Monday, October 08, 2007


Ah, Playstation 3 marketing- the crux of every marketer's "not to do" list. Recently, there were inklings of Sony making a "Big Bang" announcement regarding its PS3- which were promptly shot down by Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe (SCEE). Lest I remind you, they (SCEA/SCEE) consistently attempt to cover up announcements like this, so don't buy into their response too easily.

Next, people reported new SKU#'s popping up in retail store catalogs described as- you guessed it!- a $399 40GB PS3 models!

And now, presumably feeling that their surprise was out of the bag, Sony is saying the 40GB model will lack backwards compatibility. Wait, WHAT?!

If lacking backwards compatibility sounds trivial to you, consider these figures: There's 1,700+ Playstation 2 games out now with plenty still in development. Sony quotes a 90% backwards compatibility count. Playstation 3, however, offers a meager 65 games, a handful of which people actually consider "good."

Sony's saying: In buying our new 40GB console, you're being locked out of our previous hit games, but trust us... our great games are just around the corner!

But wait- here's the irony. Recalling back to 2006 in a GamePro interview, Sony's Phil Harrison said "Backwards compatibility, as you know from PlayStation One and PlayStation 2, is a core value of what we believe we should offer. And access to the library of content people have created, bought for themselves, and accumulated over the years is necessary to create a format. PlayStation is a format meaning that it transcends many devices -- PSOne, PS2, and now PS3."

Joystiq puts it best: "A little over a year and 'core values' go right out the window."

There has been confirmation that hardware in the Playstation 3 has been removed from the 40GB version to make production cheaper, so a firmware add-in is impossible. Bafflingly, there will still be continued backwards compatibility support for the 60/80GB PS3 models (I thought this was a huge cost?).

So, Big Bang announcement or no, there's an interesting month ahead of Playstation 3. Christmas is coming up, and this is the worst time of year to get bad publicity. Keep your ears open October 12th for that bang- hopefully for Sony, it won't be the sound of Playstation's sales (and/or reputation) crashing.

No comments: