Agony: Sony’s Seventh Generation PlayStation Story

Inside Sony Japan, where most massive company decisions are made, the mood must have been joyful when it was time to release PS3: “Guys we have no competition!” PlayStation father Ken Kutaragi must have proclaimed. “PS2 is the most successful console ever made, and with over 130 million (at the time) sold, the PS3 will have even more success!” I imagine he didn’t stop there either, with his confidence beaming, and Sony wanting to once again put out the most compelling machine they’d ever forged, all sorts of technology must have been considered, and although price would’ve definitely be an issue, Sony wasn’t afraid.

“They’ll buy it!” I could hear Hirai siding with Kutaragi, “it’s PlayStation, damn it! Look at how many PS2s were sold!” Things were getting a bit touchy though, price range had shot up from $399 to now $599 and some execs were perturbed. “Are we showing too much confidence in our userbase?” Another thought to himself, yet he failed to utter the thing, since the two big dogs in the room held all the say. So Blu-Ray was implemented, OtherOS, Cell Technology – and the final product was a massive technological accomplishment, but one that came with a great price.

PS3 Arrives On Market

- Launch-a-thon

In 2006 PS3 launched around the world and initial sales were indeed good, but with Microsoft launching the Xbox 360 one year earlier in 2005, as the launch hype died down, sales of the console started to pale in comparison to that of the Xbox 360 and Microsoft was bragging big words, while Sony was stuck in a rot. They couldn’t do much because the console was very expensive compared to the competition, and one should never forget about the Wii’s impact.

So it was hard times for the hardware giant. You remember the talk, don’t you? Would PS3 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. Sony tried hard to spread the message “It Only Does Everything” but most gamers didn’t want the other features…. they wanted to play games! Sony couldn’t break through. “Damn it! I told you all never put too much trust in the consumer,” barked a no name exec who tried adding a dose of reality in the heads of Ken Kutaragi and Kaz Hirai while PS3 discussions were happening before the console launched, but they didn’t listen to him.

“Ken Kutaragi should step down immediately!”

Silence. Sony was looking for someone to blame, someone to fire – the scapegoat, and with Kutaragi being the father of PlayStation, having more say than anyone else in its development, he fell. He’d said some damning things too: Gamers should find “second jobs”, he once argued, to him, PS3 is worth it. He also wrote off Microsoft’s Xbox 360 as a waste of time, and felt it’d be no competition. Big mistake.

Doom and gloom articles from media outlets persisted. In fact it got so bad that Sony fans formed a group called the SDF or Sony Defense Force to troll websites and protect the PS3 from bad press. Something made for the movies. But that was then.

GamesCom 2009

So from 2006 until 2009, people cried about the PS3′s price, but then came GamesCom 2009. There, Sony unveiled the redesigned PS3 known as PS3 Slim, and gave the console and PlayStation brand a fresh, slick look. The press went bunkers over the news, and sales of the console started to pick up, outselling 360 in all regions bar the U.S. Things started to get interesting, PS3 sales were skyrocketing and exclusive after exclusive was being released. PSN grew even bigger and ostensibly the playing field was leveled. That, however, wouldn’t last long…

Microsoft Unveils Xbox 360 Slim At E3 2010

Microsoft has tried its best to stay ahead of Sony because it knows the company from the land of the rising sun has more experience in the industry, and a more recognizable brand. So staying ahead is crucial, and once Redmond saw the PS3′s sudden rise, it had to take action. Last year at E3, Microsoft showed off for the first time Xbox 360 Slim and long story short, the console’s been sailing, sales-wise, especially in the U.S. It’s beating all systems in the U.S. and has grown a massive install base there, then last year November Kinect was released, and the motion control device went on to become the fastest selling electronic device in history, carrying Xbox 360 along for the ride. But PS3 persisted.

Install Base And Exclusives

While Xbox 360 shined bright in the U.S., PS3 was shining bright all over the world, especially Japan and Europe. Now, the console base of PS3 matches the Xbox 360′s, with both topping 50 million units sold. PS3 is doing fantastic. And we should not forget the great amount of exclusives the console has. I’m not going to name the vast amount of them because we’re well aware, but they’ve help Sony sell the PS3 as the go-to for great gaming, it seemed for a while that most news was about Sony games… Again, the giant was on a roll….and that was just recently. Then this happened:

George Hotz Hacks PS3, Exposes Root Key. Sony Sues, Settle For Permanent Injunction – Hacktivist Group Anonymous Arrives….

That’s basically what happened. Famed iPhone Jailbreaker George (Geohot) Hotz cracked the PlayStation 3, exposed its root key for the world to see, a move that, if left unfixed, would cause rampant piracy on the console – so Sony took action. It was a bitter battle, but in the end, Sony got Hotz to settle, with courts granting the firm a permanent injunction against him, meaning he wouldn’t tether with any of Sony’s products ever again.

Hacktivist group Anonymous thought Sony went too far, and since then, they’ve been trying hard to do damage to the company….Sony just can’t seem to catch a break!

They tried DDOS, a technique which floods your URL with unwanted traffic causing it to slow to a crawl. That didn’t work as Sony employed an outside firm to block those attacks. Then they tried Sony store sit-in around the globe but that also flopped, and one protester ended up purchasing a Sony Bravia Telly. But things have gotten worse: Although the group’s not claiming responsibility for the latest PSN attacks, suspicions run deep, and as PSN has suffered its most severe attack since launch, we’re left wondering what’s really going on…..

No access, errors – sometimes even the PlayStation Blogs are unaccessible. Where will this go next? We don’t know for sure, but there’s one thing that’s for sure, For Sony, it’s been Agony.

When it rains, it pours…..

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Author: Ernice Gilbert View all posts by
Ernice Gilbert here. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Gamesthirst. Thanks for stopping by, make yourself at home!

6 Comments on "Agony: Sony’s Seventh Generation PlayStation Story"

  1. afrotravis April 23, 2011 at 10:42 am -

    nice read on a saturday morning…

  2. Ernice Gilbert April 23, 2011 at 11:25 am -

    Thanks, bro!

  3. Dean Kent April 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm -

    great piece EG
    ….really good read

  4. nick April 24, 2011 at 4:06 am -

    one thing sony seriously need to do is a security tight up.
    the programming errors they made which lead to the reveal of the keys.
    the programming errors they have made which caused anyone who replaced their HDD to get into a infinite loop, and if you rang sony about this they charged 100 bucks to fix it even though its their stuff up!
    the leaks of their service dongles.
    the leaks of their SDKs.
    the leaks of god knows how many dev consoles ending up on ebay.
    the leak of the PSP GO.
    the leak of the PS3 slim.
    the leak of PS+.
    my lord, sony have more leaking problems then the titanic!
    i just cant understand how one of the worlds largest electronic companies can have such piss poor security!
    its because there too tight a$$, thats the problem they try and save a buck wherever they can instead of spending it striving for quality.
    thats really starting to show, especially in there TVs.
    5 years ago, bravias were heads and shoulders above the competition!
    comparing a bravia to another TV like panasonic or samsung was like comparing a Ferrari to a Ford.
    no comparison!
    now its pretty much the same, but in the opposite direction!
    bravias use to kick the royal …. out of the competition!
    now its quite the opposite, especially samsung and panasonic!
    panasonics KURO TVs look so amazing when i first saw it i rushed downstairs, opened up the phone book, and rang a optometrist!
    it looks that good!
    shame they dont make them any smaller then 50 inches, really wanted to get one but theres no way ill fit a 50 inch into the room.

  5. Ernice Gilbert April 24, 2011 at 6:41 am -

    Yeah Nick, I agree. Sony needs to do a way better job with Security. Shameful, all this.

  6. rpatricky April 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm -

    If you give people enough time they can do anything. How long was the PS3 out before it got hacked? How long was the 360 out before it got hacked?
    I agree that they need to better evolve their security to suit the times but at the same time there will always be someone who can get around it.
    Better security leads to better hackers…or at least more aggressive ones.

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