Sony's tumble from 'top dog'
a long time coming
By Mack Perry
October 2, 2007 | It wasn't very long ago that multimedia
conglomerate Sony held complete dominion over the video
The company's iron grip could easily be attributed
to the fact that the Playstation 3's predecessors were
two of the most successful video game consoles in the
history of the medium. By taking advantage of the CD-ROM
format while competitors relied on the dated storage
capabilities of the cartridge, and securing the exclusivity
of a bevy of popular franchises including the "Tekken,"
"Final Fantasy," and "Metal Gear" series, the original
Playstation managed to dethrone Nintendo as the system
of choice for both hardcore and casual gamers. And to
say that the console's enduring follow-up has one of
the largest and varied collections of triple-A titles
to grace a game console is a vast understatement. The
big bad corporation had trounced the smaller, more specialized
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
When the Playstation 3 finally launched during the
2006 holiday season, the corporate dynamo dropped the
ball. Big time. Despite popular demand and the claim
that 400,000 units would be shipped, Sony did not meet
their shipping quota and only 40 percent of that amount
appeared in stores when the system was released.
But because the console's price tag was so high (more
than $600 for the premium set) and the system lacked
any noteworthy launch titles, the fact that there were
fewer systems at launch didn't really seem to matter.
With a growing library of critically acclaimed titles
like "Gears of War" and "BioShock," the Xbox 360 became
the system of choice for hardcore gamers while the innovative
controls and the modest price of the Nintendo Wii insured
the system's place as an accessible venue for more casual
And, nearly one year after launching, the Playstation
3 still does not have one killer app title or a respectable
user base in order to realistically compete with Nintendo
and Microsoft. And a recently mishandled price drop
fake-out certainly hasn't helped matters.
Some would say, after a seemingly unending series
of alienating public relations moves, that the defeat
of this electronic empire was a long time coming. Ever
since the Playstation 2 was first announced, Sony has
developed a reputation for displaying extreme overconfidence
in their company's success and exaggerating the features
of their products. The company originally claimed the
Playstation 2 would be capable of displaying visuals
on par with Pixar's "Toy Story," a feat that it certainly
did not live up to. This trend continued when the company
began marketing the Playstation 3 and finally peaked
when Jack Tretton, Sony's chief of operations, denied
that the company made any mistakes during the launch
and attributed customer backlash to people "creating
stories" because the company hadn't "slipped up" yet.
Between the pricing of the Playstation 3, failing
to provide enough units at launch, failing to deliver
competitive software, and outright denying their mistakes,
it would seem that the Sony's collective audaciousness
may finally result in the company's undoing.