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Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 11.17.06

posted on November 17th, 2006 by jay

Sony losing money on each PS3 sold
Selling consoles at a loss is nothing new; it nearly put Sega out of business. But selling a console for a loss of $240 or $300? Those are some big numbers, especially considering Microsoft and Nintendo are making profit on each console they sell. There are a few ways to look at Sony’s situation.

Now if the PS3 had looked like this, it would be worth the money.

The optimistic person would say, “Sony are giving us an awesome bargain and we should thank them by paying homeless people to wait in line for a PS3.” The pessimist would say, “If I want to play PS3 games, I’m forced to buy a friggin super computer with a disc drive that costs over $100 tacked on so they can get a leg up on the upcoming format war.” The realist would say, “Damn, Sony may take a beating.” The sarcastic realist would say, “Damn, Sony may take a beating, but at least the rest of the company is doing well.”

Original Wii price point
Miyamoto has explained that he originally wanted the Wii to sell for $100. This managed to more than double because of the inclusion of NAND flash memory and Nintendo’s willingness to cave to retailers who wanted to make more profit on the system. Ironically, too low a price point would probably do more harm than good. Consumers may perceive a new console that only costs $100 as a cheap toy, especially this generation when Nintendo’s competitors are selling their systems at near Neo Geo prices.

It’s still hard to fight that inner cynical, though, who says, “I already have a Gamecube, just sell me the stupid sensor bar and modem for a hundred bucks.”

360 wins!
According to Merrill Lynch, the 360 will have 39% of the global market share, thus enabling Microsoft to conquer the planet. They predict the PS3 will gain 34% share and the Wii 27%. In Japan, Sony is expected to win, followed by Nintendo then Microsoft. In North America, it goes Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo. So does this prediction mean anything? Probably not, considering another analyst just put out a report predicting the PS3 conquer all, and some analyst a month or two ago went with the Wii. As long as the Phantom doesn’t pull an amazing come from behind, it looks like someone is bound to have accurately predicted the future.

Apparently OPSM wasn’t ready, either.

No more Official Playstation Magazine
This is a shame. OPM is actually pretty good as far as magazines go. Now we are stuck with PSM (the S stands for rag). It seems the combination of fewer literate Americans and the PS3s robust online capabilities make OPM a liability for Ziff Davis. At least we still have 1up (that was probably sarcasm).

Consumer survey asks people what they think about the new consoles
Of consumers surveyed, 48% (who were presumably interested in buying consoles) believed the PS3 to cost less than $300. The survey indicates that Sony fans are more loyal than Nintendo fans (which seems odd) but with such a large number of consumers expecting the PS3 to be cheap, loyalty may shift rather quickly.

Sony behind ThreeSpeech.com
Last week I called game journalists spineless. I wan to apologize for this insult. A lot of all types of journalists are spineless, but there are still some professional people out there. More importantly, it turns out the interview that was the catalyst for the insult turns out to come from a Sony run site that pretends it’s not Sony run. It may say something that I cannot tell the difference between a game journalist and a paid advertisement pretending to be game journalism, but even so, an apology is necessary (if you’re from a prospective employer, this apology is completely sincere, if not, less so).

While checking the stats of videolamer I noticed that someone free ThreeSpeech looked at the news article that contained the offending spineless comment. Before I knew who ThreeSpeech was, I felt guilty. It was mean of me to mock them, and to make it worse, I envisioned the interviewer as a game journalist who wanted to ask harder questions but was forced by his boss and the advertisers to be soft. This poor guy wanted to be a serious journalist but the powers that be kept him down and then to add more insult, some unknown douche bag on the web is calling him spineless.

Obviously I don’t feel guilty any more.

The Wii DVD kit will come with this classic.

Wii will play DVDs…next year
And some of the Wii channels aren’t up yet. What’s the deal, Nintendo? You had almost five years to design the Wii and it’s a Gamecube. Say it took you a year to decide to do little to nothing with the hardware itself, then three years to perfect the wand. That still leaves a solid year to lining up things like DVD players and weather channels.

The more Sony and Nintendo delay things the more respect I have for Microsoft. How the hell did they get everything together quickly enough to launch a system a year ago when their competition is struggling to launch now? I guess owning a third of the universe may help.

1ups Neverwinter Nights 2 review
After much complaining about how 1up retracted their original review of this game, we are now forced to acknowledge things seem at least slightly less corrupt than we made them out to be. The initial review scored the game a 5 out of 10 and this new one gave the game only a 6 of 10. This is still pretty low, but it remains unclear if the reviewer was trying to save face by not giving it an 8 or if he really didn’t like the game that much. As 1up themselves described it, it was a lose lose situation. Of course pulling a review only draws huge amounts of attention to a lose lose situation.

Sony guy condescending about PS3 backwards compatibility
Asked about PS3 backwards compatibility problems, Sony’s Jack Tretton responded:
“I would like my car to fly and make me breakfast, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. We’ve reported problems on only 200 of the 8000 PlayStation 1 and 2 games. I would challenge the average consumer to say that there are significant problems with any of the games in their library.”

He is right about the numbers; Sony has the overwhelming majority of games working. He is slightly obnoxious about the flying car bit, especially considering the original press release for the PS2 said the Emotion Engine was capable of marriage counseling and preparing delicious omelets.

Tretton also said:
“If you look at our competitors, one machine has zero backwards compatibility and one only has it with a third of their games.” The problem with this statement is that the Wii is backwards compatible with the Gamecube and the 360 is doing better than 33% backwards compatibility. Facts have never stood in the way of a Sony rep, and that’s the way journalists apparently like it.

2 Comments

  1. pat said on November 19, 2006:

    im not sure what sony guys point is here.  when you buy a car there is no expectation of flight or culinary expertise.  when you buy a system that claims to be backwards compatible, there is some expectation of backwards compatibility.  those are not comparable at all.  

  2. jay said on November 20, 2006:

    Phil Harrison has taught him well.

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