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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Can We Give Sony An Inch Here?

Don't mean to back to back harp on Joystiq - just that kind of afternoon.

I know, Sony Bashing is practically the official gamesphere sport right now, but this is simply silly:

Obscure researcher finds PS3 price acceptance from small online sample

The "obscure" research group (not a single researcher as the headline suggests) in question is Interpret, LLC - and they're not so much obscure as new. They're founded by ex-Nielsen veterans ... you know those guys who practically control the television industry by figuring out just how many people watches what of which show. So it's not like this is some crazy guy crunching numbers alone in his apartment. These guys are professionals.

And the "small online" demographic consisted of 2,000 people. While 10,000 is considered the golden number to get your margin of error to about 1%, most political polls consist of about 500-1,000 people. So their "small" survey is at least twice the number typically asked for all these stats you're going to hear over the coming election season .... and you'll hear plenty of them. And lots of people in campaigns across America will be adjusting their daily lives based on those numbers.

Why Blake felt the need to editoralize the nature of the survey is really quite beyond me. Other than nobody wants to write something satisfactory about the PlayStation 3 without placating a bit to the fanboys. Any statistic should be taken with a grain of salt - but it's certainly not required to insert that into every headline that concerns them.

If Kaz goes off and says something stupid - go ahead and call it stupid. But this need to translate all news Sony into something dire or questionable about the PlayStation 3 is getting annoying. Recently Engadget suggested that Sony rolling back it's monitor line was an indication that they knew the PS3 would flop. It wasn't just conjecture - it was the stuff of forum-baiting tinfoil conspiracy.

Maybe the PlayStation 3 will flop ... who knows ... but at this point blogs going out of their way to color their coverage of Sony isn't making Sony look bad as much as themselves.

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Andy said...

Couldn't agree more. I've properly given up on mainstream gaming blogs these days. It's far easier to subcribe to Digg's gaming feed, it's practically the game thing anyway.

Apologies, I'm having a grumpy ten minutes.

Andy said...

*same thing - argh!

Josh said...


No apologies needed. I'm having a grumpy month :)

Joystiq's signal to noise ratio is still OK enough for me to keep it on the RSS - but things like "OMG Nintendo is shipping chips!" and this count as strikes against it.

But more to the point - I don't think the blogosphere understands that doesn't share the exact same perspective as reality. A lot of the comment in that Joystiq thread are crap like "Well, I think the PS3 is too expensive to the survey must be wrong." The gamesphere has a juicy core of anecdotal evidence which is a useless measure of how the world actually games.

For instance - around the office and my friend ... nobody owns a 360. I don't think anyone is planning on it. A few have PS3 preorders and maybe one even knows what a Wii actually is.

That's not to say my anecdote is any more proof of anything. But at least I'm willing to acknowledge this fact. I'm worried mainstream blogs are forming their own groupthink these days.

Josh said...

Or to put it more simply - if you own an HDTV and a 360 ... you actually don't represent the majority of consumers. Despite what one might think.

Course, same will be true of PS3 owners for a while - and I'm sure we'll get the same filter effect there.