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PlayStation (Games) Sony Games

PS4: What Sony Should and Shouldn't Do 406

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-sell-them-at-a-massive-loss dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "As a follow-up to his piece on Xbox 720, veteran games journalist Chris Morris has put together some thoughtful advice on what Sony needs to do (and needs to avoid) to ensure that the next generation PlayStation is a success. In particular, Morris notes that Sony must 'look beyond games' to create a fully fledged entertainment hub: 'Nintendo has been pretty adamant that it has little interest in content beyond games. Microsoft seems to be rushing to embrace the set top box world. Sony, though, seems a bit confused about what it wants.'"
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PS4: What Sony Should and Shouldn't Do

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  • Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @07:54PM (#38732802)
    Knowing Sony, it will come with a module that lets them remotely disable pieces of hardware.
  • Rule #1: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoldySpore (1280634) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @07:55PM (#38732812)

    Don't advertise features that you may later remove completely

    While I was not one of the ones who missed the OtherOS feature, for some it was a huge deal. I would hope the uproar over losing this option will teach Sony not to include and make light of large feature sets that they wind up removing later, after the fact. Regardless of what that feature may or may not be, I don't think it is cool to remove stuff that originally came with the system. I don't think anyone wants to see features disappear from a piece of hardware they own just because they want to stay up to date with the latest firmware/updates, and that doesn't just go for PS4 either.

  • by A12m0v (1315511) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @07:56PM (#38732818) Journal

    Never release another console for $599. How can posters here forget the real problem the PS3 had, especially at launch?

  • Customer Service (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:01PM (#38732880)

    Sony should remember it is there to provide customers with what they want and are willing to pay for, rather than there to wage war on them.

  • by MoldySpore (1280634) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:01PM (#38732892)

    Agreed. This was the biggest reason I didn't get a PS3 until almost 4 years into it's launch. I simply couldn't justify paying that much. Especially after they dropped the backward compatible model and removed the other OS feature. Waited til I saw the slim version for close to $200 before taking the plunge.

    Also, with the exception of Final Fantasy, every game I wanted to play was on the PC in higher resolution and the ability to mod. To be honest, even Final Fantasy might not be enough to get me to purchase a PS4 (sadly FF13 was the reason I got a PS3, and it sucked...).

  • by bonch (38532) * on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:19PM (#38733108)

    Just in case you missed it with the howling of "hardcore gamers" and fanboys, the Wii thoroughly flogged them.

    The Wii's sales began to significantly drop several years ago. Last May, sales were down 38% year-over-year and fell to record lows in Japan. Before you claim that its due to lifespan, the PS2 is still selling like hotcakes. 3DS sales rose 260% after the price drop but were still less than the DS's sales in the comparable time period a year prior (which shows you just how much of a flop the 3DS was at release). And the 3DS's battery life is still absurdly short.

    I just have to disagree that Nintendo is "in no danger," especially after the lackluster reception the Wii U received, but if there's any company whose failure I'm willing to be wrong about, it's Nintendo.

  • by Azuaron (1480137) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:26PM (#38733202)

    Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle? The Wii U didn't grab the same attention that the original Wii did...

    Haha. I remember just before the original Wii came out. The "attention" it garnered was "what's wrong with its name?" and everyone predicted it would bomb. I expect to be saying that same sentence a couple years after the Wii U comes out with very little modification.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:31PM (#38733244) Homepage

    Give it up. I don't love you any more. I don't think I ever did. Every time I tried to love you, you shat on me and expected me to love it. Sony, you are not Apple. Only Apple has the ability to do that. I hope there is no PS4. There doesn't need to be one. And I predict if/when there is, people will not be lining up to get them. They will atttempt to create their artificial shortages to pump up the demand, but they'll find people just aren't interested enough.

  • by Azuaron (1480137) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:37PM (#38733288)

    You apparently haven't looked at hotcake sales for the past decade. You can't move hotcakes. You say you've got some hotcakes for sale, and people are like, "I want ice cream cake!" And then you have to explain that you mean pancakes. But now they just want ice cream cake, or frosted cake, and all you have is syrup-drenched flapjacks.

    It's a sad life being a hotcake salesman, let me tell you.

    All joking aside, citing current PS2 sales is hardly relevant, since the PS3 doesn't have the same kind of record: Nintendo's current generation has beaten the pants of the current generations of Microsoft and Sony, and the Wii U's reception has been similar to that of the Wii months before its release.

    Pretty much, it's impossible to say how well the Wii U is going to sell, and I definitely wouldn't short Nintendo's stock quite yet. They're scrappy, scrappy fighters with a rabid fanbase that has absorbed what was left of Sega's rabid fanbase. That's a lot of rabid.

  • by multiben (1916126) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:41PM (#38733330)
    So you bought a device which was 4 years old and you found that PCs had surpassed it in terms of graphics? Hold the press! Seriously, what did you expect coming to the party that late? Also, how much did you pay for the added games capability on your desktop computer? I would bet that your graphics card alone would have been close to the cost of the console.
  • by Xeranar (2029624) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:49PM (#38734242)

    The top 4 selling games for the Xbox 360 outsold all but 1 PC title ever. Wii sold 7 titles more than any PC title ever. PS2 sold 1 and PS3 has sold none more than any PC title ever. (For Reference the best selling PC game of All-time I could find was Sims 3 at 16M copies [wikipedia.org]) I'm being fair here but the market seems to have spoken that just in current consoles they have PC sales beat hand down. PC gaming is really a mixture of AAA game houses like Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft and much smaller start-ups. It has few middle-sized designers producing for it because they can't afford to invest without a substantial guarantee of return. Consoles offer that. It's why I point out development cost, when you're getting down to indie games where you need less than 25-50 people to develop one of reasonable quality PCs really shine, but they have a huge gap in size and that's where consoles are bread and butter winners because a good ship for a Wii game is a million units while a good ship for a PC game is 100,000. It's a different set of logistics all together.

    As for pricing, 60 bucks is being squeezed out of console players because the distribution system is controlled by a handful of players. Since department stores and discount stores are largely out of it (barring Wal-Mart) gamers get their games in physical locations from less than 3-4 outlets in a given location. They've monopolized the system and have justified the increase in price for profit. PC games are even more limited physically but tend to have a greater expanse online and with the intro of Steam and other competing systems it keeps the price in check.

    As for the main point: Unified architecture means a designer has a target. If a game runs smoothly on a PC with ultra-high-end equipment that's wonderful, how does it play on a 4 year old rig with an AMD Dual-core Athlon II and a x800 video card? They don't have to prepare for multiple dynamics within a video card or CPU or even operating system variances. They simply have to write a game that will be using a PowerPC chip and an ATI or Nvidia custom video chip with a certain amount of Ram. It's the real advantage consoles have and its why every time they fiddle around with a power upgrade option it causes an uproar because usually it's expensive and it means leaving a relatively large portion of users behind. Think of the Sega CD or 32X. They were both perfect examples of upgrading the existing system with new technology and ultimately both failed because they were held back by older architecture and price. The speed we're seeing now though shouldn't be an issue to offer backwards compatibility through emulation for everything though so the need to be "upgradable" is really a limited concept.

  • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:16PM (#38734388) Homepage

    Does anyone else have a nagging feeling that Nintendo is doomed in the next console cycle? The Wii U didn't grab the same attention that the original Wii did, and Nintendo is being attacked on two fronts--the hardcore market with the PS3 and Xbox 360, and casual gaming with the iPhone. Nintendo always had handheld sales to fall back on, but sales of the 3DS have been underwhelming, forcing an early price drop. It seems like Nintendo backed itself into a corner with the Wii, tying the company too intimately with the casual gaming market, whose gamers are fickle and prone to jump onto the next big thing, which turned out to be the iPhone.

    Er, someone already corrected you about the 3DS comment, but I feel the urge to point out that the WIiU's graphics look amazing [youtube.com].

    Here's the nightmare scenario for Microsoft and Sony, and why both of them tried to retrofit motion controls into their console:

    The big joke of the last 3 generations is that Nintendo has put together under-performing hardware. You simply can't run the same amount of processing power on a Wii, Gamecube, etc as you could with comparable consoles. What they do have this generation is something the other two cannot compete with them over -- motion controls.

    Now, the problem facing Sony and Microsoft is that Nintendo can now afford to put out a console with good graphics capability and keep the console very affordable. As any PC gamer knows, game graphics aren't getting any better. A sub $100 card [tomshardware.com] is enough to run video games at a very respectable resolution and quality. You can bump up the AA, the filtering, the resolution by buying a bigger card, but all things considered, we've hit a plateau. What's more, the games aren't even using these advanced cards to their fullest -- and they can't. It's just too expensive to make games with these ultra quality graphics.

    The WiiU will be able to play PC ported games. It will be able to feature match Microsoft and Sony, AND has features they cannot match -- high quality, 3rd generation Motion Controls and an integrated tablet for a second viewport and touch screen gaming.

    So here's the question that the next generation is going to have to answer -- if the WiiU can play the same games as the PS3 / PS4 / XBox 360 / XBox Next, and can play the WiiU exclusive games... Why in the world would you ever buy the more expensive PS4/XBox Next?

  • by rylin (688457) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @02:10AM (#38735224)

    You there, pimple faced 360 fan in the corner.
    Yes, you with your ADHD and twitchy thumbs.

    http://www.metacritic.com/game/wii/the-legend-of-zelda-twilight-princess [metacritic.com]

    http://www.metacritic.com/game/wii/the-legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword [metacritic.com]

    OMG THEY'RE FLOPPING!

    These are adventure games, not heave heavy hardcore action games.
    Take them for what they are, and they're easily best in their class.

  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @03:03AM (#38735500) Journal

    the WIiU's graphics look amazing [youtube.com].

    You haven't seen a PC game in the last 5 years, I take it? Those graphics look pretty average, and I'm very confident the PS4 and next Xbox will be vastly better.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @04:32AM (#38735858)

    The problem is I don't think it's as simple as simple sales rates anymore, with this gen introducing services and other content too, the number of units shifted is a pretty pointless measure of success for a company and acts as little more than a number for fanboys to have a little circle jerk over.

    There's a pretty fair argument that the additional profit from games (higher price point, higher attach rate) for the other two consoles, as well as the income from downloadable game addons, downloadable movies, music, avatars, and all that cruft, and profits from addons (Move/Kinect) as well as service subscriptions themselves (i.e. XBox Live) that Sony and Microsoft have probably actually made more profit than Nintendo despite the lower units sold for Microsoft and Sony's consoles.

    The units sold only matters if you can monetise those units, and Nintendo has out and out failed to do so. Microsoft and Sony have in contrast had solid, and fairly succesful plans.

    I don't even like Sony in the slightest, so it pains me somewhat to offer somewhat of a defence for them, but the fact is whilst Nintendo had the potential to be far and away the winner in terms of profits this console round due to their large install base, they completely failed to take advantage of that, and that, coupled with the early failure of the 3DS (even if it's picking up now) is why Nintendo has struggled financially, the Yen is certainly going to be part the problem, but not to the extent they're claiming. I like Microsoft a bit more, but recognise they still have a long way to go in terms of ethics in some areas.

    It takes more than just shipping a succesful console to have a profitable games console division or business, you need to be able to shift games, and nowadays, many other types of content and subscriptions with it to boot.

    I'd like to see Nintendo thrive, because IMO they're the most ethical of the console manufacturers, and so deserve to based on that, but time and time again they throw their growth away. This is fundamentally the difference between them, and say, Apple over the last few years, Nintendo has all the good will that Apple has (or at least had) and the strong massively loyal fanbase to boot, but whilst Apple has had a handful of failures too, Apple has been far more consistent in it's successes, whilst Nintendo has been painfully inconsistent. They need to maintain the kind of momentum they had when they released the Wii, but instead they keep letting it slip away time and time again. Because I do like Nintendo and think that from a moral point of view they deserve to do well, because they are fairly ethical, it genuinely does pain me to see them keep doing this. It's what I imagine having a daughter, who dates the odd brilliant guy with a phd, and high paying job, that really thinks the world of them, only to keep dumping them for countless douchebags in between must be like- you still love them, but it isn't going to stop you shaking your head in despair and having a go at them when they're being so fucking stupid.

  • by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @07:24AM (#38736622) Homepage

    PC Game graphics have mostly plateaued *due* to the 360 and PS3; almost everything has to have a console version these days so there's little to no incentive to make the PC version look any better than the consoles can manage.

    You only have to look at some of the PC games that *have* gone the extra mile (Witcher 2, Crysis 2 DX11, Deus Ex HR, etc) to see how much better gaming graphics can be when they're not limited by 7 year old console hardware.

  • by jitterman (987991) on Wednesday January 18, 2012 @09:43AM (#38737768)

    ... Mobile gaming and Indie gaming will take its place.

    I'm not entirely sure why this prediction gets made so often. I disagree, based on my personal experience. I have a PC, a Wii, an iPhone and an X360, and use them in that order (with the PC by far being the frontrunner). For my nine-year-old son you can reverse that list, and add the DSi in as second to the XBox. In neither case does the phone (nor the DSi) take precedence over all other items, nor do either of the mobiles entirely displace any of the non-mobiles.

    I certainly enjoy mobile gaming, but it's the five-minute diversion factor that I use it for, whereas the PC and consoles are my five-hours-straight-gaming go-tos. The two fill different needs for me.

    As to indie gaming - as long as it's superb in some manner ("To the Moon" comes to mind) [freebirdgames.com] that's fine. But if it's just shunning major titles to be a digital rebel, well, meh.

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