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Freeze Frame
Introducing the Sony PlayStation 360
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 21, 2007   |   Episode 67 (Show Archive)  

   

Quick: Before you actually read this article can you see what's wrong with this picture?
Despite the fact that Sony has been the undisputed industry leader for the last ten years, it's clear that the PlayStation brand is starting to have some issues. Between the low sales numbers and the lack of triple-A titles, the PlayStation 3 has become a laughing stock, consistently lagging behind the likes of the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. To everybody standing back and watching Sony's descent it seems pretty clear that something has to change. Perhaps it's time for Sony lowers their high price tag or announces a few major titles, effectively giving people a reason to buy their system. Or maybe they can just steal the Xbox 360 games and claim that you can play them on the PlayStation 3.

Think that idea is far-fetched? Then you clearly haven't been paying

Who knew that we would still be talking about Project Gotham Racing 3 a year and a half after it came out?
attention to Sony's love affair with Bizarre Creation's Project Gotham Racing 3. In the past six months alone Project Gotham Racing 3, the first generation Xbox 360 title, has been used to sell the $600 PlayStation 3. If we didn't have photographic proof to back up this charge some might think that this story is too stupid to believe, yet there is nothing fake about Sony's love for Project Gotham Racing 3.

Believe it or not this all started because of Gran Turismo HD, the free PlayStation 3 "demo" that Sony offered during the 2006 holiday season. In an attempt to build some excitement for this updated version of the PlayStation 2 original, Sony decided to offer an exclusive trailer that PSP owners could download and watch on the go. From a distance this cross-promotion felt like the perfect form of synergy; yet leave it to Sony to screw it up.

The people that decided to visit the PSP Connect site (http://psp.connect.com) and download this trailer were treated to a banner that read: "Gran Turismo 4 HD: Download the Latest Trailer." Unfortunately the picture they used was from Project Gotham Racing 3, a game that was more than twelve months old.

To be fair, even today Project Gotham Racing 3 looks incredible, the cars and lighting effects are all top notch and it's easy to confuse what system the game was for. But there's nothing worse than using your competitor's year-old game to promote your high-end console that you claim to be two times more powerful. It would

What's odd is that there's no reason for Sony to use PGR3, Gran Turismo HD looks even better as far as I'm concerned!
be one thing if GameSpot, IGN or 1up.com had made that mistake, but to advertise your competition's game on the official Sony website seems like a major faux pas.

It didn't take long before Sony's web designers caught the mistake and yanked Project Gotham Racing 3 from their site. For the most part the media and video game fans had a good laugh at Sony's expense and went on with their day to day lives. If that was the only thing Sony was guilty of then the issue would have been dropped and nobody would care that somebody in Sony's web design/art department made a stupid mistake. But that's not the end of our story, not by a long shot.

Last week observant gamers noticed a strange advert on the Kia Motor's website, a commercial for both an HDTV and a PlayStation 3. The advert (below) clearly shows the PlayStation 3 on a table with a flat screen HDTV and ... Project Gotham Racing 3? That's right, for the second time in six months Project Gotham Racing 3 is being used to sell the PlayStation 3. Despite that there are better looking racing games currently on the PlayStation 3 (such as Motor Storm); Project Gotham Racing seems to be the one franchise Sony wishes they owned.


What makes this commercial even more disturbing is that the "PGR" logo is plainly displayed on the vehicle's license plate, which definitely should have clued somebody in that t his was not a

BioShock is destined to be one of the best games of the year ... on the Xbox 360!
PlayStation 3 game. Make no mistake about it, Project Gotham Racing 3 is still a stunning game full of great looking cars ... but at this point it's a year and a half old and definitely not the most impressive game on any system.

Of course, when it comes to this Kia Motor's advert Sony may have some cover. Chances are good that Sony had nothing to do with the design of this commercial; rather it was put together by the Kia art department who simply made a mistake. Either way, a lot of these types of commercials do have to get the approval of Sony (and the other companies represented in the advertisement) so you would think that somebody would notice the error. Project Gotham Racing 3 is only the biggest part of the entire commercial.

As we start to connect these stories together we have to wonder if Sony is doing this on purpose. Does Sony want to be the next Xbox 360, or is it just our imagination? It feels like these mistakes are coming faster and faster, at some point in the near future the major video game publications will have to assign an entire team to keep track of all the times Sony tries to use the Xbox 360 to promote their PlayStation 3.


Look Sony, I've done the work for you, now you just need to print this in one of your advertisements and millions more people will buy the PlayStation 3!
A good example of this happened at this year's Game Developer's Conference. During Sony's keynote speech Phil Harrison announced that 2K's hotly anticipated first-person adventure game, BioShock, would be making an appearance on the PlayStation 3. This came as something of a surprise to Irrational Games, the makers of BioShock, who had previously announced the game as an Xbox 360/PC-exclusive. Sony would later correct the mistake, but by that time the damage had been done. On its own this is nothing major, but when combined with all of these Project Gotham Racing issues it makes us wonder if Sony is intentionally using the Xbox 360 to trick people into buying the PlayStation 3.

Regardless of whether this is the end of Sony's love affair for all things Xbox 360, it seems clear that the PlayStation is having a hard time deciding on what it wants to be. If this is the case then we suggest Sony just go all the way and announce Gears of War for the PS3; who knows, they might actually fool enough people to get their sales above 100,000 units in a month. At this point Sony couldn't get worse press, so maybe using the Xbox 360 is actually a good way to keep the word out there ... or maybe the PlayStation 3 will remain in the back of the pack for many months to come.
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