Despite anyone who knows anything about the games industry realising that the Playstation 3 has underperformed, both in terms of games, and sales, in its first year, Sony has refused to admit anything of the sort… until now.
Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America gave an interview to MSNBC on Sunday, and under questioning about whether Sony could and should have done anything different with the PS3 launch, he seemed to finally let a chink of admittance in about how well (or not) the PS3 has done in its first year.
“I think it [the PS3's first year] fell short of what weâ€™d ideally like. But if you put it into perspective, weâ€™re not taking the safe route. We didnâ€™t take the Playstation 2 and add a few bells and whistles to it. â€¦ What weâ€™re trying to do here is â€¦ refocus the game industry towards high-definition gaming, a real state-of-the-art, future-proof machine for the next decade.”
Well done, admitting failure is the first step in being able to turn it around, which I think Sony will do in time. It’s also true that the PS3 is a huge step up from the PS2, but, what must be galling (at least in a let it die and move on kind of way) is how well the PS2 is still doing. It seems gamers aren’t quite ready to jump ship to the next generation quite yet, despite Sony’s best efforts at persuasion.
Tretton also spoke about the big titles coming up, with new Metal Gear and Final Fantasy incarnations due out next year. Instead of focussing on those titles, he talked up the games coming out for the holiday season.
“I think thereâ€™s a tremendous amount of software for the holiday season â€” 160 games coming out on PS3 alone for this holiday, on top of the 200 games that have already been out there, so thereâ€™s more than enough great software for consumers to sink their teeth in for the holidays. And as you pointed out, thereâ€™s some absolute blockbusters coming post-Christmas.”
I think the PS3 will definitely pick up, both in sales, and the quality of games available for it, but there’s no guarantee that it, or Sony will be able to knock Nintendo of its well earned top spot. What’s very clear is that Sony isn’t looking at the short term, instead aiming for the marathon win, rather than a short term sprint. Tretton claims that this console generation will last 10 years, giving Sony 9 more years to climb its way back to top.
Sony has put a lot of time and technology in to the PS3, to see it last the course, whereas I would predict very confidently that Nintendo will release at least one more console in that time. In fact, they are probably already planning the Wii’s successor.