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Clark Kent
05-26-2005, 10:27 PM
I found this at another message board. It's a long read, but it's a good one. Everything said holds a lot of water, and is something I've been saying.



In the past week, Sony’s strategy for the upcoming console war has become clear….actually, it was pretty clear to some people as soon as MS let the existence of the 360 leak at GDC this past January. It became very clear that Sony was going to be late to market, and they knew it. MS had quietly shipped dev kits out early in 2004, and Sony got caught a little flatfooted. They scrambled to get their dev kits ready for developers (Epic, for example, only just got theirs in March). Some Sony developers apparently still don’t have kits yet.

Sony is faced with a well-funded, software-intensive opponent who has proven they can have a “triple-A killer app system-seller” at a system launch. This opponent has 160 games in development and has the intention to stick around for the long term (and the money to do so). So what can Sony do to stop them?

The same way bad politicians get themselves reelected: Manipulate the media to do your marketing work for you.

OK, MS does it too, but they are far more obvious about it. The MTV special was a prime example. But if you tuned into that show not expecting to see hype and marketing at work….well, if you did that, you probably lack the literacy or attention span to read this whole post (sincere apolgies for the length…I was bored and I’m practicing my essay skills. Sue me.).

But buying a block on VH1 or G4 won’t work for Sony. It’s just way too obvious. They need to attack strong and swift, yet not show themselves as TOO aggressive lest people think it’s all pea-style bluster. So what they really need to do is to get the media to do their promotional work for them, and win the public mindset without even having a working product on the show floor.

I bet they looked back to E3 2001 and took a look at how Microsoft handles a system launch (they are smart, after all, and it’s what smart people would do). If they watched, they would have seen that Microsoft, as a software company, was ill-equipped for show business. Demos ran at poor framerates and generally looked bad….it hardly looked like there would be any decent games at launch. MS got a “D” from EGM based on their E3 showing on 2001. Then came the launch, bristling with system-seller Halo and solid titles like DOA3 and Oddworld. MS likes to go low-profile then wow you once you see things in action (which is how they got my business), but before the final product actually shows up, they don’t look so hot.

So the opponent, if not actually weak, will at least APPEAR weak at E3, and since that’s where the media is, that is where Sony chose to strike. They know that the people smart enough to ask the right questions about whether a demo is “real” or not are generally nowhere near the cameras and microphones, and they used this to their advantage.

So it was at the press conference they advanced the Big Lie, which is composed of two parts.

Big Lie Part 1: We are waaaaaaay more powerful than our competition.

This one was a no-brainer. Sony won the last round in spite of a horsepower disadvantage to MS, but they were well entrenched in the marketplace by the time MS hit the market. Their original competitor, Sega, withered in the face of a blitz of fancy imagery and “more power” claims laid out on impressive-looking spec sheets. The truth was that Sony launch titles looked barely better - or in some cases worse - than Dreamcast titles, in spite of what was supposed to be a significant power edge, but Sony had successfully sold “more power”, and gamers bought into it. Sega, practically broke and with no third-party support, couldn’t afford any significant advertising to counter the Sony hype machine. Much later, it was found that the 75 million polygons per second that Sony had claimed for the PS2 on their original spec sheet was actually closer to 7 million in actual applications, but by then, everyone already had a PS2 and no one cared they had stretched the truth.

What Sony learned was that if you can make people think your console is going to be significantly more powerful, they will wait for you to get to market. They also learned that people like to hear impressive numbers, and it doesn’t matter if you can actually deliver on them or not. So it is you get wild performance claims about the Cell that may or may not bear any resemblance to how it will perform in the final product. No one can really dispute them because no one really knows any better.

But it isn’t enough to simply TELL people you are more powerful. They will demand “proof”. Since your opponent will be showing actual works in progress, which as anyone who has followed the industry knows makes games look worse than the final product, counter with a little showbiz magic that “SHOWS” people how much more powerful you really are. After all, “seeing is believing”, and most of the people in the media don’t know to ask if it’s real or not. I do not believe for a second that most members of the non-gaming media are “industry savvy” enough to realize how unfair it is to compare a real game in progress to someone’s CGI fantasy. But that is what Sony wanted, and that is what they got. Killzone was being compared to Need for Speed, apple to apple.

The more perceptive in the gaming media will think to ask about it, and look into it, and get specific information, read between the lines of the “representation of the look and feel” or “to system specs” marketing doublespeak, and report the truth….but by then, the mainstream media will consider E3 old news, and the general idea “twice as powerful” will be ingrained into the public mindset.

So phase one has already been accomplished. Now you have to promote Big Lie, Part 2, which is to promote the idea that you are much farther along in production than you actually are.

First, the history: After Sega folded the tent, Sony had the whole marketplace to themselves for nearly a year. In that time, the software lineup got up to speed, and by the time MS and Nintendo showed up, they had 100 games out, among them Gran Turismo 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Devil May Cry, and Final Fantasy 10. They won the last round because they had a strong foothold in the marketplace and a large library of quality titles when their main competition launched. It was over before it even began.

Looking at MS, Sony realized that the tables could very well be turned this time around. Sony would be the ones arriving late, and MS had shown they could produce “system seller” software right off the bat. The promise of more power might wilt under a constant barrage of quality software. Topping it off, MS developers have had the kits for upwards of a year longer than their PS3 counterparts.

This is a key point, and where, if you apply critical thinking skills, you must reach the conclusion that the claim of a Spring 2006 launch is so much Sony marketing fertilizer. It is generally recognized that the 360 is somewhat easier to program, which means games may be able to be produced a little more quickly. Now, if MS developers have had 12-15 months to work with their development kits as of today, and PS3 developers have only had them for 2-3 months….AND the 360 is easier to program…..then how does Sony figure to have an exclusive launch lineup that’s worth anything 4 months after the 360 launches, when developers have barely had their kits a year? This is especially true when you consider the lack of quality of the PS2 launch lineup (proof of this found here), and the slow flow of software at first. It was 10 months from launch before Gran Turismo, 14 months before Metal Gear Solid, and 16 months until Final Fantasy hit the shelves. Sony got away with it because they had the market to themselves almost the whole time. There was nowhere else for consumers to go.

So, once again, how can Sony deliver a worthy software lineup in March 2006? The answer is simple: They can’t. It is not possible, unless their developers have magically figured out how to cut production times in half on an all-new system. But if they are honest about it and tell people that the really good games won’t hit the shelves until mid-2007, a million gamers or so might figure it’s not worth the wait and get a 360 to “hold them over”. These consumers just might be so impressed with MS they make it their preferred system…and they tell their friends….and suddenly Sony is facing an opponent who is firmly entrenched in the marketplace and the public mindset.

Sony can’t allow this to happen, so the perception must be created that they will be on the store shelves a lot sooner than they actually will. Microsoft must be stopped and stopped early; any momentum in the marketplace is very bad news for Sony. Even if they wind up selling more systems, a strong start by Microsoft may mean the difference between charging $399 for the “superior” system or having to sell it at $299 in order to compete. When you are talking about eventual sales in the tens of millions of consoles, you are looking at a potential loss of over a billion dollars in possible revenue.

Now do you understand why Sony is lying to consumers?

The CGI fantasy sequences do double-duty in this case. They provide the impression of power and near-completion in one neat stroke. Hey, if they’ve got “realtime” stuff that looks that good, they must be damn near ready to launch, right? Heck, Killzone 2 practically looked ready to go tomorrow….bring it on! This is what the Sony fanboys and the unsavvy civilian press will think and report back to their sheep…and as for the gaming press, most of what I’ve seen after E3 suggests to me that a large portion of them clearly don’t understand the industry very well.

So the Big Lie takes the form of “Spring 2006″, which many people would interpret to mean that in March or April they’ll be playing MGS4 and watching Blu-Ray movies on a PS3. I have seen media reports suggesting it will be out in the US as early as March, so the “coming very soon” message got through. But if the games aren’t there (and I just gave some pretty strong evidence that they won’t), Sony gets eviscerated in the marketplace, period. So Spring is an utter fantasy…maybe in Japan, given Sony likes to “beta” its hardware in Japan (who are more likely to be forgiving of flaws in the hometown product) and the potential for bugs in something that packs in this much shiny new high-tech stuff has to be pretty high. Add to this that summer is a horrible time to launch a video game system, and I can practically guarantee you won’t see a non-grey market PS3 for sale in the US until September 2006 at the earliest. They did the same thing back in 1999-2000, delaying the US launch several times until it finally arrived in the Fall. I can foresee the same thing happening again this time.

I predict Sony will announce this delay in mid-to-late January. Any earlier and they provide 360 with a sales boost in the holidays. Any later and it becomes obvious that they are stalling for time.

The reason they can get away with this is because of a psychological phenomenon called “buy-in”. All buy-in means is that once you’ve invested a little time or money into something, it’s a lot easier to justify spending a little more to get what you want. Once people have already waited two months, it makes it easier to wait a little longer until E3…at which time Sony is free to try their luck with another smoke-and-mirror show. If they can convince people who have already waited seven months that they’ll deliver the software at launch, those people will wait the additional four months with no problems. Given the way people reacted to last week’s show, that’s going to be a piece of cake.

Is Sony going to get away with the Big Lie? In one sense they already have, because the “twice as powerful” and “will be here in early 2006″ ideas have already permeated the mainstream media. Microsoft got the worst grades coming out of E3, and Sony got the best. Mission accomplished….partially.

The problem, though, is that this time they actually have to deliver on the promises they’ve made in a timely manner, or people will call them on their BS. Unlike 2000, they don’t have the luxury of having the marketplace to themselves for 14 months. In the very least, Microsoft will have four months alone on the shelves to make an impression, which in all likelihood will be much closer to ten months to a year. A poor launch lineup, significant delays in major software titles (likely if the PS3 turns out to be difficult to get a handle on, as was the PS2), production difficulties, a major format war with DVD/HD, bugs in the Cell or Blu-Ray….the number of potential pitfalls is enormous. Then they have MS, who just might come up with enough great games this time to carve deeply into their market share….maybe not enough to win, but enough to make it hurt their bottom line in a major way.

So, did Sony lie and get away with it? Yes. Is the console war over before the first one is even manufactured? Not by a long shot.

jnewmant
05-27-2005, 03:26 AM
good read, but i'm still going to buy a PS3 regardless, i just don't care for XBox and i'm pretty pumped about blu ray, one thing i have heard though is that the new blue ray is causing the system to overheat pretty easily and if i can't play it for longer than 30min. i may be forced to go with an Xbox or maybe a Revolution.

Deus Ex Dolphin
05-27-2005, 10:48 AM
good read, but i'm still going to buy a PS3 regardless, i just don't care for XBox and i'm pretty pumped about blu ray, one thing i have heard though is that the new blue ray is causing the system to overheat pretty easily and if i can't play it for longer than 30min. i may be forced to go with an Xbox or maybe a Revolution.


And Sony thanks you. No matter if it isn't as powerful as Sony claims, doesn't launch until late 2006, has heating problems?

If you could play for ONE hour, without overheating, that is good enough to you? :eek:

I'm teasing a bit here, but it matches well the point of the above article. Sony must rely on consumers ignoring any problems and buying into the Playstation name once again.

BTW, the first I've heard about heating issues.

Miami 13
05-27-2005, 12:30 PM
There is no heating issue. And i will be 100% definatley be buying the PS3 over the XBox 360.

Agent51
05-27-2005, 09:43 PM
good read, but i'm still going to buy a PS3 regardless, i just don't care for XBox and i'm pretty pumped about blu ray, one thing i have heard though is that the new blue ray is causing the system to overheat pretty easily and if i can't play it for longer than 30min. i may be forced to go with an Xbox or maybe a Revolution.

I'm a Sony guy myself (but I do own both and Xbox and a PS2) and I remember when XBox first came out there was overheating rumors surrounding it and even stories of them catching on fire. Just a bunch of rumors. I never really cared for the XBox, in fact, I bought it when it first came out and actually sold it like 3 weeks later because I hated it, then I just rebought one a few months ago for Halo 2, but I will buy the XBox 360. I DEFINATELY like PSs WAY better than XBoxes, but both are good systems and worth owning, as will the next generation of them be. Nintendo however, screw them, lol. I HATED gamecube with a passion, so much that I wouldn't even touch the controller ever again after the first time I played it, so I'm not even giving the Revolution a second thought.

wazzy
05-27-2005, 09:51 PM
Sega needs to come out with a system I loved Sega Dreamcast but since there not I'm a Sony person

Predaphin
05-27-2005, 10:52 PM
I'm really looking foward to buying a PS3, but with all the bad reviews, It's begging to make me think twice...I'm a PS guy, never liked the Xbox...This is really making me think of whether or not I should trust any new system at al (dont get me wrong, im going to buy either one regardless)

rafael
05-28-2005, 03:13 PM
I'm really looking foward to buying a PS3, but with all the bad reviews, It's begging to make me think twice...I'm a PS guy, never liked the Xbox...This is really making me think of whether or not I should trust any new system at al (dont get me wrong, im going to buy either one regardless)

I haven't heard a single bad review. All I've heard is people saying the graphics look great but it must be a lie. On the other hand, everybody seems underwhelmed by Xbox and it's supporters are trying to convince the world that Microsoft is just holding back or always under-promises. That fact is that based on what we've seen thus far the PS3 kicked Xbox's ***. The only hope for Xbox is that what we saw for PS3 was fake.

ohall
05-28-2005, 03:35 PM
Things aren't as rosey for PS3 as they were 2 weeks ago.

Looks like 360 will have a good head start and eat up a lot of market share. That is very difficult for any company to over come. But if there is a company out there to over come it that company has to be Sony.

Only time will tell.

Alien
05-28-2005, 10:46 PM
but, the ps3 is already more popular than the xbox 360, people WILL wait for the ps3, if xbox was coming out 3 months after ps2 i think xbox wouldve kicked some a$$

mor911
05-29-2005, 01:45 PM
Awesome post Hostile.... I think the differences between the 360 and the PS3 are gonna be much smaller than people think.

Clark Kent
05-29-2005, 07:43 PM
http://www.armchairempire.com/Interviews/j-allard-xbox-360.htm


Q: What do you think about Sony’s hardware?

Allard: I think they’ve mislead people being very specific about certain numbers in the press conference on Monday. We’re launching a product campaign, they’re launching a political campaign. They were clearly responsive to the system that we’ve designed. At the end of the day, our transistor count and their transistor count – about the same. Then you have to dig to the next level. We have a unified memory architecture. We didn’t tell developers how to split it, [Sony] split it. Every one of our developers might split it right down the middle but who knows. In terms of through-put and performance, they talk about 2X the floating point performance. That’s not right. They neglected to mention that we have about 3X integer performance. They further neglected to mention that 80% of games construction mix is integer and 20% is floating point so when you weight it out, we’ve actually tuned it a little bit better. In the end, it’s basically a wash. I look at it and say it’s a wash. You can make the case for us, you can make the case for them. We’ll publish a bunch of details so you guys can all speculate but it’s basically a wash. But I can say there’s will be harder to program for. And we’re going to have better software support. Both of these machines are so sophisticated that theoretical performance doesn’t matter – what matters is how much of that performance can be unlocked. The key to unlocking performance [of the hardware] is software.




This is part of an interview with Jay Allard. He was the douche bag wearing a sports jacket and hoodie during the microsoft press confrence. He seems like an OK guy, but that just bothered me. You work for Microsoft, and you're not a "skater" or "punk rocker."

Anyway, this is what he says about the PS3. I happen to agree with it, but it's from someone on the payroll of microsoft, so I'm sure some will not give a ****.

mor911
05-29-2005, 07:59 PM
http://www.armchairempire.com/Interviews/j-allard-xbox-360.htm




This is part of an interview with Jay Allard. He was the douche bag wearing a sports jacket and hoodie during the microsoft press confrence. He seems like an OK guy, but that just bothered me. You work for Microsoft, and you're not a "skater" or "punk rocker."

Anyway, this is what he says about the PS3. I happen to agree with it, but it's from someone on the payroll of microsoft, so I'm sure some will not give a ****.

He is a moron to me. But he is smart. MS in general knows what they're doing. He speaks a lot of truth but I'm always watching guys like him. He dresses and carries hiomself like that because he wants to seem homely and friendly.. It's marketing 101. Sony is good at it too. The past shows me that MS tries to be part of your famaily, and Sony lies. They're both good at what they do. Both their systems will be awesome. The only thing I'm a skeptic about, is just how awesome with the PS3 actually be? I have no doubt that it'll be awesome... But I don't care what they say in an interview. I'm not gonna believe that Killzone 2 was actual gameplay until I see a damn controller running it. :D

Clark Kent
05-29-2005, 08:17 PM
He is a moron to me. But he is smart. MS in general knows what they're doing. He speaks a lot of truth but I'm always watching guys like him. He dresses and carries hiomself like that because he wants to seem homely and friendly.. It's marketing 101. Sony is good at it too. The past shows me that MS tries to be part of your famaily, and Sony lies. They're both good at what they do. Both their systems will be awesome. The only thing I'm a skeptic about, is just how awesome with the PS3 actually be? I have no doubt that it'll be awesome... But I don't care what they say in an interview. I'm not gonna believe that Killzone 2 was actual gameplay until I see a damn controller running it. :D

Sony danced around the whole "Is Killzone realtime or not?" question so much. It's obvious it wasn't...

Sony's developers got the dev kits either 3 weeks or 3 months ago (reports vary, but Epic games said they got theirs a month before E3). How is it they've come that far? Developers for Gears of War says it takes 6 weeks to get the details into every character, nevermind a 3 min "real time" video.

I have no doubt the PS3 will be a good system (as was the PS2 even though I like MS exclusives better) but the lies and BS is getting old. Anyone remeber the all mighty PS2? It was said to be twice as powerful as it really was, and Dreamcast owned it. Unlike Nintendo, they couldn't survive without 3rd party support.

mor911
05-29-2005, 08:19 PM
the lies and BS is getting old.
Genius words spoken from a genius :D

Clark Kent
05-29-2005, 08:26 PM
Genius words spoken from a genius :DI like to think so:roflmao: