Mar 1, 2007

Sony's Canned Response to Growing Complaints

In response to the growing number of European gamers gettin' bellyachy over the exclusion of PS2 and PS1 backwards compatibility in the new PAL version of the PS3 set to launch later in March 07, Sony exec, Phil Harrison found it useful to address the issue in an "exclusive" interview with "ThreeSpeech blog." A blog reportedly "independent of Sony, yet somehow able to score all the "exclusive" interviews.

In an industry rife with journalistic corruption, (game reviewers getting paid to write positive reviews, ads being pulled from magazines daring enough to write negate reviews... etc) it's pretty tough to believe that "ThreeSpeech" is in any way journalistically independent.

During the interview, this quote comes up:

"...who can honestly say that they ever played a PlayStation game on their PS2s? I personally, have played one on mine: the awesome Vib-Ribbon."

Because of the awkward writing style, it's tough to figure out whether Phil Harrison is saying this, or whether it's being said by the interviewer. In any case, it's a hilarious statement when you think about it.

Let's pretend for a moment, that a similar statement was made about the movie industry... for instance:

"honestly, how many of you have ever gone back to watch the original Star Wars once all the sequels came out? I for one... have watched it once... but only cause I couldn't find my copy of 'the Phantom Menace."

It would sound ridiculous, wouldn't it? It's as if the production of a movie sequel completely eliminates the cultural impact or enjoyability of the original installment.

By applying this logic to the gaming industry, Sony has just basically written off every game they've ever produced in the past, simply because their newer stuff is shinier and louder.

It's yet another example of why Sony has completely lost touch with folks who play, and appreciate video games. They're the Kraft Dinner of the gaming industry, and someone needs to tell them that it doesn't matter how much goddamned yellow powdered cheese you put into with the noodles, it's still just noodles.

Now maybe that's a bad example... cause goddamn do I love Kraft Dinner... but even I can't eat it all the time. In fact, I have a tough time eating it twice in a month. Anything more than that... and it really just starts to taste like the same old bloody Krafty D I had last time.

And that's really how people are feeling about every single game that's come out for the PS3 so far. There's nothing new... there's nothing groundbreaking. Sure... everything's shinier... but we ain't crows... and it's innovation, creativity, and change that holds peoples' interest.

But beyond all that... after you announce that the system you're asking everyone to buy isn't going to have all the capability you promised... you don't turn around and alienate an entire portion of your customer base by saying that pretty much everyone who still plays all the old games needs to git with the times.

I'm one of those folks who play all my old PS1 games on my PS2. I'm one of those people who only got around to getting a PS2 cause it finally came out with a couple innovative 3rd party games in its dying days, (like guitar hero)

To suggest that my tendency to replay the greats is a waste of time is really quite insulting. You might as well tell Roger Ebert to quit wasting his time on "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca" when newer gems like "Dukes of Hazzard," and "Scary Movie 4" have hit the theatres.

It also gives us some insight into the true lack of support and resources Sony will reserve for their PS3 once a new hardware idea takes them elsewhere.

Sega learned all these lessons the hard-way by pissing all over backwards capability, and releasing too many systems too soon, and cutting previous ones loose before they had finished their full cycle. The lost third party developer support... they lost retailer support, and most importantly, they lost confidence from poor folks like me who had shelled out cash for both the Sega CD and the 32X, only to find them both abandoned a year or so after purchase.

Ironically, it's Sega who has learned from this lesson, and continues to release games now for their last console, a full 6 years after discontinuing it. They may not be making a lot of money by doing so... but they're certainly rebuilding their consumer support base.

~and just cause I can't let it go... here's another excerpt from the interview. I'm sure you'll find it a wonderful example of "hard-hitting" questions without a hint of answer dodging on the part of the Sony exec.

Q: Can you give us a ballpark figure for the number of PS2 titles which will be playable at launch on the PS3?

PH: “The situation is changing every day, but on March 23, we expect the list to include over 1,000 PS2 titles.”

Q: And presumably, you will be concentrating on the big titles?

PH: “We can’t give any information about specific titles but, clearly, that would be our policy.”

Q: It has been suggested that reducing the components on the PS3’s motherboard would pave the way for a reduction in its price to come about more quickly. Is that a fair analysis?

PH: “Price reductions are something that we wouldn’t comment on specifically. But you know the business model very well – we strive to get the cost of manufacturing down as soon as possible, and as soon as we can pass cost savings onto the consumers, we will.”

Q: Just how important is backwards-compatibility?

PH: “I think the reasons why people buy PS3s are the new games that it offers, and the HD content experiences provided by games and movies, the opportunity to access the PlayStation Network, and titles like MotorStorm and Resistance: Fall of Man


And just one more shot...

here's another great example of an "unscripted" interview with our friend Phil Harrison.

It's uncanny how much time they spend re-assuring us that the interview is in fact... "unscripted."


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