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I never doubted the PS3. Did you?

I never doubted the PS3. Did you?

PS3_lowangle

You might not believe me, and I sure as Hell can’t prove it, but at no point during the last five years or so did I think that the PlayStation 3 would ultimately sell fewer units worldwide than the Xbox 360. I still think it’ll sell more, and not just by a few million, and I think you’d have to be a Microsoft fanboy or employee to even attempt to disagree at this point.

Speaking of fanboys, I should make it clear that I’m not one. Obviously, every fanboy says that, but really I’m not. I own both a PS3 and a 360, use them about as much as each other, have no strong preference for either and, while I’m on the staff of a specialist PlayStation magazine right now, I was on a 360 mag at the time of the PS3 launch. So yeah, my belief in the success of the PS3 wasn’t and isn’t born of love or faith or loyalty. It’s based on reason with a bit of gut feeling thrown in for good measure.

Going back further than the PS3 launch, I was working in a games shop at the time the price of the PS3 was announced – £425 in the UK – and it was clear then that the PS3 was going to get off to a slow start. We’d try to get customers to pre-order a machine but most would just look at us like we were joking as soon as we told them the price. Yes, if you do the maths it’s not a bad value package when sized up against the 360, but perceptions and choices are very important to consumers. The 360 seemed much better value than the PS3 and offered more choices to customers as to exactly what features they did and did not want to spend money on. This was not a good start, and the high price would continue to hold the PS3 back for years to come.

Sony’s next big booboo was its failure to match Microsoft’s impressive yet costly feat of launching its new console in three major territories – North America, Europe and Japan – simultaneously. Given the corners Microsoft apparently cut to rush its (roughly) 50% faulty machine to the global market, we should probably be glad that Sony bottled it at the last minute, but failure to keep a promise is still bad PR. Plus, Sony must’ve lost a lot of sales here in Europe as gamers lost patience and spent that £425 they’d been saving on a 360 and some games and lots and lots of accessories. At this point, Sony was starting to look bad.

To make matters worse, the first wave of games we got when the PS3 finally arrived were old, and generally badly ported, 360 games. Or, worse still, Genji. Developers were bad-mouthing the PS3 for its tricky-to-work-with architecture, and publishers were turning their backs on exclusive relationships with Sony in favour of multi-format releases and all-new deals with Microsoft. Sales of the PS3 were very poor, even in Japan, and the negative publicity for the PS3 never seemed to end. By this stage I was back working as a games journalist and conversation at informal meetings and events among journos and other industry types was dominated by the series of balls-ups Sony appeared to have made and the consequences this would have for the rivalry between the Xbox and PlayStation brands. Almost everyone seemed to think it was over already; that the PlayStation was finished. But not me. Honest.

It was clear that Sony’s strategy was risky, flawed even, and that Microsoft was likely to snatch a much bigger slice of Sony’s pie than it had with the original Xbox, but in the long-term I really couldn’t see the tables getting turned that dramatically in the space of just a few years. And my reasoning was two-fold…

First, the PlayStation brand was and still is the strongest brand in the history of gaming. Definitely stronger than Xbox and yes, even stronger than Nintendo. It might now have a formidable portfolio of brands, but even Nintendo can’t boast one that, on its own, is as synonymous with gaming in the minds of the general populace as ‘PlayStation’. Not even ‘Nintendo’ itself. I do think Sony has been guilty of depending a little too heavily on the PlayStation brand at times, but I can see why that’s happened. It counts for an enormous amount.

My second reason was quite simply that I couldn’t believe that an organisation as huge and as successful and as experienced as Sony could really be being as dumb as it may, at the time, have appeared to have been being. And even if it was, it surely couldn’t carry on that way. Indeed, some of Sony’s ‘mistakes’ have since proven themselves to be smart long-term ideas, while most of the genuine errors made during the PS3’s early stages have since been addressed – most importantly by the slim PS3 and its accompanying price drop.

Now, I’m not declaring that the PS3 was ‘won’. It hasn’t even overtaken the 360 yet and even then, winning in business isn’t just about achieving bigger sales numbers than the competition, it’s about meeting and exceeding your profit expectations and it might still be that both the PS3 and the 360 ‘win’ in that respect, or maybe even neither of them.

Anyway, the PS3 is just a few million behind the 360 now and closing fast, so I just wanted to say ‘I told you so…’ on the off chance that I did indeed tell anyone reading this so.




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  • dylantalon

    ps3 is the best console for gaming because it has what other consoles have and more while while being the most powerful.

    xbl/psn- dylantalon

  • Natsu X FairyTail

    the PS3 is just a toy and i am pretty sure that Sony won’t make a PS4 because all the money they are losing

    Also all the great games are on the 360 now Sony has nothing

  • Marc

    Your a freakin’ idiot to think PS3 will ever catch up the the 360.

  • p

    The PS3 is really shining, its a win for gamers. The quality of AAA games being developed and released for the PS3 are amazing, and highlight the gap between it and the 360 (nothing against the 360, but the differences are obvious). As for me, I bought a PS3 in its first year and agree it was a painful starting point (unfortunate) but now, its ubersweet!

  • no, i never doubted SONY, SONY has way more experience than microsoft.
    and they have the biggest fanbase in almost any electronic product
    they have experienced this sales and quality problems over and over again with their products, while microsoft was a kid who just over a night learned that he is a prince, he never fought to achieve any thing.

  • FrodoTheOilyPube

    It is Sony’s devotion to making quality products that won me over as a consumer a long time ago. Long live PlayStation!!

  • Luis X

    Never doubt it, but I did expect a lot more for 700 dollars. Especially after claiming that it will be well worth those 700 dollars. It is a good system. I don’t think it won the console wars, but it putting up a great fight in the second half.

  • David

    I never doubt it too.

    I remember when about two years ago I used to post on an italian forum (I’m Italian myself) and people where all “PS3 is dead”, “Xbox is the new queen” and other stupid claims like those 🙂

    Back then, I was among the few that – simple math at hand, and a bit of knowledge of this industry – dared to notice how Sony was far from dead and the PS3 still up and running for the second (if not the first) place.

    Obviously people laughed at me and said that mine was nonsense. They felt confident that PS3 would never, ever catch up to 360 and surpass it in sales (nor in quality of games and overall offer, for that matters).

    Now that things are changing precisely according to my pronostic, no one of them is willing to mock at Sony anymore. Most of them even buyed a PS3 after their 360 kept broking on regular base, not to mention the biggest games of this and the previous year were almost all on PS3. Talk about hypocricy 🙂

  • Barack O.

    There is so much wrong with your article. You just don’t write such an article when the PS3 is STILL in 3rd place.

    Second, you claim MS rushed 360 to market due to RROD, but the YLOD is turning out to be a huge problem as well, so what good did it do Sony to miss their launch date? The older PS3s were apparently flawed just like the old 360s, just not as wide spread, but still a very significant percentage.

    The fact that the playstation name was so huge, just stresses how big of a failure (for Sony) the PS3 has been, Sony went from market leader to 3rd place!

    Finally, it is most likely that PS3 STAYS in 3rd place from now on, most of the titles that sell tons of consoles have launched, PS3 has no huge games left except GT5, Sony is in no position to drop the price anymore since they are STILL losing money on each unit sold. Meanwhile MS has at least two huge system sellers coming up, most likely a price drop, and Natal. NO WAY PS3 overtakes 360 when it no longer has anything to compete with it.

    You are gloating WAAY too soon dude, you run a serious risk of making a fool of yourself, from this point on PS3 sales will decline not increase, there is just nothing happening with that console to make numbers go up, MS is preparing for a huge holiday season, Sony is still struggling to get GT5 out in 2010, you need to rethink things pal, its curtains for PS3s chances of overtaking anyone.

  • logic

    this arguemnent does not make since how many people have bought 2 or more xboxes due to failure rate???? come on people its more than 40% id say……. and slice that number up sony already passed that number M$ is counted double by all the RRODs and the E74s, its so dumb that people dont mention even the fanboys because they are the ones to continue to not even consider that…. stand alone xbox is 199 PLUS wireless adapter 99.99 $ already a total of 299$$$ with no bluray.. no bluetooth… no free online gaming…. outdated graphics compared next to ps3…….. very unreliable… controllers mess up fast… i cant snipe because my contoller moves to the right by itself.. its amazing how shotty they can produce a system that still messes up this bad and knowing that it still is selling.,… amazing

  • dasd

    wii sucks and the 360 is a crappy pc so it was an obvious choice

  • Eyeball119

    I bought a PS3 on launch day and although I loved it I tried to pretend that I wasn’t a little disappointed with the lack of games, the dodgy backwards compatibility, the lack of compatibility with video files and generally the infancy of it all.
    3 years later and it’s everything I ever hoped it could be and more. Some of the games are truly amazing… I’ve never played on an xbox but I can safely say that I don’t feel I’m missing anything, it really doesn’t offer anything I haven’t already got! Even my favourite game HALF LIFE will be playable on PC if Valve decide not to entertain the idea of a challenge and develop for the playstation.

  • Barack O.

    Why do people keep bringing up that incredibly moronic point about people buying 360s to replace RROD units!?!?! NO ONE DOES THAT!!! you MAY find a couple guys here and there who did it because they were outside of their 3yr warranty, but for the most part people just let MS replace their units for free, only a complete idiot would pay to have a console replaced when they can get it replaced for free.

    When you take into account the number of people who did NOT buy a 360 because they feared the RROD, it more than makes up for the additional sales due to RROD units outside of warranty.

  • DevilDogA99

    I never doubt that Ps3 would catch up but I am surprised on how long it took & why. Sony really hurt themselfs by taking away backwards capabilty & refusing to put PS2 games on the PSN. Another thing is that PS3 still dosnt have Voice Messaging & that Sony publishers still havnt made there games were more then one person sitting next to u can play it like most 360 games & in my opion why 360 games sell. It just surprises me that Sony won’t do these simple things still & have continued to remove features without adding ones we want. As far for the PS3 move, it better be cheap if they want it to sell

  • nope

    Nope, I never doubted it. The PS3 is the best system on the market-hands down.

  • nope

    And wow, look at the 360 fanboys. They sure feel threatened. 🙂

  • Mike

    ‘The PS3 is really shining, its a win for gamers. The quality of AAA games being developed and released for the PS3 are amazing, and highlight the gap between it and the 360 (nothing against the 360, but the differences are obvious). As for me, I bought a PS3 in its first year and agree it was a painful starting point (unfortunate) but now, its ubersweet!’

    come on man, i can count the so called quality AAA games on one hand, and it’s been 3 years the system is out, it was painful when it first came out and frankly it still is painful, i will never buy another beta system where they use us as Ginny pigs for all their trials and errors. i regret leaving uncle bill for this peace of sh!t

  • D

    @Barack O.

    “Second, you claim MS rushed 360 to market due to RROD, but the YLOD is turning out to be a huge problem as well, so what good did it do Sony to miss their launch date? The older PS3s were apparently flawed just like the old 360s, just not as wide spread, but still a very significant percentage.”

    Not nearly as significant as the 360. It is still within the range of estimated manufacturing defective units for hardware.

    “The fact that the playstation name was so huge, just stresses how big of a failure (for Sony) the PS3 has been, Sony went from market leader to 3rd place!”

    I’ll give you this one.

    “Finally, it is most likely that PS3 STAYS in 3rd place from now on, most of the titles that sell tons of consoles have launched, PS3 has no huge games left except GT5, Sony is in no position to drop the price anymore since they are STILL losing money on each unit sold. Meanwhile MS has at least two huge system sellers coming up, most likely a price drop, and Natal. NO WAY PS3 overtakes 360 when it no longer has anything to compete with it.”

    Ok now you’re just talking outta your ass. Pls tell me what two huge system sellers MS has. Do you think anyone is going to go and buy a 360 for halo:reach? Are you really that stupid? Everyone that would buy a 360 for Halo already has. In case you didn’t know, sequels in the same generation don’t sell consoles.

    The bottom line is that a once 10mil lead from 360 has dropped to 4mil right now. The 360 has been outsold by the PS3 in every region except NA. There is at least 3-4 years left in this console generation. You still think the PS3 will not overtake the 360?

  • TheGeek

    So things are looking up for Sony and the PS3, but only after fighting tooth-and-nail and after losing boatloads of money. All the while Nintendo came out with this odd looking console which has become quite the elephant in the room: The Wii. The Wii has outsold the PS3 and 360 by a margin of 10 million units. Granted, most games are shovelware, and Wii owners don’t buy as many games as PS3 and 360 owners do. But couple this with the fact that Nintendo makes its Wii’s AT A PROFIT, and its clear to see that the Wii has been a phenomenal monetary success. Even Sony and Microsoft acknowledged this way back; the Playstation Move and NATAL is testament to their desire to capture the same casual audience that Nintendo catered to from the beginning. Add the upcoming announcement of the “3DS” at E3 (anything with DS in it is simply SLAUGHTERING anything with PSP on it) and Nintendo will be poised to lead the industry for at least another generation.

  • Doubt? Rofl! http://www.tiredofsony.com and that is all. Enjoy the history.