down).

    The only thing stopping the PS3 from lasting as long as they’d like is if people just stop making software for it. They’ll have to get on the ball with that.

  4. SpyderMayhem said on December 16, 2008:

    I, for one, am very excited about God Of War VII’s release in 2012, followed shortly by Gran Tourismo 4.*

    And DC Universe looks amazing.*

    With such a long list of hot titles such as these, you’ll all be jealously looking back at the wiseness of us early adopters of such an amazing gaming platform.* Just think of all the quality PS3-only titles currently available, and then imagine three years from now.

    On the upside, The Dark Knight is nice on Blu-Ray.

    *This was a lie.

  5. pat said on December 17, 2008:

    i think the kind of apologetics going on in the first three comments on this article are exactly what jay is talking about. sure, the ps2 lasted forever, but thats because it sold well initially, so game developers got on board, so it sold more, so more game devs got on board, etc. a similar virtuous cycle existed with consumers (your friends had one, so you got one, so your friends got one). there is something of a chicken and egg (cart and horse?) problem with the statement that the ps3 will last as long as the ps2 if companies continue to make software for it.

    the wii hardcore idea is interesting, and i would like to hear some elaboration on that. a wii with more horsepower? anything else?

  6. christian said on December 17, 2008:

    Since when does hope equal a prediction? Longer cycles mean less expenses for the industry. It has nothing to do with wanting sony to succeed.

  7. jay said on December 18, 2008:

    More apologetics for Sony –
    http://www.thebitbag.com/2008/12/16/why-all-the-ps3-hate/

    This one is a goldmine that makes accusations of conspiracy against Sony. I personally am shocked that the console fewest people have chosen as the console they want to own is also the console that the fewest people like. The market truly is a magical place.

    Pat, the Wii hardcore is an oxymoron. A Wii can have core games on it but it cannot be designed around elements core gamers find sexy. Those machines are called the 360 and the PS3 and I’d guess Nintendo would rather keep their vaults of money than trade places.

  8. bruce said on December 26, 2008:

    Sony got huge with the Playstation, because they correctly predicted the media shift to CD’s away from cartridges. This allowed Final Fantasy to make its home on Sony consoles. The driver of the PS2 (in the U.S. at least) was GTAIII. Software software software. Console success has never been built on pure processing power. It was entertaining to see Sony drinking their own KoolAid and thinking their technical prowess in designing highly capable systems was what had handed them victory the two previous generations. The N64 pushed more prettier pixels than the PS1, and the XBox was more capable than the PS2. But they both lost to Sony because Sony had the games people wanted. Halo putting XBoxes in so many homes should have been the warning sign.

    So, if the analysts want to make remotely accurate predictions, they should be watching software sales trends, and not reading the console manufacturers’ press releases or looking at past performance or brand equity or crap like that.

    For me personally, the PS3’s library looks downright pathetic. LBP is the -only- game that’s looked interesting to me, but I haven’t heard anyone raving about the actual gameplay in the game which gives me reason to pause. The stuff that’s been interesting to me in the past two years has all happened in the download scene, which points to a much more hardware agnostic future if my tastes are any indication, which I admit they may not be.

  9. christian said on December 27, 2008:

    Piping in to complain more about Sony – looking at the Playstation store on my PSP this Christmas, I realized what a goldmine Sony is missing out on by not offering more UMD Legacy games as downloads. I could buy Tokobot and Gurumin together for slightly more than 20 bucks. Toss in Mega Man Powered Up or Power Stone and I’d be a happy camper.

  10. bruce said on December 28, 2008:

    @christian : Oh look, there’s that download thing I mentioned. You’ve got money just waiting to throw at a company that does it right.

  11. christian said on December 28, 2008:

    Yeah, and since Microsoft has that license tool now for the 360 I can buy Arcade games on my roomate’s console and transfer it to my own 360 in the future.

  12. bruce said on December 29, 2008:

    For all its hardware failings, Microsoft “gets” that software and services are how you win customers nowadays. Their strength in that area is a huge asset compared to Sony’s….whatever Sony has. I think all Sony really has is their hardware fetishism. Microsoft lets you buy games on a friend’s console (think about that, they are giving you more ways to give them money), while Sony gives us ‘remote play’, so we can play PS3 games on a system with only one analog stick.

    Speaking of downloads, I’m digging the hell out of World of Goo.

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