Sony, a Fiasco in the Making? - The PlayStation Three: Hype or for Real?
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The PlayStation brand has been one of the most wildly successful video game console brands ever, overturning giants such as Nintendo and being one of the factors that sent SEGA packing -- and that was just the original 32 bit Sony PlayStation! The PlayStation Two was one of the most anticipated game consoles ever, and there are indications that the PlayStation Three is playing along the same lines. While it is already in the stores in the US (if you dare to brave the lines), even if you have registered for it, you might have to wait a few months before you get one!
Despite the success of the PlayStation One and Two, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) has been sluggish in terms of sales. Financial analysts Goldman Sachs hinted that the PSP may be affecting Sony's earnings. It would seem ridiculous to write off Sony based on just the PSP, but let's look at the PlayStation Three before we go to the case of their batteries.
The release of the PlayStation Three has being plagued with several problems, with Sony moving the release date twice. Though it looks like the company finally met its November 17th release date in the US and November 11th in Japan, rumors of limited supplies have inspired insane lines. These dates were set strategically so as to ensure that they are in the running with Nintendo's Wii and the options that will come out for the Xbox 360 (an external HD DVD drive). Sony also announced prices of the PlayStation Three in Japan for US$426, and enhancements such as an HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) port as standard in their lower range 20 GB PlayStation Three.
During the Tokyo game show in September, Sony PlayStation Three consoles on display suffered from overheating problems. The resulting bad press had Sony explaining the overheating as being due to poor ventilation in the enclosed spaces that housed the score of consoles. Okay, that's good enough. But such bad news that close to the release date caused Sony's stock price to fall. "It's not a problem with the PlayStation 3 unit itself," said Nanano Kato, a spokeswoman for Sony, claiming that there was nothing technically wrong with the console.
The projections for the PlayStation are bullish, with Sony sticking to plans to ship over six million units before end of March 2007. Nobody is going to rain on the PlayStation parade, or will they?
At US$599 for the 60 GB high end PlayStation Three and US$499 for the 20 GB low end (US prices), the Nintendo Wii will be priced lower than the PlayStation. This may cause problems for Sony as the video game community is leery of the exorbitant price tag place on the PlayStation; hopefully it will not dissuade too many buyers. If Sony can survive its pricing scheme and doesn't have to recall PlayStations, all should be well with the brand.
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