Why Sony and Playstation is not doomed

Over the last year or so I’ve noticed a trend in predictions and conjecture regarding the future of gaming, that is, Sony either isn’t a part of it, or it won’t be for very long. This kind of doom and gloom is not exactly uncommon, and certainly not exclusive to Sony, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a gamer that thinks they haven’t received the bulk of it recently. I think a lot of it is understandable and some completely reasonable, but it’s a glass-half-empty perspective that’s largely unfair. Here’s why I think Sony isn’t doomed, and why the PS4 is in a much better position than you might think:

The PS3 launched at $500-600 with hardly a compelling exclusive a year after the 360 launched for $300-400, and yet that initial laughable cock-up of a console is going to pass 70M in sales and it outsells the 360 (Total sales divided by years on market). I think that’s a testament to just how powerful the Playstation brand is, and just how relevant it is. Sony can utterly and completely mess up the launch of a console, and then it goes on to sell 70M. That not only shows the brand is powerful, but that when Sony does something right, it can be incredibly effective. It took an enormous effort to turn the PS3 around, and that kind of leadership and talent is going to be developing and planning the release and life-cycle of the PS4. To me, that’s exciting. That’s promising.

Now, although the PS3’s situation has been turned around to become a flourishing money-making console equipped with a rich library of games and dedicated community, it’s still never going to fully make up for the billions spent in R&D. This is a problem that I think will be absent in Sony’s future console releases; With the PSVita Sony have showed they have a new, great hardware strategy.

PSV is a fantastic piece of hardware. It’s powerful, it’s sexy, it’s functional and it doesn’t cost 2 jobs and a kidney on the black market to
buy. The only extravagant part of it is the OLED screen, the rest is sensible and effective. It takes a small loss, and will make up for all costs (R&D + initial loses) in 3 years, predicted by Sony. Now, of course, the Vita is selling like garbage, but that can be attributed almost absolutely to software support, or lack thereof and the total opposite situation for it’s closest competitor, the 3DS, which has a great catalogue of titles. Lack of software support is a problem that’s never existed on a Sony home-console and though it’s still a potential problem, it’s a mistake Sony can now learn from, just as they learned a lesson about hardware with the PS3.

I have one more thought on the topic, and it’s one element of Playstation that people seem to gloss over or underestimate. It’s the extensive first-party and second-party infrastructure. While a couple studios have been closed in the past year, it’s strongest have only strengthened and expanded, it’s experimenting with indie studios and it’s building more and arguably better relationships than Microsoft or Nintendo with it’s 2nd party studios.  There are 3-game deals with smaller indie developers, there’s creative freedom given to developers, there’s mutual understanding between Sony the publisher and Sony the developer. Naughty Dog, one of Sony’s most valuable developers now has 2 teams, and has the potential to release a game every year, or 2 out of every 3 years, a subtle but smart move by Sony. There’s without a doubt been management issues with Japan Studio this gen, but lately they’ve been releasing and have planned a steady stream of games – a great sign.

So there you have it, those are my thoughts on the subject. In a nutshell I think Playstation is in a better position than most think, and they’ve made great, promising strides in the last 5 years. What do you think? Tell us in the comments!


10 Comments on Why Sony and Playstation is not doomed

  1. Pretty sure they are doomed. PS3 seems to have not made a profit in a while, Vita still struggling, and their other sectors are collapsing. Nintendo was lucky. They had Mario right off the bat. Then they had Zelda, and Donkey Kong, etc.

    I will believe the stream of games when I see it.

    • That is so misinformed it is astonishing. The PS3 has been making a profit after 2009. I know for 2010 they made 429 million in profit and that has increased for 2011 and 2012 probably. So how has it not made a profit in a while? Yes the vita is struggling but it has a lot of awesome games on the way to help it along with them not losing money on it considering it is 250 dollars plus expensive memory cards. Don’t listen to all the misinformed doom and gloom articles so you don’t have to spread false facts.

    • Well, the PS3 has been making money since 2010. And Sony now has a lot of developers working on titles we know nothing about, and Guerilla has even put up a job ap mentioning “next gen home console”, so I think it’s obvious they have quite a lot of games in the works for the PS4.

  2. I tend to agree with your points. Sony have done a fine job with the ps3 after the initial launch. I am not so sure about the psv though. While the psp was fairly meh it was very strong in Japan on account of MH and this kept its numbers higher (though not as high as the DS). Now they dont even have that and none of the games out right now are what I would call killer apps since they havent lead to a significant increase in sales. This may change with a price drop but we will have to see.

    Focusing on sony’s survivability, you have not addressed the main problem. Gaming is only a small part of sony’s entire operation and while the gaming arm is doing very well the rest of sony isnt. If sony falls it wont be because of gaming related losses but because of losses in the other areas and the gaming section is too small to offset those losses. So in spite of what the playstation brand does, sony is still at risk of going under if it doesnt start turning a profit soon. Hopefully the ps4 when it comes out will inject some more hype for sony and of course they have just started the xperia line as theirs wholly owned so fingers crossed they may be able to turn things around.

  3. Sony needs to GTFO of business and fast. Bunch of lying hypocrits that do nothing but overhype and don’t deliver on it. F off $ony, you won’t be missed by intelligent people!

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