Sony. Wow. I mean… WOW.

Yesterday Sony announced a few key things:

  1. EUROPEAN PS3 LAUNCH POSTPONED
    They are going to postpone the European launch of the Playstation 3 until March 2007.  This is delayed by 5 months from their original plans to release the PS3 in Europe at the same time as in North America & in Japan – November 15th.
  2. ONLY 500,000 CONSOLES AVAILABLE AT LAUNCH
    They are going to have 400,000 consoles in North America and 100,000 consoles in Japan at launch for a total of 500,000 consoles.  This is down from their original announcement of 2,000,000 consoles at launch in November.
  3. 6,000,000 CONSOLES BY MARCH
    They are still promising 6,000,000 consoles by March 31st, 2007 as originally planned.

That last point is of considerable debate.  The fact that Sony has production bandwidth problems has most people believing that there’s very little chance that they’ll come close to shipping 6,000,000 consoles by the end of March.  Their previous promises and reputation of "exaggeration" doesn’t exactly help either.

But c’mon folks:  A 75% drop in the expected shipments?  No one knows more than we do how hard it is to launch a console worldwide… but at least we never lied about it.  Sony has repeatedly exaggerated, overstated, and broken promises about dozens of aspects about the PS3 and Blu-Ray:

  • The number of Blu-ray players out there at Christmas
  • The nature of the KillZone 2 demo at E3
  • The wireless router capability of the PS3
  • The 50GB capacity of Blu-ray discs which have yet to materialize

…and people still believe them time and again.

This has been a helluva year for Sony to say the least.  I know that Microsoft hasn’t exactly been picture perfect in it’s long and storied history of product development but I can’t remember the last time any company has made so many catastrophic errors in a single year:

  • POOR E3 SHOWING
    Watching Sony’s E3 was downright painful.  Universally acclaimed as the loser in the 2006 E3, Sony managed to completely take out all the steam from the momentum they’d built up since E3 2005 where they came out as the winner, despite having shown fake video rendered demos that they claimed were in-engine play – in particular a much criticized KillZone 2 demonstration that turned out to be a pre-rendered fraud instead of actual gameplay.
  • THE "FIRST" PLAYSTATION 3 DELAY
    Playstation 3 was supposed to ship in April 2006.  It was postponed to November 2006 because Blu-Ray hadn’t come together.
  • BLU-RAY’S LOUSY VIDEO QUALITY
    Blu-ray has been savagely beaten by critics.  The announcement that Blu-ray DVD players would cost $1000 was a shocker, relative to HD-DVD player’s cost of $500.  Blu-ray DVD’s were then discovered to have visibly poorer picture quality than HD-DVD’ discs across the board.
  • PLAYSTATION 3 ANNOUNCED COST
    Sony did something funny:  They announced that the PS3 would be sold for either $500 for the "core" version and $600 for the "premium" version – essentially $200 more than XBox360.  Much to everyone’s exasperated surprise, they dead panned the announcement as if it was an everyday occurance and "no big deal". 
    …then they topped the announcement by having Ken Kutaragi, Sony’s president tell the press that the price of the PS3 was "probably too cheap".
  • PS3 GAMES = $60 OR MORE
    It was announced that PS3 games are going to be a bit pricey.  As in above $60 pricey.  Which is just peachy for PS3 owners than are already shelling out an additional $200 above an Xbox360 begging the question, if a person could get an Xbox360 Premium console + 4 or more games for the $600 that the PS3 will cost… unless you buy the hype that PS3’s first gen games are going to be better than XBox360’s 3rd gen games, why buy a PS3?
  • NO DUAL SHOCK
    Due to a lawsuit with the company hold the IP for vibrating controllers, Sony will no longer be selling vibration-capable controllers.  They instead announced the ability to detect side to side physical "tilt" movement in the controller – a feature met with yawns, after the Nintendo announced full gyroscopic capability.
  • NO HDMI CABLE IN PS3 $600 PACKAGE
    Wow.  Imagine telling everyone that you have to pay a $200 premium over your competitor to buy your console, then telling them that the games will cost more than your competitors… then telling them that to take advantage of one of your most highly touted features – HDMI digital interfacing for hi-def TVs, you’ll need to purchase an additional cable on top of everything else putting the cost at around $650.  Are you frickin’ NUTS?
  • 3 LETTERS:  D-R-M
    Who can forget the fiasco regarding Sony’s rogue DRM rootkit installation that resulted in PC crashes worldwide?  It’s amazing that they thought they’d get away with this without any sort of backlash.  Put that one into the "What were they thinking?" column.

Wired Magazine has a great article about what it is that Sony’s had problems with and what this launch means to Sony as a company.  http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.09/sony.html

All I can say a 75% drop in the number of consoles available at launch is either the worst projection in the history of manufacturing, or the biggest slap in the face of the gaming consumer.

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