When Sony announced their next-gen system the PlayStation 3, they touted it as having a massive amount of features. These range from producing 1080p HD visuals, HD movies via Blu-Ray functionality etc. Sony even went as far as promoting TiVo capabilities and functionality, an online service being promoted by fan-boys as PlayStation Live, as well as a content distribution system quite similar to iTunes. This sounds terrific from a consumer perspective, but from a gamer's perspective, where in this list does it say that it plays games? This is a major problem being brought to our attention by such publications as BusinessWeek, whom are saying that Sony may be going a little to far away from what PlayStation 3's core function should be, a video game system.
BusinessWeek's article was titled, "This PlayStation May Play Too Much." It basically spoke of the fear that with all of these features packed in, and a high cost of production, the standard consumers may be afraid of the Playstation 3 in fear of not knowing how to use it and what to do with it specifically. This is going to be a complicated and complex machine, argues BusinessWeek. They compared the PS3 to another endeavor Sony attempted not too long ago; "Exhibit A: the PSX. Released in Japan in 2003, it was designed to appeal to a broader audience than the hard-core gamers attracted to the PS2. It comes with a 250-gigabyte hard drive and a simple Web browser and plays games, movies, and music. But the PSX bombed as consumers were confused by the hybrid and put off by its $800-plus price tag."
If the PlayStation 3 releases around a similar price tag, which is being predicted by some, it could possibly have the same fate. BusinessWeek goes on to compare the PlayStation 3 to the Sony PSP as being more popular as a multimedia device rather than a full-fledged gaming system. This would equal out to a lower attach rate for games, meaning less games sold per console sold. This causes publishers to lose money and also costs Sony money because they do not have as much leverage in negotiating licensing fees to produce games on their console. After the high attach rate of games on the Xbox 360 launch, this is a fear that Sony must have because if the PlayStation 3 does not match the Xbox 360's numbers, Microsoft could gain a lot more momentum and getting even further support for their system.
Talking more about the PS3 BusinessWeek stated, "But since the PSP also plays music and movies, fewer people are buying games designed for it. In the PS2's initial year on the market, players bought more than three games for each machine that was shipped. For the PSP, that ratio slipped to 2 to 1." If the PS3 follows this pattern it could prove quite disastrous for Sony. As the launch of the PlayStation 3 grows closer, with a lot more news sure to come at E3 2006 in May, this should be an interesting few months to come.