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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sony's Real Problem: Software

I went into this article (via joystiq) expecting another "OMG Sony is Doooomed!" style reaction from some comment about the cell processors or the cost of Sony's hardware or some other such thing. And sure enough, they landblast Sony's pricing pretty hard. But it's these points that hit home for me:

Current Software including Software Diversity, Third Party Support, Exclusives and Big Hits.
Current Software for the Competition looking at all the above factors.
Expected Upcoming Software looking at all the above factors.
Expected Upcoming Software for the Competition looking at all the above factors.

It's not like people won't plunk down $600 or $700 for a gaming rig. People do it all the time. Go hunt down the eBay sales from the 360's launch if you want to see just how much of a factor the cost isn't at launch. I agree they'll have to get the prices down quicker than previous generations to reach the kind of numbers I'm Sony's after ... but for the near future prices just isn't the problem.

The problem is that Sony hasn't illustrated any software which makes the PlayStation 3 a killer appliance. They keep commenting on how it's a supercomputer - but to the tech crowd (of which their early adopters will largely be comprised), that's meaningless unless there's something super to run on the supercomputer.

Imagine someone trying to sell you the ultimate all terrain sports car, but you can only test drive it on city streets and under the speed limit. Why not just buy a Civic?

Worse - unlike the many of other tribbles people have assaulted Sony about, there's no excuse not to be displaying the software. Complaining about processor performance or overheating is ridiculous when the machine isn't even built yet. Software, though, can be prototyped and demoed without the final product. I'm not talking games here, mind you. It's not that Sony is missing it's Halo or Mario 64. They're missing their Xbox Live. Except they need something more integral to the digital convergence generation.

They're missing their iTunes, if you will.

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Patrick Dugan said...

Actually, they will have a digital download service, and are opening arms to recruit people interesting in using the service exclusively, raking around for that killer app. Will they find it? I'm guessing not, unless something spectacular comes out of the blue.

Josh said...

I'm sure they'll have digital download and probably even digital content. And it could be killer, but what gets me is that they haven't really shown any of it yet. I'm wondering if they aren't still coding it.

I'm fairly certain, via mumblevine sources, that they have more than they're showing ... but I can't think of what's going to turn the PS3 into something really, really new. It's almost like Sony thinks everything we've been talking about for the last three years about these kinds of devices will still feel fresh.