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An Open Letter to Sony about the PS3

This is an open letter to Sony, regarding the PS3 and its strategies.

Stop! Please stop. I beg of you Sony, the lackluster presentations, the gargantuan amounts of bad press and obscure psuedo-mysterious tactics regarding information. Rumors fly and every one is about your absurd pricing, the CEO’s excuses claiming that the priveleged few who are rich (and or dedicated to saving almost a grand to get rolling), forcing blu-ray down our throats and making us pay with ridiculous cost and short supply at launch.

Here’s what I don’t understand, your ‘spin’ on the marketing drive of the PS3 console (or lifestyle as you’d have it) doesn’t seem to make any sense. You admit that your console is out of reach for the average consumer, that its more of a luxury item than a household appliance. But just how the hell do you plan to make money? The PS2 was expensive when it came out but the price increase was in-line with inflation and somewhat reasonable. It sucked when it came out, had glitches and hardware revisions. While it had a bucketful of hype to go with it, It made its money off the games, off the software and the millions of titles that were sold and the huge library of 3rd party games supporting the PS1. So riddle me this Sony, just how the hell do you plan to make money when a tiny portion of your original user base can afford the new console (and its price increased games) and you not only don’t deny it, but embrace the marketing driven values of “the finer lifestyle”.

Its like selling affordable well performing cars and then making the next model impossible to attain for all your customers thus far. Unlike the long lived lifespan of cars, your former customers can’t standby on the same console for another 5 years and expect quality performance. Your tactics thus far have been obscure, rude, inconsistent, and show the symptoms of a massive internal breakdown in your once-great company. I am simply trying to offer an objective point of view. I have no preferred console, I have no hidden agenda, but I do know that you can’t turn around without running into some sort of disappointment on Sony’s part in the last 2 years.

If its not a disappointing Cell Chip yield, it’s a Blu-Ray diode, if its not the Blu-Ray copyright protection scheme problems, its the lack of true 1080p support or content, and if its not your 1000 dollar Blu-Ray Drives making your 600 dollar console look like a good deal, then its the rumors of 70-80 dollars games, controllers without vibration functions and a blatant and weak rip-off of the wii’s control style thrown into the mix to make your bloated shiny box seem ‘fun’. (And on a completely random side note, lose the Spider-Man font on the console, everyone thinks its stupid.)

I know that if reduce myself to plain rudeness and insults that there’s no chance my message will get heard, so I struggle to remain calm, but your actions are a constant and consistent slap in the face. I offer instead of my many critiques… a solution to these many problems. Looking at the facts here, your company, as a whole, has egg on its face. You have already embarrased yourself, disappointed millions of fans and fallen short on numerous promises. If you were a politician I would opt to have you impeached. But we don’t have that option in this consumer driven world, and I do feel that the PS3 is a powerful and solid product that SHOULD find its way into the hands of players everywhere. Here’s how.

First off, the radical backfire that you’ve seen from your price quotes should be sign enough. If you don’t think we’re serious or represent a small portion of the population, go ahead and launch, you’ll get a batch on hype and then start down-down-down grading features and pricing when you realize… its just not worth that much. The limited movie library, start-up online service, and limited media player capabilities (20-60gigs? My media server has 700 and its full). I can tell you that I made a throat clearing noise and sat up straight with indignation when I read rumors of 70 dollars games. The days where Sony can just redefine genres with its overwhelming bulk is over and done. I mentioned earlier a solution.

Besides simply biting the bullet on pricing, which will play a large role in showing your goodwill toward your offended customers. There is a need in the market for services that make sense, and the need to offer those services with a minimum of confusion. Every company likes to play their cards close to their sleeve. But I think the time has finally come that warrants a open door policy on Sony’s part. There are so many rumors of all shapes and sizes, a large amount based off your shortcomings, that your stock and reputation could only be improved by coming clean on your status with the console and its problems. The truth couldn’t possibly be worse than the huge amount of bad press that is getting tossed around now. We wouldn’t be stuck with theories and forced to forecast your dismal end by your dismal performance so far.

Sony manhandled the process of the next-generation of console gaming, much like Microsoft has handled their new operating system “Vista” by adding to a bloated and outdated marketing and design model that will crush itself under the weight of its resistance to change. When the PS3 was planned it should have taken a note from Nintendo and focused on what consoles and video games really mean “Fun” Its not status, hi definition video, or making a playstation the center of the universe. You’ve seen the horrific effects on your previously untouchable standing by doing things as you’ve always done them. Xbox 360 was out way in advance and from all reports is still close enough in power to match the PS3 in most counts, and isn’t nearly as difficult to program for. The “Wii” will be available in abundance and seems extremely promising despite being underpowered and underpriced.

Meanwhile the PS3 will stumble onto the stage amid a massive shortage of units and a blurry veil of mystery, so thick, that people won’t know if its worth trying desperately to get one at all. Ironically they probabaly won’t be able to get one even if they did want it. As I’ve tried to demonstrate with my words, I’m not fanatical about any one company, console, or platform. I actually am still looking forward to the capabilities of the PS3, however my anticipation is now ridden with doubt, sadness, and misgivings as to everything it represents. If you want my advice for the next generation, change your tactics ENTIRELY, but if you want a word of help about this launch, come clean, give us all a much needed break from your gigantic ego, and show us the tiny shred of humanity that will let us trust you, as a company, again.

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