Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sony, PlayStation and its future.

As a note: Sony needs to stop playing that corporate game of discovering the next big thing and become an engineering company again. Without that special sauce of enthusiasm and innovation, it will forever play catchup. If that new big screen tablet is anything to go by...

Time To End All This Doom And Gloom Over Sony And The PlayStation

Sony may be struggling, but the company and its PlayStation brand are a long ways from calling it quits.

One thing I’m absolutely sick and tired of hearing is how Sony is toast, doomed to failure, at the end of the proverbial line.

It’s the hip thing to do, apparently, to predict the end of the PlayStation brand or claim that because the PS3 sold a couple million fewer units than the Xbox 360 (despite its shorter overall run) that the next console from Sony will surely be its last or will come stillborn.
The latest in this long chain of gloom is a piece from Joel Taveras at DualShockers.
Taveras argues that it’s time Sony got out of the hardware business and started focusing on its software.

All those great PlayStation exclusives could get some extra love and Sony would publish all its games on, presumably, Microsoft and Nintendo hardware (and the PC.)
This would put an end to one third of the pesky exclusivity. Xbox owners the world over could finally play God of War and Uncharted.

Of course, Sony exiting the hardware business might cripple their ability to continue making great titles. It might lead to their exit from video games altogether.
Or it might just make Sony the next Sega. You remember them. They used to make consoles, too. Now…
There is a steady spate of articles predicting Sony’s decline and demise, and maybe these are prescient and true. But I very much doubt it.

Sony did quite well with its PS3, selling nearly as many units as Microsoft in a shorter span of time and releasing a healthy number of exclusive IPs, with more on the way.
With the next PlayStation just around the corner, and with more quality Vita games in the works, it’s hard to see Sony in as weak a position as so many believe.

Nor is it likely that Sony would acquire Gaikai and then ditch its hardware. Even though the cloud service will apparently stream games on non-Sony devices, it seems likely that there will be advantages to using Sony devices in some form or another. If Sony can seriously push the quality of games through a combination of new and updated hardware plus some server-side juice, they could make a big splash in the next-gen console wars.
Abandoning that ground, on the other hand, would almost certainly be a disaster. Sony would need to compete on software alone and would suddenly be competing with dozens of other publishers in a turbulent market.

Of course, nobody can predict the future including your humble narrator. But I don’t see doom and gloom when I look at the console market. I think rumors of the deaths of consoles are great exaggerated, and the myriad hopes placed in the F2P and MMO models to be extremely overblown.
I’ve been wrong before, but I have a good feeling that Sony will pull through this – bumped and bruised, perhaps, but intact.

They may just need to ditch their TV business in the process, or find some new way to make that division profitable again.

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