Would a Delay Actually Hurt Sony?

human kevlar posted a question over in his comment wondering what i thought of a particular article. it was a pretty interesting read, so i thought i’d post my thoughts here.

i agree with the article from thestreet.com (stupid multipage warning) that missing a spring delay really won’t hurt the ps3’s chances much. there will be a pretty substantial stock drop, but that’s about it. as long as they actually launch by the holiday season, in north america, it’ll be fine.

a few things are at stake tho.

where to launch
what if they miss spring and summer? what happens if they don’t want to do a multi-territory launch? they saw microsoft get hammered on supply issues. i’m not thinking they want to suffer through the same thing.

the problem is where to launch first.

if they pass up the u.s. to launch in japan, they are missing the mighty black-friday-ensuing-madness that is the north american shopping season. that’d be bad. however, if they don’t launch in japan, how many will buy 360’s in protest? prolly none. but, they’d buy the shit out of the revolution.

irritating publishers
publishers will really only buy the ‘holy grail of gaming hardware’ thing for so long. for every month the ps3 isn’t out, that’s another month of losing cross platform sales. why devote resources to building a game for the ps3 when they are just going to sit there? (witness fight night)

publishers may be evil, but they aren’t dumb. if the ps3 misses the holiday season, the 360 is going to have a huge advantage for installed base. and they know that the ps3 will have similar shortages as the 360. maybe not as bad. maybe worse. but, it’ll be about the same. i’m sure i’m not the only one who remembers them blaming the whole sorry state of holiday game sales on 360 shortages.

all of that just says to me “get it out. even if it’s just for the 360. we can always port it later.” that’s basically the definition of an xbox 360 ‘exclusive’ right there. and, it’s just another game that won’t make it into the ps3 launch ‘window’ library.

i think any publishers that arean’t contractually committed are looking hard at that. especially come e3.

360 hitting its price stride
another bummer about missing the holiday season is the timing for a 360 price drop. we already know that the revolution is going to be really cheap inexpensive (comparitively). with the 360 hitting a price drop when the ps3 hits the market? well. that just brings down the mean average cost of a gaming console.

and, of course, exaggerates just how expensive the ps3 would be. in western cultures, price drives adoption.

they could delay forever in japan
i’m sticking hard to this one: japan doesn’t matter.

sure, it’d be nice for microsoft if the xbox 360 sold well in japan. tho, really, i don’t think they care. if they did, there’d be some japanese-style rpgs. instead, microsoft is courting japanese developers to build western style games. *cough* ninety-nine nights *cough*

their politically correct ‘it’s a marathon’ statements they’ve made on penetrating the japanese market are just that — a politically correct way of saying ‘we don’t really care about japan.’

me? i’ve never really been politically correct.



8 comments so far

  1. Isurus on

    While I agree with you that Japan does not matter when you look purely at sales volume, I still think Japan is quite important. There are many Japan developers (Square, Capcom, Konami, just to name a few) with the rights to key franchises that can swing public perception of a console (Final Fanstasy being one big example – heck, look at the result of that series moving to PlayStation). If you can’t appeal to the Japanese public, these developers may look elsewhere. Lets face it, these developers make a lot of quality games and, in the end, all that really matters are the games. Basically, what I am trying to say is that I don’t think the “Japan Fight” is more a fighter over developer support, which can be won in part by getting more japanese consumer support.

    Then again, I certainly couldn’t care less about Japan or their games, so maybe the rest of the world is starting to feel that way too.

  2. m3mnoch on

    while, i think that’s a valid argument, with game development costs so high, if a japanese developer hopes to make money, they need to pitch to the 90% of the game consuming public.

    they can’t afford to ignore western tastes. it works the same way as capitalism. content follows the money. that would be why every single developer on your list isn’t making games for japan exclusively.

    i never said japanese developers sucked. they are actually very very talented. we need the developers. the japanese consuming public just doesn’t matter much in the big picture of game sales.


  3. Isurus on

    In actuality, I agree with pretty much everything you say. I bascially just felt like putting up a counter agrument for the sake of arguing. I simply find it disturbing that I agree with almost everything you post on here. I’m just not used to actually reading thing that are rational anymore.

    In the end, I think the Japanese developers will follow the money. This means they are going to start creating more games that appeal to Western tastes. It also means they will pretty much alway support a large install base. If the PS3 doesn’t arrive until next year and Microsoft can rectify their supply woes and increase the install base, we could end up seeing something similar to last generation, where the PS2 got more developer support simply because they could make more money because of the large install base. This generation, that could be the case with the 360.

  4. m3mnoch on

    see, tho? it’s not that i’m rational. it’s my jedi mind powers….


  5. Isaac on

    America should be first, as it is Microsoft’s turf. That’s where the media war (if it is indeed big enough to be called that) will be fought, and that’s where Microsoft is gaining territory faster. Also, as m3mnoch said, who in Japan is going to buy a 360 anyway?

    Since Japan will most likely end up getting a PS3 as their console of choice (I believe that the people that get a Revolution won’t be deterred from buying a PS3 and viceversa), it is going to get a lot of games oriented for the Japanese; and since most of those are great RPGs or great single player games, a lot of gamers like myself in America, Europe or the rest of the world would like to get a PS3.

  6. Isaac on

    Let’s not get our hopes up though; PS3 will most likely launch in Japan first. Oh well, as long as they don’t miss the holiday season…

  7. gaminghobo on

    Speaking about the Japanese developers, and publishers, I think Sega are classic example of a company trying to tap into the western market in a big way. Firstly you have that Yakuza game that’s making it’s way over here at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that sell like hot cakes in the west.

    More broadly they’ve also invested intelligently in western development companies. They now publish all of Sports Interactive titles, who make the Football Manager series (Wordlwide Soccer Manager in the US I think), which is enormous in Europe. And I believe they publish the Total War seires now too, although I might need to check on that one.

  8. m3mnoch on

    yep. they are pretty much the poster boys of what i’ve been talking about.

    if you think about it, they’ve had to be. with the crazy financial burden the dreamcast put on them has exaggerated their need for cash.

    [insert chasing western markets for money here]


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