MICHAEL DAVIS: Game Over
I have the greatest respect for the Sony company, but I have major issues with the way they handled the PS3 launch. So, to my friends at Sony: I still feel you are one of the greatest companies on the planet and it’s because of that I write this.
You should have known better…
Not so long ago in a galaxy real real close there was a giant named Nintendo. They were the undisputed champions of the video game world. They ruled the gaming world with their Mario Brothers Franchise and related games. So successful was Nintendo that the words Super Nintendo and Mario Brothers became part of the American lexicon.
So, there they sat secure in the knowledge that most of the market share for video games was theirs. One day a little guy named Sony showed up. Sony was known for televisions and stereos, not video games. So when they showed up with a new platform – the disc format – Nintendo, as they say in the hood, could give a (insert bad word).
No, Nintendo just sat idle while this “Play Station” chipped away at the big giant’s castle. Years before Sony had learned a bit about under estimating the competition. Back in the 70s they developed a video device called Betamax. It was the first affordable home video recorder. Well a year later other companies developed a VHS format and said to Sony, “Hey Sony, share your Beta format with us and we will hook you up with our VHS format.” Sony, as they say in the hood said “You can kiss our (insert bad word here).
Well, the rest of the industry went about their business and developed VHS leaving Sony holding the video format that America did not want. So you would think they would have learned their lesson.
You would think.
Anyway, as I was saying, Nintendo was so secure in their complete dominion of the video game market that they paid no mind to the little disc driven Play Station. Nintendo could have paid a little more attention to the disc format, but no!! They figured that the entire world would stay with them. They could have met the challenge head on developing a disc system of their own, but NOOOOO the world would stay with them they were *NINTENDO!
* Note: Please feel free to add your own ominous sound track whenever you see NINTENDO!
They were the leaders were they not? No one could catch them they were NINTENDO! They were so sure that their brand was so strong that they ignored the up start Play Station. Well it was soon evident that Play Station was the coolest thing on the planet.
And Nintendo heard what they thought they never would.
You would have thought that Nintendo would have quickly learned their lesson and converted to a disc system at the moment when Play Station kicked their ass.
They came out with Nintendo 64, which was still a cartridge platform. Remember they were NINTENDO! America and the rest of the world must have made a mistake with this Play Station crap. Nintendo 64 would pimp slap Play Station right?
Nope. Didn’t happen. Nintendo 64 was not the savoir they thought it would be. In fact, it was as lame as Tiny Tim on crack. No, that’s not right, it was as lame as Tiny Tim on crack trying to walk up a flight of stairs without his crutches! NO! It was as lame as Tiny Tim on crack trying to walk up a flight of stairs without his crutches while juggling and screaming-“God Bless Us EVERYONE!”…in Latin.
Yes it was that lame.
So Sony’s Play Station became the market leader, leaving Nintendo in the dust. Years passed and Nintendo developed a few more game systems but they could not compete with Sony. Sony who did not yet consider themselves SONY! No they were still just Sony. No big capital letters and exclamation point for them…not yet. They were content to just keep doing what they were doing, it looked indeed that they had learned their Betamax lesson.
Nintendo tried to fight the good fight but they were still thinking they were NINTENDO! One day Sony announced they were developing Play Station 2! Well the anticipation for this was fantastic! Still Sony just went about doing what they do, and by that I mean they went about doing good work. There were slight problems with the launch but those were quickly forgotten because the system and the games available for it were great!! The “games available” part of that last sentence is very VERY important, as we shall see later.
Not since the Cabbage Patch Kids of the early 80s did a toy garner this type of attention. In fact the PS2 soon redefined the video game market. It was no longer just a toy – it was a home entertainment system. It did more than just play video games. Nintendo then realized that this was not a fluke this was the new reality they were no longer NINTENDO, no they were just Nintendo. However with the success of the PS2 Sony was now SONY!
Let’s fast forward to a year or so ago. The PS3 is about to come out. This was history in the making. The lines to get this system were double that of the PS2. To say this was the biggest event in the history of gaming would have been an understatement. Sony knew this and reveled in it.
Now in the years before the launch of the PS3 Sony watched from on high as upstart X-Box entered the fray. They were not concerned. Years later X-Box 360 was announced and Sony did pay attention to that. The lines to get that system were very impressive. With this Sony made a decision-that decision was to release the PS3 with not nearly enough inventory to cover demand-and with few games. They figured, hey, we are SONY!
Who cares if there are not enough systems to go around? Who cares if there are not many games ready for the system and the games that were available for the most part sucked? Who cares, they were SONY!
So to almost daily news coverage the PS3 was released. People lost their damn minds! Riots, stabbing, stampedes all to get a game system that was supposed to be the apex of game systems.
Well in walks Michael Davis (for purposes of this article I represent thousands of people, plus I like saying my name) as I was saying, in walks Michael Davis looking to buy a PS3. At more than one store there’s a waiting list. At another store there’s a lottery. I’m getting a bit peeved because I really want one of these things.
At this store on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks CA there is a guy outside guy waving a sign that says “Play Station in stock.” Michael Davis (that’s me) goes into that store and asks for a PS3 and they produce one! There it is! I can’t believe it! I’m feeling pretty good until the sales person says to me “$1500.00.”
I look around the store and notice that no one is looking at me. I then pick up the PS3 box and slam it into the clerk’s head. I scream, “Hey, the box is dented! Can I get a discount?”
Then the all too brief daydream ends and I’m back to reality.
I look at the clerk and say, “You must be out of your freakin mind!” The clerk looks at me and responds, “Dude, there are people who are paying that.’
I believe him. It was at that moment that I decided that I could give a (insert bad word here) about the PS3. Now I refuse to buy it, or so I told myself. I walked into a Target a few months later and there it was. On the shelf were a few PS3’s and at the list price. I remember my pledge but I still walked over to the glass booth, which held the PS3 games or lack there off. What if there was a game there I just had to have? Would I forsake my vow? Well I did not break my vow that day, the games that are available are few and most of those SUCK!
I had decided not to buy the PS3 because I hate stupid business decisions. I hate jumping thru hoops. Here’s how it works Sony, you make it, if I like it I buy it. Everybody in the world-no-everybody in the universe KNEW there would be a CRAZY demand for the PS3, so how dare Sony release the damn thing with no where near the amount needed to satisfy demand. It turns out that the PS3 is not even worth it in the first place. There are simply not enough games. Why did Sony not wait a while until there was ample stock of the system and games to go around? I’m sure they have a business decision that they can use to explain why.
Or were they just being SONY?
And frankly if there was a business decision I don’t care. They knew what they were doing. They were creating a “must have” item that would transfer into daily news coverage. So whatever business reason they had they knew that there would be pandemonium.
They knew it.
Now back to the land of Nintendo. They decided to stick to what they do best. They went back to developing family type games and games which were just fun to play. Then very quietly they came out with the Wii. Quietly compared to the PS3 that is. Heck compared to the PS3 launch Iraq was a page six item for a while it seemed. The Wii is at least half the price the Play Station is and hundreds less than X-Box. In fact I’m told that the Wii is out selling the PS3 and X-Box combined.
Here’s where Michael Davis (that’s me) becomes relevant to Sony. I simply could give a crap about the PS3. I just got a Wii and I already had a X-Box 360, both of those systems ROCK!
And guess what Sony? The Wii and X-Box 360 have a LOT OF GAMES! I assume from the dozen of PS3’s I see at Target EVERY time I go in there that the demand for the PS3 has subsided greatly. I know there are thousands of people who feel just like me and that’s why I, Michael Davis (that’s me) is relevant.
Wow. Nintendo on its way back to becoming the market leader again? You think they will remember what Play Station did to them a few years back. I hope so. But Sony did not remember the Betamax story so time will tell.
Sony’s slogan for Play Station is Live in your world, play in ours. Play with what? There are no darn games.
Here’s my slogan, Live in my world, play in Nintendo’s.
Hollywood’s own Michael Davis is a comics creator and the founder of the Guardian Line series of comics as well as being a television producer and writer. He was a co-founder of Milestone Comics and his artwork has appeared in Wasteland, Green Arrow: Shado, Green Hornet and The Question, among others.