The Lessons of the PS3

The PS3 is a full blown disaster for Sony on several levels. First and foremost, I can’t figure out why the hell I would want to shell out $600 for a game console that basically does what the Xbox360 does for a lot less – play great games. It has a Blu Ray DVD player, whoop de frickin doo… that isn’t making my game experience any better and in a year Blu Ray and HD-DVD players are going to be a couple hundred bucks so why rush in now?

Speaking of Blu Ray, the failure of the PS3 hit the mark has implications for Sony’s fight with Toshiba and their HD-DVD standard. Sony was really counting on a market seeding effect generated by PS3 sales to push them over the tipping point and establish Blu Ray as the default HD standard for DVD. Clearly they have to be rethinking that strategy at this point.

Sony is an interesting case study in the declining half-life of “it” companies, which Sony clearly was for most of the late 1980’s and 1990’s but today they are more known for rootkits, exploding batteries, and stunning inability to come up with anything that can effectively compete with Apple’s iPod and ITMS despite having created the portable music category with the brand equivalent of kleenex – the walkman.

Here’s my casual observation on what they did wrong:

1) Underestimated how competitive Microsoft is and by giving them a full year head start they pretty much exposed the arrogance of their corporate DNA which believed that they made the market on their time.

2) Failed to promote a healthy ecosystem. The game console doesn’t mean jack without great games and Sony should have been working overtime to spread the love among their game developers. What they did was simply expect their developer community to step up because, after all, it’s the Sony Playstation.

3) Gamers are moving online and Sony’s online efforts really don’t live up to what the competition has. Also, Sony Connect is an embarrassment.

4) Sony still thinks their market is hardcore gamers and teenage boys when in fact the demographics consistently point to a older and increasingly female market. Market to the mass market like Nintendo is doing.

5) The Nintendo Wii outsold the PS3 with an innovative controller and a very slick marketing campaign that featured games everyone could like. It’s that ecosystem thing again.

6) Where’s the tie-in with the PSP? I have a PSP and really dig it even though the games are spotty and Sony wants to lock you in by turning off all the hacked features as soon as they become available. That’s a whole other blog post that I’ve written a couple of times already.

7) The fact that I’d spend $500 on an Apple iPhone that hasn’t even launched yet before I’d shell out basically the same $$ on a full blown bad-ass game console pretty much sums up how badly Sony has stumbled on this very important product.

GigaGamez » Archive Can the PS3 Be Saved? «:

The PS3 hasn’t performed as well as expected. In fact, since E3 last year, not much has actually gone Sony’s way. There was the removal of features, loss of exclusives, extreme price and severe supply constraint… and that’s just leading up to the launch. Once November 17th rolled around, there were people camping outside of Best Buy to get PS3s so that they could scalp them on eBay for extreme prices, and that worked for a while. Then buyers got sick of paying for a system with one semi-desirable game, a blu-ray player with questionable usefulness and a really bad PS2 emulator.

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Google gets a pass

Several people, including me, reported that Google services, including Gmail and Calendar, were down today for some unspecified period of time. I checked Techmeme to see what the latest was and nothing, nada, zip, zero. In fact, the main Google related story that was getting blogged about was how Yahoo! blew it.

If it were Typepad or Technorati that went down like this the blogosphere would have it’s collective panties all bunched up about how these companies are essential services and their customer service sucks and they don’t communicate, but Google, which has been making a big deal about Google At Your Domain, goes down and crickets chirp.

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When On Demand Isn’t

We’ve been having a spirited discussion among several of the Irregulars the last couple of days about the wisdom of running a business system on Google’s at your domain apps. Charlie Wood and myself have been particularly outspoken about the benefits, unfortunately for us Google is not helping our case today…. Calendar has been down for at least an hour.

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The State of Small Business in the U.S.

Overall, SMB is quite robust according to a group that studies this on behalf of the Federal government. I was interested in this because I wanted to nail down market sizing for SMB which is all over the map. I’ve quoted 90 million as the total number of small businesses in the U.S., a number certainly not supported by this report. At any rate, it’s big. Hat tip to Dennis for sending me the report.

In summary, of the nearly 26 million firms in the United States, most are very small—97.5 percent of employer and nonemployer firms have fewer than 20 employees. Yet cumulatively, these firms account for half of our nonfarm real gross domestic product, and they have generated 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs over the past decade. Entrepreneurs rightly command enormous respect, and their contributions to the U.S. economy are followed by academics and policymakers alike.

Despite the strong culture of entrepreneurship that permeates the U.S., one table in the report jumped out at me as a stark and depressing commentary on the state of public finance markets in the Sarbanes-Oxley world we now live in.

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Social media, politics, copyright, blogswarm and activism

Thomas highlights the fine line between the wisdom of crowds AND mobs when it come to David v. Goliath stories involving big evil companies, but really drives the point home about how bloggers elevated into the position of what would traditionally be journalism are not using their newly found authority to drive the bigger issues that are behind the headlines.

Social media, politics, copyright, blogswarm and activism « Vendorprisey:
Politicians have been quick to grasp the power of social media for electioneering. Jeremiah, over at web strategy, highlighted Obama’s use of YouTube.

Do these blog aware politicians have a position on DRM?