PS3, the most powerful gaming console on the market has also been the most talked about, ridiculed and damned in this, the seventh generation of consoles.
You remember don’t you? When it launched back in 2006, media outlets big and small had much to say about the black box. Would it survive? Most journalists doubted it. Was it too expensive? Most believed it was. Was Blu-ray a waste of time and money, and technology forced down our throats? Again, most, back then, agreed it was.
That same song cannot be sang today, though, because now, with a redesigned console, a cheaper price point and the biggest and broadest exclusive lineup on any console, Sony’s PlayStation 3 has been on a rise. As of now, you’d be hard pressed to find the console in stores; it just won’t stay in stock.
The hardware giant couldn’t be happier with the results, I assume, because analysts were predicting that soon, in the not too distant future, the PS3 would overtake the Xbox 360′s global install base and end the seventh generation console race in second place. And their analysis, though optimistic, was not impossible to achieve at all. In fact it was quite possible. The only regions that Xbox 360 holds a handy lead over the PS3 are US and UK, but the rest of the world is all PS3 domination. This includes Europe, Japan and all emerging markets. But then E32010 came, and what Microsoft revealed at that show changed everything.
Everything. Microsoft’s plan from the beginning of this generation, was to beat Sony by selling more units and having a bigger install base at the end of the race. Redmond knew the PS3 had lasting appeal, and has planned carefully to make sure that, with every step Sony takes, they’re one step in front to assure that the PS3 does not catch up. That was demonstrated at this year’s E3, and I would say, the launch of the Xbox 360 Slim has just guaranteed Microsoft victory.
Now, in almost every department, Microsoft is outselling Sony. Kinect is beating Move, and Xbox 360 S is beating the PS3. From amazon, to global console sales, Microsoft’s new slicker looking black box has just been stumping all over its competition. I get it, though, this momentum is to be expected with every console relaunch, doesn’t matter if it’s Sony, Microsoft of Nintendo. But another factor that one must consider, is the fact that this also stalls Sony’s momentum in many ways.
Microsoft now offers a console with a bigger HDD than that of Sony’s, and at the same price. There’s also built-in WiFi connectivity, and the Xbox 360 arcade units price will once again be reduced, making the Xbox package even more attractive. Indeed all over the world, there’s been a substantial rise in Xbox 360 sales. From US to UK (which, by the way, are two of the most important markets), to places like Australia and even Mexico.
The Xbox 360 has at least a 5 million install base lead over the PS3, and although Sony was rejoicing over the recent gains it had made when the PS3 Slim was launched, said rejoicing was short lived. Now another strategy must be forged in order for Sony to at least keep up the pace with Microsoft – and I believe they will. But here’s the problem: at this late stage in the game, it doesn’t matter what Sony does, Microsoft will counter with a plan to halt, or at least stall that plan, and this will happen over and over again until this generation has come to an end.
And these are the reasons why the PS3 will end up in last place in this, the seventh generation of consoles. Other reasons are obvious:
To Launch one year later than Microsoft wasn’t a smart move at all; they should have kept it toe-to-toe from the onset. It’s also important to note that the lead Microsoft’s enjoying now is due to it launching the Xbox 360 a full year before Sony released the PS3. That was a great strategy.
Selling a console at $650 at launch and expecting customers to just go out and “get a second job” like Ken Katarugi said, was just arrogant. People didn’t do that; instead they went out and bought Xbox 360s.
The price stayed at $399 for way too long; this should have happened much sooner.
Advertising was also a big let down in the PS3′s early days, with the hardware giant doing little to none of it, and what was done mostly scared people away instead of attracting them to it. That, however, has changed. Kevin Butler is the genius Sony desperately needed in its advertising department.
There are other reasons, but those are the most notable. The PS3′s future is bright, no doubt. It will continue to sell superbly, and the exclusives on the console are bar none.
It will, though, end this console race last in terms of install base. But that’s quite alright, there’s always PS4, and as long as the giant makes a profit on its biggest investment yet, I see no losers here.