Has Sony failed to deliver on the PS3 promise?

Has Sony failed to deliver on the PS3 promise?

Summary: Has Sony failed to deliver on the PS3 promise of bringing out a games console which takes gaming to a whole new level of fun? A number of reviewers who have spent time with the console believe that Sony has indeed dropped the ball.

TOPICS: Hardware

Has Sony failed to deliver on the PS3 promise of bringing out a games console which takes gaming to a whole new level of fun?  A number of reviewers who have spent time with the console believe that Sony has indeed dropped the ball.

I've been watching the PS3 reviews hit the web and while most make it clear that Sony's PS3 is a technological marvel, they also show that perhaps the console just wasn't ready for prime time, despite the fact that the console's launch date had been delayed for months.

One review that I think sums up the problems is the one I read by Seth Schiesel of the New York Times.  Schiesel spent some 30 hours playing some 30 different games so he's pretty familiar with the console.  Given the price of the PS3 he should be impressed, but here's how he begins his article:

[poll id=33]

Howard Stringer [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sony Corporation of America], you have a problem. Your company’s new video game system just isn’t that great.

And this isn't just some random rant by Schiesel.  He lists a whole catalog of aspects that leave him displeased and frustrated.

  • Setup of the PS3 took a lot longer than the Xbox 360
  • No cable for hooking it up to a hi-def TV
  • Wireless controllers need to be hooked up via USB to pair them with the system
  • Online experience clunky - for one thing you can't bring in downloads in the background while playing a game
  • Under-supported voice chat

So where has Sony gone wrong?  I think that Schiesel nails it here:

Gates: You know, Sony can make 80,000 bricks, and people would buy themOverall, Sony seems to have put a lot of effort into cramming as much silicon horsepower under the hood as possible but to have forgotten that all the transistors in the world can’t make someone smile.

Bingo!  Over the past 12 months Sony seems to have seriously lost their way (it's a really bad sign when a company can't release music CDs without having to have a recall - although it was quite ironic that the CD recall was going to seem trivial compared to the battery recall they were to later face).  My guess is that Sony gambled on the PS3 as being the golden goose that would turn things around for the company and they rushed to get it out of the door and stumbled.  Anyone who's spent up to $599 for PS3 should be having fun all the way.  It doesn't seem that this is happening and that's not a good sign.  For a start, Sony could stop being cheap and include a cable for connecting the console up to a hi-def TV.  The absence of proper cables is either a serious oversight or an example of how Sony is trying to shave cents off the production costs.

It doesn't even sound like Bill Gates is all that worried about the the PS3:

You know, Sony can make 80,000 bricks, and people would buy them.

My advice (unless you're in a real rush to be an early adopter) is to give the PS3 time to mature because it's definitely not completed yet.  Problem is, who knows how long this will take.  If you're in a rush for a new games console and just want to play some games, then you might be better off picking up a good deal on an Xbox 360.

Topic: Hardware

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  • Wait a sec!

    Didn't Sony create that little bogus table that shows how much "cheaper" a PS3 is compared to an Xbox 360? I don't remember them listing the const of buying the required HD cable for the PS3. So, as listed in their table, the PS3 is only low-def capable? Did I miss something?


    Also sounds like the PS3 online experience is pretty bad (compared to the Xbox 360).

    Those are some pretty bad reviews for something that is supposed to last for the next 5 years. Did everyone see the 90's looking media player interface on the PS3 in the Ars review (page 3). Ouch.

    Well, there are always the Wii or Xbox 360 to choose from...
    • Ahem

      Peter, show me a $150 component video cable, and I'll show you a fool.

      I remember the xbox 360 having much more problems than this when it was released. The moral of the story - never buy a console on release day.

      Oh, and did I mention that Sony online is free? As opposed to the $50/year MS will rip you off for. That's $250 over the lifetime of the console. Sounds expensive to me.
      • It's free for a reason StevoCJ

        I'm not looking to get into an argument or anything, but I've played online on Dreamcast, PS2, PSP, PC & XBOX Live (Original System & now 360). You get what you pay for in online service man. Free with SONY equals non standard online functions, this causes issues with having to reconfigure your router for use with different game that use different ports. This also means it's entirely up to the developers as to whether or not any voice communication is supported.

        The LAG that was ALWAYS a problem with PS2 & PSP games has never happened to me on Live. So yes, it will cost me $250.00 for the next five years worth of Live service... of course since you like to blow those numbers up over FIVE YEARS to make it seam worse than it is... I'll go the other way.

        $50.00 per year = $4.16 per month or $0.14 per day.

        Hmmmm.... tough decision their man, really tough decision.

        On another note entirely... a friend of mine (SONY loyalist) made the change to XBOX 360 yesterday for one major oversight on SONY's part. Final Fantasy XI is not supported on PS3 and his PS2 died (Slim PS2 doesn't support HDD)! Therefor the only console he could buy today that is still playing Final Fantasy XI is the XBOX 360!
        • So you've played every online service except PS3

          No offence, but your point is completely invalid. Sony have gone to great lengths to explain that they're redoing their online service completely for PS3 to compete with XBox Live and to offer similar functionality, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.
          • Hopefully they get it RIGHT...

            ...by OUTSOURCING the design and programming for their service. Considering how BAD S***--they ARE a four-letter word, after all, so I [i]must[/i] censor myself--has been in the past with their programming. Ever try their DAP management and online download software? And they wonder publicly why Apple and its iPod business model smacks their little (and I DO mean little) wee-wee.

            I'd have little faith that S*** by themselves will be able to get things right. Hell, they even had to outsource their ROOTKIT, for cryin' out loud.
    • Exactly

      I agree. - Keith Knutsson
  • Wii shall rule

    While the 360 has a definite edge in graphics over the Wii, the Wii is just so much fun to play. I will get a PS3 in 2 years or so if/when the price drops and GT5 comes out. But for now, I will enjoy the Wii.
  • The Wii Shall Triumph!

    Forget about PS3,

    I will be getting a Wii so I can experience games in a whole new way! How cool is it that you can really be in the game with amazing motion controls?

    If i'm really hungry for over the top graphics and super hi res I'll just upgrade my video card and buy a pc game which I can run on my 20 inch monitor in 1600x1200 (much higher res than the best HD TV for you console nuts out there) Nuff said.
    • It will

      The Wii will run its market segment of younger audiences. - Keith Knutsson
  • Crazy story

    Xbox360 has been out for a year and has more games than PS3, wow, i didn't expect that.... not.

    My personal feeling is that 360 graphics are not enough of a leap forward. My money certainly isn't flying out of my wallet for this, and the online service wasn't worth the money at Xbox1 time for me.

    The Wii is not really new generation at all, and just has a new controller.

    I don't know what the PS3 graphics will be like. I think they *could* be a huge leap forward.

    Four things that could swing it for me (in the direction of the PS3):

    a. very quiet versus 360 apparenly. (no fan noise).
    b. no stories so far about three red lights of doom or overheating.
    c. media card interfaces for just about everything. Kinda neat.
    d. wireless built in.
    e. PS3 is a proper HD device: HD film, HD games.
    Without something like this.. why get a HD TV?

    I'm surprised when I hear people go on about not needing blu-ray for games. OK, so you don't want a massive amount of scenery, textures and so on?

    It was opting for CDROM over ROM carteridge as standard in the original playstation series that allowed much bigger games, and this counted bigtime towards the playstation's original success.

    All this stuff about "lifestyle" and "fun" over raw processing power.... yeah I heard that too many times before. We'll see.
    • Couple of points here...

      Regarding point A:(System Noise): Noise isn't present while watching movies, playing arcade games or demos. The noise starts when the drive kicks on for full XBOX 360 Disc games. I don't usually notice because I'm too busy fragging or avoiding a collision.

      Point B: Read the following article, and it's not the only case I've heard of either. http://news.punchjump.com/article.php?id=3405

      Point C: (Media Card Interface) Okay... I plug my thumbdrive or SanDisk multi card reader in an WOW it works.

      Point D: Wireless built in... PS3 wins on this one, I'm wired in every room of my house though.

      Point E: (Proper HD Device) This is SONY hype yet again... I do understand that there is more storage capacity available on Blu-Ray discs, however to say that XBOX 360 doesn't have HD games is plain and simply wrong. You don't have to have an HD drive to have HD games. All XBOX 360 games are native 1080i or 720p with the option for developers to go to 1080p of they desire. Please note that 99% of all PS3 games today are 1080i & 720p... even the PS3 has to make a sacrifice in horsepower if they want to try pushing 1080p in realtime.

      Regarding the difference between DVD & Blu-Ray and the effect on visuals is tricky. Where the PS3 developers will probably tend to go with High-Res textures XBOX 360 developers will tend to lean toward Shaders, Advansed texture Mapping etc...

      In the end, it will all come down to inovation and smooth business decisions. I for one am in the middle of auctioning off my entire PSP collection as we speak... I auctioned the PS2 to get the original XBOX. LOL

      I used to be impressed with SONY's products and have owned every one of their systems... the PS3 will have to prove a lot to me though.

      And one last note, EVERY multi-platform game that is coming out for both XBOX 360 and PS3 will be just that "Multi-Platform" those devs are not going to build each game from the ground up with anything special for either addition except for the possibility of downloadable content that differs from system to system.
    • Last point on YOUR point E: LOL

      Read this on about your "proper" HD Device known as the PS3...

      I have one of the TV's in question and amazingly my XBOX 360 doesn't have this upscaling problem.
    • Oh yeah... and SONY makes the damned TV's!

      The TV I have that is affected by this problem is a SONY WEGA CRT 1080i/480p/480i

      Sony PS3 on my Sony Wega HDTV only displays in 480p this is awesome stuff man. LOL

      I love that Proper HD Sony helps provide...

  • $599

    With all those recalled exploding batteries, it's no wonder they jacked up the price to recover all those losses.
    • Not really...

      Actually Sony loses about $230 on every PS3 it sells. Every console manufacturer loses money on the each machine they sell for roughly the first year after it is launched until the economies of scale kick in and also as the manufacturing costs go down over time.
      They recoup the money via the games they sell.
      • Sony losing $230 on every PS3 bla bla

        This is the biggest crap I've ever heard. So somebody starts a rumor and the followers exploit it to the higest degree.

        I'm not knocking you down. I'm knocking the rumor down.

        While I do like to believe that I have an open mind, and like to accept every single thing I hear from every angle... I do not believe this crap.

        If Sony is seriously losing $230 for every PS3 it sells for almost $600, you're talking about a $900 system.

        Okay, while I don't exactly know the technology behind the $900 PS3, it sounds like I could build my own, minus the OS, for a few hundred bucks less... Does this mean that Sony doesn't buy their parts wholesale??

        • Blu-ray

          you have to remember that the R&D for Blu-ray cost money. They are taking a hit, but are hoping it will increase the saturation of Blu-ray or HD-DVD.
          • blu-ray not even used for games!

            Something along the lines of "The PS3 will be equipped with a Blu-ray drive, blu-ray has more storage, which means more storage for better graphics"
            Blu-Ray will only be used with Blu-Ray movies, though they gave the idea to everyone that its also for games, only later to tell them this.
            I think sony said this about blu-ray in the way they did to give the wrong idea, and to make more fans.
            Xbox 360 will be the best overall console in my opinion, followed by the Wii OR the PS3, they both fill in eachothers gaps.
          • RE: blu-ray not even used for games!

            I don't have a PS3. I've used an Xbox 360 and am not that impressed. I'm not a console fanatic.. I'm a computer geek and that's about it.

            But what I don't understand is how PS3 couldn't use it's blu-ray technology for games. I haven't kept up on the latest issues like you have, Chardin, but if it's not available technology now, why couldn't a simple firmware update solve the issue in the future?

  • Atari 2600 rules!!!

    Simple, very low tech (by today's standard), doesn't even look cool but the point is, they delivered on what users/gamers wanted at the time. Provided the experience and enjoyment which is what, IMHO, the customers ultimately care about, not how many ponies you have under the hood.