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Sony, You're Doing a Heckuva Job
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 04, 2006   |   Episode 65 (Show Archive)  


... and it went for $2000 on eBay!
To put it politely, the November 17 PlayStation 3 launch was an utter disaster. While retail establishments had no difficulty selling through their entire stock of PS3 units, the launch was hampered with severely low system quantities, violence and underwhelming reviews. Days before the midnight launch there were already massive lines across the nation, but upon closer inspection most of the people that were waiting for their PS3s were planning on flipping the system on eBay, hoping to rake in a few thousand dollars for their "hard work."

Two days later the Nintendo Wii launched. But unlike Sony's launch, everybody that wanted a Wii ended up getting one. More than 600,000 units were on hand, compared to Sony's 150,000. Nobody was shot, robbed or beaten up in the Nintendo lines. The Wii was a perfect example of how

It's too early to name a winner in the next generation war, but so far Nintendo is winning the PR battle!
to launch a next generation console, both Microsoft and Sony could learn a lot from Nintendo's decades of experience.

A lot of Sony's problems stem from the fact that they were not completely honest with their consumers. Ignoring for a moment that Sony was supposed to introduce the system early in 2006, the PlayStation 3 couldn't even hit the goal of 400,000 units. Couple this with the fact that Sony dodged questions, couldn't keep their answers straight and couldn't make up their minds, and you have a recipe for disaster. It's no wonder that Sony couldn't keep their fan base happy, after eleven years of supporting the PlayStation brand most fans were disappointed by Sony's recent demeanor. This is not the way the industry leader should act, and you could see that in the faces of those waiting to get the PlayStation 3.

The media was quick to pile on Sony and name Nintendo the holiday winner. The PlayStation 3 may have better graphics, but the mainstream press couldn't resist

It's hard to remember the good old days when Sony controlled everything, what a difference a few years makes!
all of the excitement surrounding the Wii. While it's too early to call Nintendo the winner of the next generation battle, it's clear that they are winning the PR war ... much to the chagrin of Sony.

So what is Sony to do? For most of this year they have been dogged on by the press, their lines were marred by thefts and guns, and most of the people who ended up buying a PlayStation 3 didn't even keep it. What should you do to the people who took the biggest name in the video game industry and reduce it to a joke? Maybe bring in some new faces? Demote everybody involved so that they learn their lesson? Get a better PR department?

If you're Sony then you don't do any of those things. Instead you give everybody involved new job titles and a big raise. That's right; everybody involved with one of the most disastrous console launches of all time has been promoted. Ken Kutaragi, the company's former president and group CEO, will now be the chairman and group CEO of Sony. Taking his place will be Kaz Hirai, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment America. Jack Tretton, David Reeves and Akira Sato are also being promoted and reshuffled.

Many believe that history won't be as kind to George Tenet as Bush was, I suspect the same will be true for Sony and their PlayStation 3!
But haven't we seen this before? The idea of rewarding your friends and co-workers for doing what can only be described as a terrible job is nothing new. In fact, it seems like only a few months ago that a certain big name was doing exactly the same thing. Despite the fact that it seems completely illogical, I could have sworn somebody else tried that with mixed results. Oh, that's right; it was President George Walker Bush.

Back in December 2004 George Bush decided to reward George Tenet, Tommy Franks and L. Paul Bremer with the Presidential Medal of Honor. For what did these three public figures deserve the highest civilian honor? These three men were the architects of the Iraq war, they are partially responsible for getting us stuck in the Middle East. Take George Tenet as an example, he's the man that assured Bush that Iraq was housing weapons of mass destruction. To quote Tenet, the weapons in Iraq were a "slam dunk." And L. Paul Bremer? This was the man responsible for the post-war planning, yet here we are two years later in the middle of a civil war with no hope in sight. Even

Sometimes all you need is a picture of Stephen Colbert and a cat to make things seem less controversial than they really are!
the most optimistic Bush supporters are starting to believe that this war is going the wrong way, and the country certainly sent that message to the administration this last November during the mid-term elections.

But time and time again Bush rewards those who are responsible for some of the most troubling mistakes of his administration. The President is steadfast, he refuses to make major changes or bring in more experienced men and women. Even after major disasters and tragedies the President only has kind words for his staff, giving out awards, promotions and a mountain of praise. To quote Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondence Dinner: "Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!"

Sony is doing exactly the same thing; if they were smart they would bring in a few new faces to help give them direction again. While their disaster is not on the same level as the Iraq war, there's no denying that Sony needs to take a fresh look at what is going on, simply rearranging the chairs on the Titanic (or Hindenburg, if you prefer) is not going to do anything. For ten years the PlayStation brand has been at the top of the heap, but with the Nintendo DS outselling the PSP and the Xbox 360 and Wii outselling the PlayStation 3, I think it's safe to say that things are not on the level Sony would like them to be. Let's not forget that this is the team that led the company to one of their lowest earning years on record. Things do not look good; this is not the time for everybody responsible to be getting promotions. Until you admit you've lost your way you will never be able to get back on track, and if there's one thing Sony needs, it's to get back on track. Sony, the first step is to admit you have a problem.


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