“It’s Living” Sony’s slogan for the upcoming PS3
“It’s dead, alright” me saying that PS3 might sink Sony much quicker than people think.
Sony said that they would have 2 Million PS3 on launch, 2 by the end of the year and another 2 by the end of March ‘07. Of course they think that all of them will be sold. There are more than 200 Million PS2 consoles out there. To launch a next gen product with 1% of the existing install base seems reasonable. You expect a healthy run on those precious devices. And they feature a Blu-Ray DVD player. Standalone players retail for around one thousand dollars. The PS3 only for 600. What’s there not to love?
A whole lot. It’s September, and officially Sony has not started to make the thing. They have ten weeks to produce two Million units of something that they have not made yet. At this years E3 they showed playable Dev kits (think full size PC) and bluray players inside of the nifty designed cases. It might be very well the shape and design of the box that will make the PS3 the disaster that might take Sony out within a few months. Please note the the double might in the last sentence. Sony is a huge company, how could they fail so disastrous? It’s unlikely, but also the possible truth.
The PS2 saved Sony. The win of that ‘console war’ helped to hide other disasters that the company experienced. On the heights of the PS2 internal and external Sony-might Kutaragi could pretty much ask for anything in order to ’secure’ Sony’s dominance of the gaming sector. Naturally the next generation console would be the battlefield that needed to be defended and won. Sony planned to throw around it’s might and simply went off and invented a new type of CPU. Over four years IBM invested 400 Million US$ into this thing. First application: Millions of PS3s.
Now let’s suppose that things went ok, just not ideal with the Cell. That happens. Actually all things that are visible to the general public indicate that that is what happened. And this might sink Sony quicker than anybody could imagine. In 12 weeks we will know more. In twelve weeks there should be millions of PS3s in homes around the globe, computing the hell out of everything. Sony’s PS3 is expected to ‘awe’ every viewer. It was the japanese electronics behemoth itself that set this level of expectations in widely recognized speeches and announcements.
Back to the ‘what if the Cell was only ok, not perfect’ scenario. The XBox 360 had won the launch time race. Sony countered by releasing enormous numbers for their next generation consoles. Coupled with equally enormous prices. They also revealed a design. Being in the business of making decent looking things for years it was a logical step to present the public of how the thing will look like.
Sony could be in the following simple situation right now: The thing simply does not work. Putting the Cell CPU in a case like they envisioned will melt it. The Xbox had thermal problems. The PS3 case is very small, and has no visible fans. Again: Nobody has ever seen a working PS3 in public. Ten weeks before two Million should hit the street. The yields on CPUs and BluRay diodes are supposed to be very low. If the current Cell does not work in the current case Sony has not many options. They are notoriously bad in pro active crisis management. The last push in the release date came pretty much exactly when the console was to be released.
Of course the likely hood of the instant Sony melt is not high. But it’s not entirely unlikely either. If Cell and cases simply would not work that would explain why Sony did not start making the devices yet. Instead of claiming such simple and embarrassing reasons they might point to a shortage in blue diodes for the Bluray drives as a reason for shortages. Would make the thing more ‘precious’. And would leave less room for people complaining about their overheating devices.
Even if they get the 6 Million units done and sold by March 07 I don’t think that Sony can repeat the PS2 with the PS3. The world has changed. PCs and their gfx cards will soon be much faster than any game console. Gaming consoles have excluded themselfs from the pace of upgrade cycles that are possible in the PC landscape. Good and bad, but fatal for the PS3 in the mid future. If it it’s not DOA that is.
two minutes after posting this rant I came accross this image of the PS3. Interesting amount of holes in the side there.