PlayStation 3 launch disaster?

The 'queue' for the PS3 at HMVI’ve known for a little while now I wasn’t going to bother with the PS3 unless some truly unique titles come up and the price subsequently drops so buying one at launch was a no-no for me but once I found out only two of my friends were getting them (and I have a lot of geeky friends) I knew Sony were in trouble.

A quick browse shows still have some available, Play have them left, hell even my local HMV here on the tiny island of Guernsey had over 100 unallocated at lunch today and had canceled their midnight launch event – albeit for ‘technical’ reasons.

People on eBay have been finding their pre-order auctions not even meeting their cost price and looking at the negative feedback they are refusing to honor them now.

How could Sony have screwed this up so much? Take your pick:

  • Shafting Europeans with a 33% price increase over the Americans? ($599 vs £425 vs €599) 599 USD = 304 GBP = 449 EUR
  • Cutting backwards compatibility when costs aren’t even passed on to the consumer?

    But as we have made clear before, in the future our resources will be increasingly focused on developing new services and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, rather than on delivering PS2 backwards compatibility.

  • Forcing Europeans to buy the more expensive model – because “that’s what they demand”

    Responding to retail and consumer demand, SCEE confirmed that initially only the 60GB model would be available, with the 20GB model to follow later in the year dependent on demand.

  • Forcing Blu-Ray upon consumers when they have failed with so many proprietary formats already?
  • Repeated delays? 15 March 2005, November 2006, 23 March 2007
  • Nothing worth playing at launch? 27 launch titles, 6 exclusive titles for sale plus Gran Turismo HD Concept free download. Gran Turismo HD Concept looks interesting … but not £425 to play essentially a demo interesting. Resistance: Fall of Man and MotorStorm are the top selling titles with EuroGamer scores of 6 and 8 respectively.
  • Pathetic attempt at on-line service in the face of Xbox Live!?
  • Dropping rumble in exchange for a not-as-good-as-Wii movement sensor?
  • That Sony are so full of themselves they think being expensive is something to be proud of? Jeff Minter, writing in his regular column for Edge, said:

    They seem absolutely certain that even when they say it’s going to be considerably more expensive than existing consoles… nevertheless us eager customers will rush out in droves to buy it because it’s, hey, a new PlayStation.” … “incredibly arrogant.”

Of course it comes down to just one thing: Give people what they want, not what you want them to have.

I doubt Sony can stop their downward trend whilst they exude arrogance that sounds like “you’ll take this and you’ll like it – we’re Sony”.

In order to try and save face Sony performed a PR stunt by giving away 46″ HD TV’s to everybody who brought a PS3 at the Virgin London store. This would hopefully mean the press and sites would write about this instead of poor turnout or nothing at all – a snip at £250,000 to Sony. Check out the BBC, or UK Resistance for coverage of the launch event.


Yeah, pathetic turn-out all round with reports of media outnumbering shoppers at a couple of events, general disappointment and even big venues getting under 100 people. On-line retailers such as Amazon and Play have plenty left.

Last night 50 regional HMV stores were open for midnight launches across the country, and “at least” 1,000 units had been sold, according to Ellis.

…only 100 or so people came to the event, as opposed to the 1,500 or so who queued for a Wii, or the 3,000 who turned up for the World of Warcraft expansion pack


6 responses

  1. Avatar for Debbie Timmins

    There was a huge hype with the release of PlayStation 3. It is the games that makes me want to buy a console. I haven't seen anything yet that even makes me want to purchase the PS3. I own both the PS1 and PS2. I think I will wait... The WII console on the other hand is looking very nice :)

    Debbie Timmins March 23, 2007
  2. Avatar for steve

    I think a hell of a lot of people are waiting for a) the first price cut and b) some better exclusives. I know I certainly am.

    I actually think Home is kinda interesting, and am glad they didn't just try to copy Live. I can't imagine spending a huge amount of time on it though - but the same would go for Xbox Live for me (and PC online gaming which has been around far longer), I'm far less interested in online play than industry pundits say I should be, and I know I'm not the only one - I know a few 360 owners who have never bothered to pay the fee for Live. I think the busier your life is, the less you care about persistent online worlds and competing globally against others.

    To be honest in the last year and a bit nothing has called out strongly enough to make me want to spend my time and money on a 360 (given the other gaming options I already have) so I'll just wait and see.

    steve March 23, 2007
  3. Avatar for Bazlurgan

    Glad to see you're not biased!

    Sorry, but your post just screams X-Box fanboy.

    So far (ignoring the backwards compatibility issue) I've been very impressed with the PS3. I will equally admit that the 360 is also a very capable machine, however, there are no exclusive titles on it that interest me greatly.

    For me, the PS3 is a perfect second console (the Wii still take 1st place in my book).

    BTW, so far as I remember, the 360 launch titles were laughably awful - unless you like racing games (and PGR is really no better than Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast!)

    Bazlurgan March 24, 2007
  4. Avatar for victor

    So much for the PS3 craze! I find the price tag difficult to justify. Is it really worth paying £427 to be able to play what’s currently on offer? I don't care about the blu-ray dvd player gimmick right now. The day I decide to upgrade my dvd player, it'll be with a proper device, not an annoying integrated one which is awful to operate – I never got to enjoy the dvd experience with my ps2 + remote control. Also, why do we have to pay 39% extra than in the US, for a machine with a reduced PS2 backward compatibility, compared with the American PS3? We are being ripped off, Sony is having a laugh, and I’m not surprised the UK and European launch is a flop. Sony, you deserve every bit of it after how you’ve handled this launch: two delays, a stupid price, no choice of version (20gb or 60gb), less PS2 compatibility. After all this, prices will have to come seriously down, and games will have to be amazing for me to buy one. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t any shortage in the high street shops I visited today, only 1 day after launch! I’m now in a better position to chose which next gen. console I’m going for, and it’s got to be the Xbox360, for its games and its friendly price. Sony, good luck, you’re going to need it…

    victor March 25, 2007
  5. Avatar for Damien Guard

    Bazlurgan - I'm by no means an Xbox fanfoy - I gave my original Xbox away because it was terrible and I've played my PS2 more than any other console I've owned. My lounge currently has 360, PS2 and a Dreamcast set-up.

    PGR is a very poor racing game in my opinion - it can't even compete with Gran Turismo 2 in terms of playability.

    You're right there isn't much in the way of 360 exclusives but there are some interesting ones in the pipeline - Shadowrun, Halo 3, Fable 2.

    Don't get me wrong - if you'd asked me 2 years ago what my next console would be it would have been firmly PS3 with no intention to buy a 360.

    It's not Microsoft or Xbox fanboyism that have made me buy a 360 - rather Microsoft delivering a solid product at a good price whilst Sony continually turn me off at every possible avenue.

    Damien Guard March 25, 2007
  6. Avatar for steve

    Interestingly is reporting very strong sales of the PS3 in the first 2 days despite the apparantly poor turnout and remaining stocks.

    My main problem with the 360 is that it's been out for well over a year now without any exclusives that make me want to buy it. Sure they may be coming but so are the PS3 exclusives like Little Big Planet, MGS etc, so the 360 has seemingly wasted that year head start that they had. Really if Sony hadn't helped them out with the price tag on the PS3 and the horrible PR gaffes the 360 would be looking pretty vulnerable right now.

    I still say that we won't see the outcome properly until after Xmas 2007. But I think it would be foolish to write off the PS3 at this stage, as a core product it has an awful lot going for it still once you get past all the crap that's dogged it in the last year. As time goes on it's the core product that's going to become more relevant and the other stuff less so. I'll be watching what happens and making my decision around then I think. Unless LBP comes out and blows me away earlier :)

    steve March 27, 2007