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The Sony Guide to Committing Game Console Suicide

posted on October 23rd, 2007 by tyson

Step 1: Create A Technologically Difficult Console. Decide that games don’t really matter and it is console specs that sell new gaming consoles. Create a partnership with IBM that introduces a very fast processor into your new gaming machine. Since games don’t sell systems, it is no big deal that this new bleeding edge CPU is very difficult to design titles around and port titles to. After dealing with the new CPU you decide to throw in your newest form of optical drive that shoots the concept of a decently priced system all to hell.

On top of that, you force yet another media standard on to consumers, something you are already notorious for. Lastly, you decide that the internet is a fad and that people don’t really like Microsoft Live so you figure that there is no need to include anything remotely close with the new console or your business operation.

Step 2: Ostracize and belittle your fan base right before you launch your new flagship product. You would think if you were a company that made its money from pleasing the pixel hungry masses, you would not want to tell them that they are so stupid that you can release your new console at any price point you desire and they will still gobble it up. This hunch is wrong – ignore it and insult away.

Buy my console!

Step 3: Unite Your Competition Against You. This step is very simple. Assuming you are Sony, tell Nintendo that it is releasing a suped up Gamecube and remind them how bad the Gamecube was for their profit margin and how no one is going to buy an underpowered system just so they can wave their remotes around like idiots at their televisions. After pissing off Nintendo, you then head over to Microsoft and tell them that their console is mediocre at best and that your new system, spec for spec, will blow theirs out of the water.

All the while, forget that games are what sell a system, not Cell Processors. If you are Sony, somehow you manage to cram your head so far up your ass that you forget that Halo 3 is getting released as well as some no-name game called Bioshock. You then tweak the people at Rockstar enough that they no longer want to release GTA4 just for your system and they jump ship and head over to Microsoft.

Step 4: Price Your Console On Par With Cocaine. Launch day has finally arrived for your new product and what better way to accommodate the masses than pushing a gaming system for as much as it would cost to buy an Xbox 360 and a Wii with accessories and games. After creating mass sticker shock, you then give people the option to buy a lesser version of the console that is handicapped in several ways and still way too expensive. Somehow after all of this crazy pricing, you remember that you should charge more for your games as well, despite the fact that none of the launch games for the new platform are really all that good.

Step 5: Maintain The Status Quo. It has been almost a year after the initial launch of your product and you are still making sure no games have come to market that would actually sell your system. You blame your own arrogance and stupidity on “production issues” instead of admitting you were being an ass and that your console was an over-hyped headline grabber that hasn’t lived up to expectations. You keep dissing the competition despite the fact that reports are now coming out that the Gamecube will be a better seller than your console. Your only solution to all of this is to fire and demote some people and ready the release of yet another, lesser version of your console.

Step 6: Paint Yourself Into A Corner. This is the step you are presently on. You have managed to make the vast majority of the gaming community angry at you for one reason or another, be it pricing, lack of good games, or jack ass comments made to and about other console developers and gamers alike. At this point, you are in for financially difficult times regardless of what you do. You can side with gamers and again lower the price of all of your products. This will convince more people to buy into the console but it means that your cash flow is reduced from a small stream to an extreme drought. You are already taking a negative earning every time you sell a system but the games that you never thought mattered were supposed to be the one thing that made you money.

Buy my food?

You can keep releasing new versions of the console but thanks to all of that whacky technology you packed into it, you are limited as to what you can and cannot tweak. If you touch the processor, optical drive, or memory, gameplay will be affected because the games were optimized to run at certain speed; this really only leaves you with the option to raise and lower hard drive capacities and change audio and video outputs. While this is great for the folks in the marketing department, you and gamers both know that these features really don’t sell a system.

If you keep going in the direction you are going, you will permanently drive away a group of people that once worshiped you. You are going to get into even worse financial trouble and this means that your next generation system is not going to be able to compete against Microsoft and Nintendo. You must bite the bullet and realize this console is going to be a wash. You must lower your expectations and your prices on all of the items that relate to this generation of your console. You must create incentives for new game developers and existing ones to create awesome games for this technologically wondrous box. You must realize that gamers like online communities like the one supported by Microsoft.

Lastly and most importantly, you must respect your customers and your peers. Underestimating both of these groups is what got you to where you are today. You need creativity, not just power, to compete in today’s gaming market. Gamers are sick of pretty games that have no point. Gamers have evolved, you have yet to do so.

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1 Comments

  1. jay said on October 24, 2007:

    You left off “Release many different versions of your product with varying features. If hardcore gamers still have a clear understanding of which systems do what and cost what, release more versions.”

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