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With so many recent rumors flying around the internet about Sony announcing the PS3 Slim at next week’s Cologne Gamescom, it’s hard not to sit up and pay attention.  According to a deluge of “industry insiders”, the new compact system will finally usher in the oh-so-important price cut that everyone has been screaming for.

The general consensus seems to be that a lower price point is exactly what Sony needs to reinvigorate the system and bring in more sales, but I think these people are missing the big picture.

This generation’s console war has been going on for almost three years and the behemoth that was the Playstation brand is still sitting in last place.   Sony’s fortune does not appear to be changing as everyone thought it would, and I believe they will need more than a cheaper and slimmer PS3 to turn the tide of this battle.  If they want to win the console war, Sony needs to completely reinvent the Playstation image.

Do you remember when the Playstation brand was the all-mighty hand of God in the video game industry?  Back during those “good old” days of the PS1 and PS2, if Sony told its developers to jump, they would say “how high?”.  When told to run, they would ask “how far?!”  Sony had so many developers eating out of their hands back then that they didn’t have anything to worry about from the competition.  I bet all the company executives would just sit back in their comfy leather chairs and laugh when Nintendo or Microsoft would try to make a move on them.  Sony simply couldn’t be touched back in the late 90’s and early part of this century.

Well things aren’t how they used to be.  Nintendo isn’t the “little company that could” and Microsoft’s Xbox brand isn’t some pet project of Bill Gates anymore.  The competition has gotten serious. Nintendo is constantly leading the sales charts and Microsoft is revolutionizing the online console space.  While all of this happened, Sony has continued to sit back in their ignorance and proclaim they are the leader in the industry.  Unfortunately, the once great and powerful Sony isn’t the leader of anything anymore.

Developers aren’t eating out of the hands of Sony like they used to.  Square Enix has moved on and is now bringing Final Fantasy XIII to the XBOX360.  Konami will also be delivering the next big Metal Gear Solid game to the 360 and Electronic Arts has shifted a great deal of its focus from the PS3 to the Wii.  The days of the third party exclusive are gone and Sony can no longer rely on others to do their work. They need to change their game plan and they need to use the PS3 slim to do so.

FF13

Many people are excited that if the rumored system is real it would mean a price cut, which would surely boost sales and bring people back the Playstation brand.  What everyone is forgetting is that in the end, price really doesn’t matter.  It’s the perception of an item’s worth in comparison to its price that really makes the difference.

For example, I know plenty of people who complain that the $400 PS3 is too expensive. Those same people will go out and spend $500 on a brand new wake board, or $700 on a new mountain bike, both of which they will probably only use six to seven times a year.  It completely boggles my mind, yet this happens all the time, even to me.  People’s perception of what they think something is worth will completely affect how much money they spend on it.

The lesson to be learned from this is that people still perceive the PS3 as not worth $400.  If this is the case, and I will strongly argue that it is, are consumers really going to change their minds if the system drops to $300?  I don’t think they will. There is still just too much competition out there from companies that have a clear mindset about what their product is, and what value it brings to its customers.  Right now, Sony doesn’t know what the PS3 is, because it’s trying to be everything to everyone.

I mean seriously, what is the PS3?  Is it a cheap Blu-ray player?  Is it a photo viewer?  Is it an internet browser?  Sony says it’s all of those things “and” a video game console: an all-in-one entertainment device. This is exactly the image the company has used to market the system with for the past 3 years.  Well Blu-ray players are now under $200, so Sony can’t use the “cheap Blu-ray player” selling point anymore.  Most people do their internet browsing and photo viewing on their computers, so no one really cares about those features.  What Sony really has to sell here is the “video game system” part of their shiny black box.  Who would have ever imagined that?

I don’t want to linger too long on the “what is Sony doing wrong” argument, because I’m not here to talk about the PS3’s past.  I’m here to talk about its future, and its future is the PS3 Slim.  The problem is, Sony cannot simply release the PS3 Slim at a lower price point and hope its enough to sell more systems.  Industry data shows that a price drop is the best way to get a quick surge in sales, but it’s not enough to sustain that increase for the long term.  To do that, Sony needs to use the PS3 Slim to reinvent the image of the Playstation brand.

When the new system launches, assuming it does, Sony needs to treat it like the launch of a completely new device, with a whole new marketing campaign, and a whole new outlook on the future.  They need to essentially forget about the original PS3 and act like it never existed.  The PS3 Slim needs to be the new face of the Playstation “gaming brand”, with no mention of the Blu-ray player, the internet browser, or any of the other “non-video game related” features.  Sony needs to concentrate on what people have come to expect from them: a great gaming system.

PS3 Exclusives

Right now, the 2009/2010 first-party game lineup for the PS3 is absolutely incredible.  There are great titles like Uncharted 2, God of War 3, Gran Turismo 5, and The Last Guardian, which all bring something special and unique to the system that no other competitor can offer.  Sony needs to buckle down and concentrate on marketing the PS3 as the “only place” to get these exclusive games.  Sure the system has great games from 3rd party publishers like EA, Ubisoft, and Activision, just like their competitors. What those “other guys” don’t have is a 1st party line up of games the likes of which the world has never seen.  Sony needs to push this selling point hard and make customers understand the great gaming value the PS3 has to offer.

Once Sony has changed their marketing campaign, they need to get the word out on the street in the loudest way possible.  They need to think big, and starting in September one of the biggest stages in the world will be the National Football League.  The company should buy exclusive rights to have the PS3 brand be one of the NFL sponsors.  Notice I did not say the Sony brand.  I specifically said the PS3 brand.  Imagine there being a commercial for a new and exciting PS3 game every 20 minutes during a 3 hour game.  Everyone who watches football would constantly get a chance to see how incredible the system is.

Of course the NFL is predominantly popular in only America, so Sony would need to branch out and sponsor other global sporting events as well.  They could sponsor football leagues in Europe and South America (soccer), and possibly even Formula F1.  The possibilities are endless, as long as the company is willing to get serious about marketing the system properly.

Besides a whole new marketing strategy, Sony also needs to completely overhaul their online gaming model as well.  While they might gloat that they have a “free” online service, it is not stopping millions of people from paying $50 a year for Xbox Live (XBL).  These people obviously think it’s worth the money to pay for the services Microsoft has to offer, or they would switch to the PS3 and it’s free online community.  There are just too many things missing from the Playstation Network that keeps driving customers to pay for XBL.

Maybe people don’t like the Playstation Network because it doesn’t have the same type of party system Xbox Live subscribers love to use, or maybe it’s the fact that people have been complaining for years for the company to add cross-game voice chat and still their cries have gone unanswered.  It could possibly be because Sony still does not package a headset in all of their systems like Microsoft does.  No matter what it is, something keeps people from accepting that the PS3 is on the same level as the Xbox 360 when it comes to online services.  Sony needs to change that, and the best time to do it is with the launch of a whole new system.

This all brings me back to my original point, that if Sony wants to once again reclaim its position as the industry leader, it needs to completely reinvent its image with the launch of the PS3 Slim.  Forget about all of the other features the system has to offer, and concentrate on marketing it as a video game machine.  Use the new slick look of the system to show that this is a “whole new Sony” who is serious about gaming.  Then amaze people with all the new exclusive 1st party titles coming out for it.  Finally, put the nail in the coffin with the new $300 price tag, to drive the point home that this is the system for the “every man”.  Let’s face it, it’s time for Sony to get back in the game, and the PS3 Slim is their ticket to do just that.

  1. avatar Jeff

    We predominantly use our PS3 as a Blu-Ray and DVD player. Planet Earth Blu-Rays are how I sold my wife on Blu-Ray, and at the time, the PS3 was by far the cheapest and best Blu-Ray player. Is it still the fastest player in terms of menu performance, disc loading, etc? I would imagine so. I bought a TV show from the online store to try out that new service when it first debuted, but the selection sucked and the prices were high. I haven’t gone back to see if things have improved. Instead, we make extensive use of our PlayOn media server to watch streamed Netflix content, and that works extremely well. It’s a shame that the XBox locked up exclusive rights to “official” Netflix support. As far as gaming on the PS3, well, we just don’t do much of it.

    • avatar Milena

      I ordered this oranigil OEM from Sony from Amazon. When I put it in my NEX-5N I got incompatible battery use correct type error message. The oranigil battery that came with the camera worked fine, but this one didn’t work. I thought that I was getting the official OEM from Sony. Apparently there is a problem with the battery and the C3 and 5N with battery handshake with the chip in the battery. It works for 30 seconds then shows the error and locks up. The battery looked legit and the packaging was official I just could not believe that it wouldn’t work. I returned it.

  2. Honestly? If this system is 300 bucks and has all the features of the normal one? I will pick it up day one for MAG and Uncharted.

  3. And White Knight Chronicles, Ratchet and Clank, and God of War III

    • avatar Malwina

      Buck Lake Live & 65 … that is 65 years in the making.Buck Lake Live is haivng a MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY, Saturday evening, June 30th at 7 pm at Historic Buck Lake Ranch, Angola, Indiana.To begin the program, the AMERICAN LEGION POST 31 will POST THE COLORS, with the traditional flag ceremony.Glenn Flint of Fairview Missionary Church will sing a MEDLEY OF ALL THE MILITARY ANTHEMS followed by some original PATRIOTIC SONGS by Nod Arvefel.“DEDICATION” (A Southern Gospel Quartet that appeared on a Gaither Homecoming Video) will give an hour of music and personal testimony. Then the AMERICAN LEGION will do a MILITARY GUN SALUTE and PLAY TAPS.Buck Lake Ranch will top off the evening with a FIREWORKS DISPLAY.Come and hear great entertainment and personal testimony! Relive the memories of historic Buck Lake Ranch in Angola, Indiana.ADMISSION and PARKING are FREE and there is always a new program every Saturday night.Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 30th at 7 pm, for “MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY” atHistoric Buck Lake Ranch2705 West Buck Lake RoadAngola, IN 46703.It is going to be an awesome time … See you there!

  4. @Steve: But the PS3 doesn’t have achievement points. How ever will you survive? Maybe you’ll get addicted to trophies as well. ;-)

  5. Well I constantly ask 360 owners how much it costs to buy a Pro system, online, wi fi adapter, controller recharge kits, and see how much a 360 costs when it has the same components of a PS3. Suddenly the PS3 seems cheap, doesn’t it?

    The thing hampering the PS3 this whole generation hasnt been technology, price, or anything like that. The PS3 has simply been a victim of one of the most terrible marketing schemes in gaming.

  6. One of the best things about the PS3 in my mind is its functionality right out of the box. All my bluetooth accessories, including my mouse and keyboard work great. It also has Wi-Fi built in, and I can use my cell phone’s mini-USB charger to recharge my Dualshock 3s.

    There’s also a lot of backdoor-ish ways you can get media from your PC onto your PS3. Up until recently, Hulu was supported on the PS3, but even now, there’s a workaround for it (TVersity.com). I won’t even mention the amount of doors a full web browser opens.

    I love the 360; but free internet, and limitless functionality compliments of the PS3 is a great thing.

  7. avatar Dirtnap

    Above all, Sony needs to improve its online services. Adding a functionality like Steam to the PS3 platform would really kick it up a notch.

  8. avatar Lemon

    Gotta disagree with you when i read your last paragraph…also the comment about the general perception is that the public consider’s $500 too much…Can over 20 million people be wrong ? After 3 years, if no one was buying it, i doubt they would have been releasing better titles in 2009 than anyone else….

    As far as I’m concerned, Sony is the only company that has gamers at heart…Sony has been a trusted brand for me through my adult life, and has never disappointed wiht any of it’s products.

    Buying my PS3, i knew i wouldn’t get home and be disappointed, it delivered on every promise of a next-gen console…I’m in south africa, but i watch blu-rays, stream wirelessly with Tversity, watch blu-rays and use the bluetooth for my headset…

    So, I got a gaming giant…deliver me GAMES !!! and Sony has…maybe a lil slow initially, but there’s not just soo many great exclusives on the PS3, but new IP’s that are exclusive….Thinking Resistance, Motorstorm, Little Big Planet, Uncharted, Heavenly Sword, Heavy Rain, MAG….

    Wii has sold tons of hardware (got one myself) but only Mario tickled my fancy…really, title for title, they not giving “gamers” anything more than a arcade experience with some ‘waggle’.

    X-Box is cool, they have nailed online, but failure rates (no publicity, as with Sony, is better than bad publicity), i really want one, but can’t force myself to buy a product that is expected to fail…least that was my feeling 18 months ago…now, i just couldn’t care because they have very few exclusives (that interest me)….

    With the motion controllers hopefully out next year for the 360 & PS3, Wii might find sales taking a very serious dip…and i still expect Sony to win this gen…but it’s been great for gamers so far with all this competition…but it’s like Round 2 and I feel Sony has just shoved the other 2 against the ropes…*watch for it*

  9. avatar Jek

    “It could possibly be because Sony still does not package a blue-tooth headset in all of their systems like Microsoft does.”

    When did Microsoft begin packaging a Bluetooth headset with every system? All I got was a cheap, flimsy piece of junk that always sounds garbled and almost inaudible.

  10. avatar BoBo

    I just want to be able to talk to my friends like on the 360… I cross my fingers every system update. But so far nothing has happened…

  11. avatar Mr.PiP

    @Shawn Evens
    People are going nuts over this Trophy/Achivement crap,
    but I don’t know a single person that cares, all of my friends and me are to busy gaming… just don’t get what all the fuzz is about.

    I just could not find it in my to buy a malfunctioning peace of hardware so I bought my self a lunch PS3, no regrets… love the BC, Card readers, 4x ports and Blu-Ray is just amazing, and off course the only online game you’ll ever need… Warhawk.

  12. avatar Brian Murphy

    Bottom line, whether you like the PS3 or not, whether you think it’s a good machine or not. Sony has more internal studios than Microsoft, and they’ve been pumping out games for consoles a hell of allot longer. The 360 may have more exclusives currently, but the PS3 is quickly catching up, and by this time next year, I think the margin will be small, if not non-existant. MS continues to pump out the same old tired IP, repackaged and skinned, and call it a new game. And I’m really just not interested. I’ve got a supreme gaming PC, that, to be honest, is better than my PS3…but, I have to have Sony’s 1st party games. I have to. They’re the best in the business.

  13. avatar pd-

    The 360 does not include a Bluetooth headset. I know what you’re trying to convey, but your sentence is misleading.

    • avatar Ion

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    • avatar Doudou

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  14. avatar Wolf26pack

    So the Slim PS3 has finally been announced today at $299.99 & the only thing that was removed was the ability to put Linux on the System. It’s now smaller lighter and has some astetics changed but other than that it still has all the other capability’s that the 40,80 Non B/C & 160GB had.

    Now I agree with most of what this article is saying. Sony has never since the PS3 was launched been able to convey all the things it could do. I once thought of a great commercial Sony could run showing all the different things the PS3 could do and then end it with a great run of all the great games coming up & the basic message would be that although the PS3 could…

    -Show Photo’s
    -Play Music
    -Play DVD’s
    -Play Blu-ray’s
    -Become a Media Center & incorporates as Standard…

    -Wireless Rechargable Dualshock 3 Controllers
    -Wi-fi
    -Blu-ray Playback
    -Media Center Capability
    -Internet Browsing Capability

    and although it is an absolutly awesome media hub in the end it is the Best Gaming Machine Around with some of the top 1st party games around.

    One thing I thought was smart with their Advertising was something SCEE did recently with Infamous. It was where they had basically skinned some Semi Trucks with advertisments of Infamous. Now if they did that regularly with all their 1st party games I think that is a great way to get your advertisment around and people will definintly take notice of it.

    Now if the rumors for the XBOX 360 are true and the Pro 360 is being discontinued and being replaced by the Elite 360 than Sony is in a great Value proposition. So if it goes like it is said where the Elite 360 drops in price from $399.99 to $299.99 and loses the Component & HDMI cables, then Sony has the advantage with all the extra’s it comes with which again are…

    -Wireless Rechargable Dualshock 3 Controller
    -Wi-fi
    -Blu-ray Playback
    -Internet Browser

    which some you have to pay extra to get on the 360, again if Sony can highlight the value difference then they have an even better chance of selling better from now on. I think Sony is in a Prime Condition to start to outsell the 360 at least that is how I see it.

  15. avatar MrZeldaNerd

    Well im a gamer at heart and i dont give a crap about being a fanboy of a system i mean a great game is a great game no matter what console but i think sony is really pulling up with this i bought the 360 arcade at $300
    all i got was
    -the system
    -250 mb memory card
    -1 controller
    -and a little arcade disk

    now if the ps3 is keeping all its stuff except that linux thing for only $300
    its kinda easy to see what i would have bought then plus i really wanted MGS:4

  16. avatar de BLOO

    Silver Dragon this has got to stop!!!

  17. avatar Juli

    This is an awesome gieavway!!! I am such a Gleek and I love Sofia Vergara in Modern Family! I actually just did a blog post on her clothing line for Kmart. I would love to win this!

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