WSJ: Sony Making New Handheld Game Device/E-Book Reader/Netbook Computer Thingy

[Nintex] said:
Simple market share decides where the third party games go. Nintendo wouldn't have been able to secure the next Kingdom Hearts for 3DS or the Metal Gear Solid series if the PSP had a bigger piece of the pie. Not to mention that Sony's attempt at digital distribution with the PSP Go failed. Apple has the apps/digital distribution market locked, Nintendo is king of the packaged software. I'm sure that Nintendo is pissed that the iPod and iPhone are more popular than the DS systems, but overall they're in a great position. Apple won't challenge Nintendo's packaged software business and Nintendo has no chance in hell of challenging Apple when it comes to digital distribution. I believe that both of those markets can co-exist for at least another generation. Now Sony has to challenge either Nintendo or Apple to gain any sort of foothold in the handheld market.
What if they are going to challenge both? Now, I can already expect a "Good luck with that! LOL" from many, but I hope that that is what they are aiming for...
 
Liabe Brave said:
This is weirdly console-warsish coming from you. Market share doesn't make a product worth maintaining, profit does--and Sony makes money on each piece of PSP hardware sold. That's all the justification needed for staying in the business.
It's just a matter of opportunity costs. Gaming hardware is not actually a tremendously good business to be in -- it's difficult to make money on it and most of the profit is in software licensing -- which means you need to be moving a lot of software. It's also extremely expensive and risky to launch each new piece of hardware, with huge sunk costs on R&D and manufacturing that you just have to hope to recoup over the course of a generation. Given the scope of that investment, Sony has to think not just about whether it can generate a profit, but whether it could be generating more profit using that money a different way. Most importantly: rather than engaging a videogame war on two fronts, home consoles and handhelds, would it be more effective to put all those resources into winning just one of those fronts? Sony has a demonstrable ability to lead in the console space; if they don't think they have a shot at usurping Nintendo for first place in handhelds or making a serious go at Apple's new markets, it might be a much better idea to reinvest in taking back the console market.

I really don't mean this as specific to Sony in any way. Profiting in the gaming field, if you're not the market leader, at very least requires at very least strong hardware sales (which the PSP has certainly generated worldwide) combined with exceptionally strong and consistent software sales (which PSP did not.) Nobody has ever survived a string of sufficiently many second-and-third-place finishes in this market and I think it's important to at least theoretically have a shot at the brass ring to justify competing.

(Personally, my belief is that the decision-makers at Sony already thought about this issue a couple years ago, made a conscious decision to pour money into the PS3 rather than the PSP, and that's why we've seen an almost unbelievable renaissance for the former and surprisingly poor overall support for the latter.)

Corto said:
How is Sony in a worst position now to launch a PSP2 than before when it launched the original PSP?
They've lost the huge amount of default third-party support they had with PSP and they're going up against a preordained market king in the 3DS (i.e. they're in the situation Nintendo was in with the GameCube going up against the PS2.)
 
Corto said:
What if they are going to challenge both? Now, I can already expect a "Good luck with that! LOL" from many, but I hope that that is what they are aiming for...
Fighting a war on both fronts is even more stupid. Digital distribution is the future, so sooner or later Nintendo will have to make that shift and then they're fucked. It's useless to challenge their packaged software market when it's dead within 5-10(?) years.

Sony needs to compete with Apple not Nintendo.
 

AndyD

aka andydumi
THey could put out a PSP Go like device with a touchscreen and no slide. Effectively a iphone/itouch competitor. Touchscreen/motion with apps and geared more towards media than towards gaming like PSP.
 

Vic

Please help me with my bad english
Corto said:
How is Sony in a worst position now to launch a PSP2 than before when it launched the original PSP? At the time they launched against a total monopoly of a decade by Nintendo in a market that they never tried before, now they at least have an installed userbase, a known brand and some mindshare.
The PSP was seen as an superior platform than the DS for various valid reasons when it came out. Back then, seeing how the PS2 was a huge success, PSP was bound to do the same (rightfully); Nintendo was pretty underperforming & vulnerable back then and their threshold in the handheld market was at risk.

Today, there is no doubt that Nintendo got a strong grip in the handheld market. Sony could have potentially swayed away the GBA & DS with the PSP. This just won't be the case with the 3DS and a PSP2.
 
charlequin said:
They've lost the huge amount of default third-party support they had with PSP and they're going up against a preordained market king in the 3DS (i.e. they're in the situation Nintendo was in with the GameCube going up against the PS2.)
Before they launched the PSP they had zero third-party support... The preordained king is preordained by default because of an absence of an opponent candidate. Sony still hasn't showed its game. They, more than any of us, know very well the scenario that they are up against. Considering this, I'm really curious of what they will put in the market... it shopuld be at least interesting.
 

Kilrogg

paid requisite penance
Corto said:
Before they launched the PSP they had zero third-party support... The preordained king is preordained by default because of an absence of an opponent candidate. Sony still hasn't showed its game. They, more than any of us, know very well the scenario that they are up against. Considering this, I'm really curious of what they will put in the market... it shopuld be at least interesting.
But man if they hadn't got a incredible brand and image at the time. Nintendo's image was only strong in the handheld space, and even then, it was not as strong as it is now that they've sold 125+ million DSes. Now Sony's image is down the crapper. There is a difference between having a bad image and having no image, and I'd wager the latter is preferable.
 
Corto said:
Before they launched the PSP they had zero third-party support...
Errr.... no. That's not how it works.

PSP had huge, insane amounts of support announced long before its release, based solely on its status as a new Playstation platform: developers were successful on PS2, liked working with Sony, and presumed that this effort to translate the Playstation ideal into the portable world would automatically prove successful. Sony had to do basically nothing but show up to get these developers on board, the promise of these titles drove a huge amount of the early adoption of the PSP, and many of these pre-launch-announcement titles went on to become some of the PSP's best selling software.

That benefit will not exist for a PSP2.

The preordained king is preordained by default because of an absence of an opponent candidate.
The preordained king is preordained when developers don't give a shit if there's any competition or not. That's what happened with PS2: Dreamcast came out and third-parties didn't even notice. This is the sort of advantage that's possible to overcome, but it's still a huge disadvantage -- a disadvantage that did not exist in the DS vs. PSP war.
 
charlequin said:
Errr.... no. That's not how it works.

PSP had huge, insane amounts of support announced long before its release, based solely on its status as a new Playstation platform: developers were successful on PS2, liked working with Sony, and presumed that this effort to translate the Playstation ideal into the portable world would automatically prove successful. Sony had to do basically nothing but show up to get these developers on board, the promise of these titles drove a huge amount of the early adoption of the PSP, and many of these pre-launch-announcement titles went on to become some of the PSP's best selling software.

That benefit will not exist for a PSP2.



The preordained king is preordained when developers don't give a shit if there's any competition or not. That's what happened with PS2: Dreamcast came out and third-parties didn't even notice. This is the sort of advantage that's possible to overcome, but it's still a huge disadvantage -- a disadvantage that did not exist in the DS vs. PSP war.
We don't know what will be the real developer support towards the PSP2. Nintendo showed its game first, Sony still didn't do so. Last two years showed a pretty strong third party support even considering the PSP a "defunct" platform... I hope to be pleasantly surprised with this rumoured PSP2, and judging by all the snippets of info that are leaking it will be a device that I will use... let's wait and see.

charlequin said:
They already have a pretty rich library of games, well established franchises, first party as well as third party. Then they have the PSN service, though they still can improve it, with global homogenous content (equall offerings all over the world). They already have music, video, comic books, they have content to put inside this device. If they can put there a capable browser on top of that I think they have a strong contender. If somehow they can pull a Google colaboration (this of course is just wishfull thinking from me atm, but let's just imagine they can pull this, I never imagined Gabe on Sony E3 conf) with some sort of an Android powered device with the benefits of an open SDK and market and a mobile chrome, then this PSP2 can be REALLY interesting.
 
charlequin said:
Most importantly: rather than engaging a videogame war on two fronts, home consoles and handhelds, would it be more effective to put all those resources into winning just one of those fronts? Sony has a demonstrable ability to lead in the console space; if they don't think they have a shot at usurping Nintendo for first place in handhelds or making a serious go at Apple's new markets, it might be a much better idea to reinvest in taking back the console market.
Just to follow up this point with some partially related data using Psychotext's chart (Link)

Code:
	   Sony		    Nintendo	      Microsoft	        Total
Y/E 1998     $902,811,090   $1,023,333,867                      $1,926,144,957
Y/E 1999   $1,102,563,557   $1,301,350,000                      $2,403,913,557
Y/E 2000     $722,738,949   $1,368,207,547                      $2,090,946,497
Y/E 2001    -$449,776,290     $677,576,000                        $227,799,710
Y/E 2002     $629,101,056     $895,872,180   -$1,135,000,000      $389,973,237
Y/E 2003     $935,569,253     $834,333,333   -$1,191,000,000      $578,902,586
Y/E 2004     $627,195,212     $993,161,303   -$1,337,000,000      $283,356,515
Y/E 2005     $419,888,799   $1,056,056,202     -$539,000,000      $936,945,001
Y/E 2006      $69,129,058     $774,478,055   -$1,339,000,000     -$495,392,887
Y/E 2007  -$1,970,923,859   $1,914,666,388   -$1,969,000,000   -$2,025,257,471
Y/E 2008  -$1,079,994,103   $4,322,637,887      $426,000,000    $3,668,643,783
Y/E 2009    -$664,313,787   $5,691,428,301      $169,000,000    $5,196,114,515

Y/E 10Q1    -$413,541,667     $420,843,750      $312,000,000      $319,302,083
Y/E 10Q2    -$653,333,333     $710,655,556      $375,000,000      $432,011,111
Y/E 10Q3     $210,629,750   $2,087,904,452               N/A               N/A

Total				
	     $387,078,407  $24,072,504,822   -$6,157,000,000   $16,004,049,028

It's interesting to note the absolute nosedive which has taken place in Sony's gaming operating income since the introduction of the PSP. There are certainly other factors involved as well, but this paints a pretty damning picture that trying to maintain two concurrent platforms has been absolutely brutal to Sony's bottom line. And now that the PSP is fading away, Sony may finally be on the verge of turning these numbers back into the black again. Does turning their focus back to a 2nd ongoing platform again help or hurt the overall picture going forward? Up to this point, it is pretty clear that trying to focus on two platforms at once has been far worse for Sony than trying to focus on one platform at a time.
 
charlequin said:
Errr.... no. That's not how it works.

PSP had huge, insane amounts of support announced long before its release, based solely on its status as a new Playstation platform: developers were successful on PS2, liked working with Sony, and presumed that this effort to translate the Playstation ideal into the portable world would automatically prove successful. Sony had to do basically nothing but show up to get these developers on board, the promise of these titles drove a huge amount of the early adoption of the PSP, and many of these pre-launch-announcement titles went on to become some of the PSP's best selling software.
You are remembering wrong.

This was mostly the japanese pre-release support

TGS 04

# Visual Novel Series (adventure, Aqua Plus, tentative name)
# Untitled (action adventure, Atari Japan)
# Untitled (driving action, Atari Japan)
# Untitled (racing, Atari Japan)
# EX Jinsei Game (board game, Atlus, tentative name)
# Touge Max (racing, Atlus, tentative name)
# Princess Crown (action RPG, Atlus, tentative name)
# Persona (RPG, Atlus, tentative name)
# Educational Game (edutainment, Imagineer)
# KOF (3D fighting, SNK Playmore, tentative name)
# Angel Collection (dress-up game, MTO, tentative name)
# Puzzle Game (puzzle game, MTO, tentative name)
# Mobile Train Simulation + Densha De Go! Tokyo Kyukou Hen (simulation, Ongakukan, tentative name)
# Mushi (simulation, Global A Entertainment, tentative name)
# Sengoku Cannon (shooting, X-nauts, tentative name)
# Untitled (table game, Success)
# Jissen Pachislo Hisshopou! Series (simulation, Sammy, tentative name)
# RPG (RPG, Sony Computer Entertainment, tentative name)
# MMORPG (massively multiplayer Online RPG, Sony Computer Entertainment, tentative name)
# Karaoke (karaoke game, Sony Computer Entertainment, tentative name)
# GAMES (Online battle game, Sony Computer Entertainment, tentative name)
# Novel (novel game, Sony Computer Entertainment, tentative name)
# Red Line (communication, Sony Computer Entertainment, tentative name)
# Space Invaders Pocket (shooting, Taito)
# Plus Plum 2 again (falling-blocks puzzle game, Takuyo, tentative name)
# Hoshigari Empusa (love-sim, Takuyo)
# Puzzle Game (puzzle, D3 Publisher, tentative name)
# Karakuri (group-action, Tecmo, tentative name)
# Tecmo My Generation (variety, Tecmo, tentative name)
# Dokodemo Rasshou! Pachislo Sengen (pachislo simulation, Tecmo, tentative name)
# Dora-slot Super Hana Hana 30 (pachislo simulation, Dorasu)
# Taiko no Tatsujin (rhythm game, Namco, tentative name)
# Namco Museum (variety, Namco, tentative name)
# Soukyuu no Fafner (action, Bandai, tentative name)
# Dragon Ball Z (genre TBA, Bandai, tentative name)
# Naruto (genre TBA, Bandai, tentative name)
# Patlabor (genre TBA, Bandai, tentative name)
# LUMINES (music and light action/puzzle, Bandai)
# One Piece (genre TBA, Bandai, tentative name)
# King's Field (3D realtime RPG, From Software, tentative name)
# New Type Adventure Game (adventure, From Software, tentative name)
# Tenchu (ninja action, From Software, tentative name)
# Toudai Shougo Portable (table game, Mainichi Communications)
# Kino no Tabi - The Beautiful World - (novel adventure, Media Works)
# Yamasa Digi Portable (pachislo variety, Yamasa, tentative name)
http://uk.psp.ign.com/articles/549/549974p1.html

+ Initial support announced at the E3 2004

Japan
Ape Escape
Darkstalkers Chronicle (working title)
Dokodemo Issho � Starring the popular cartoon cat Toro
Dynasty Warriors (working title)
Exploration-based Horror title (tentative)
Hot Shots Golf
New Ridge Racer (tentative)
Puyo-Pop Fever
Ren-Goku � Third person 3D
TOE
Gran Turismo 4 Mobile
Legends of Eternia � 2D top-down RPG
Ten no Kagi, Chi no Mon � Third person sword fighting action
The Gagharv � Top-down 3D RPG, with turn-based battles
Ys: The Ark of Napishtim � RPG based on PC

Europe
Medevil � third person action
Metal Shell � third person tank game
Stick Balls � billiards-like ball game
This is Football 2005 � 3D soccer game
Wipeout Pure � Racing
WRC

United States
Fighting Spirits � 3D fighting game
Frogger � 3D adventure
ATV Off-road Fury � 3D third person racing
Death, Jr.
Tony Hawk�s Underground � In 3D
NHL FaceOff 2005 � 3D hockey
Spider-Man the Movie 2 � third person action
Syphon Filter: Logan�s Shadow � shooting
Psp has a much bigger and stronger support now compared to the support shown by japanese third parties in 2004.

And Sony can easily get western, multiplatform games when they launch a new platform. Even psp is getting some of these games.
 
Wow at those Microsoft loses. I know they lost a lot of money, but that's just crazy.

And I don't think you can blame Sony's lacking performance on the PSP. Didn't the PSP sell pretty well and is still making a good profit in Japan? The big fall happened around the PS3 launch, which isn't suprising.
 

Raistlin

Post Count: 9999
Dalthien said:
It's interesting to note the absolute nosedive which has taken place in Sony's gaming operating income since the introduction of the PSP. There are certainly other factors involved as well, but this paints a pretty damning picture that trying to maintain two concurrent platforms has been absolutely brutal to Sony's bottom line. And now that the PSP is fading away, Sony may finally be on the verge of turning these numbers back into the black again. Does turning their focus back to a 2nd ongoing platform again help or hurt the overall picture going forward? Up to this point, it is pretty clear that trying to focus on two platforms at once has been far worse for Sony than trying to focus on one platform at a time.
While interesting, I think there is no causal relationship. PSP wasn't an insanely huge R&D effort, and has most certainly made them a profit in absolute terms. Obviously PS2 was a huge success as well.

The nosedive was from PS3 R&D and fabrication costs. Assuming CELL and BD are in PS4 though, some of the development costs associated with them should be distributed across both generations. Obviously that isn't how financial statements work, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out at the end of next gen in absolute terns. I suspect you will see nowhere near the same up-front loses for Sony next gen.




BTW - That listing you have doesn't include MS's write-off for the RRoD warranty. IIRC, that was in the neighborhood of $3 Billion? So in absolute terms, the Xbox line has cost MS around $10 Billion :\




ClosingADoor said:
Wow at those Microsoft loses. I know they lost a lot of money, but that's just crazy.
See my 'BTW' above ;)
 
Spiegel said:
Psp has a much bigger and stronger support now compared to the support shown by japanese third parties in 2004.
True, but the Japanese 3rd-party support was as irrelevant to the PSP in 2004 as it is in 2010 (in western markets).

Nobody in the west was buying a PSP at launch for Metal Gear Acid, or Ridge Racers, or Darkstalkers Chronicle. They were buying the PSP for Madden, Need for Speed, Grand Theft Auto, Star Wars Battlefront, Midnight Club, and the promise of all their other favourite PS2 franchises coming to the system.

Just like nobody in the west buys the PSP today, despite the decent Japanese support that the platform still receives.

And the western announced support grew a lot between the time of the E3/04 list that you posted and when the system finally launched a year later.



Raistlin said:
While interesting, I think there is no causal relationship. PSP wasn't an insanely huge R&D effort, and has most certainly made them a profit in absolute terms. Obviously PS2 was a huge success as well.
The PS3 is obviously the elephant in the room when it comes to Sony's financial losses. I'm not suggesting otherwise. But it is interesting to note that the dropoff started at the same time that the PSP came about, and then was made far worse with the arrival of the PS3 a couple years later.

But I think it is worth questioning how much the need to try to balance two platforms simultaneously impacted the overall picture for Sony. Managing one platform is extremely difficult by itself. Trying to handle two full platforms at once only magnifies the issue immensely. Could Sony have handled the PS3 launch more smoothly if that was their only focus at the time? I'm not sure - but I strongly suspect so. I think it is also interesting that Sony essentially abandoned the PSP a while ago in order to put all of their focus on resurrecting the PS3, and they have found some success by putting almost all of their focus back on one single platform. That's the point that I think is worth contemplating, and which charlequin was also bringing up. Are they better off putting a laser-like focus, with all of their energy and commitment, on one platform? Or are they better splitting their energies and focus to try to handle two separate platforms simultaneously? It is a worthy consideration, especially seeing how far their fortunes have fallen in the six years since they had to start wrestling with supporting two platforms at the same time.

Raistlin said:
BTW - That listing you have doesn't include MS's write-off for the RRoD warranty. IIRC, that was in the neighborhood of $3 Billion? So in absolute terms, the Xbox line has cost MS around $10 Billion :\
These aren't my numbers - I just took them from Psychotext, who has been keeping this chart going through the years. But I believe that the RROD fiasco is included in the 2007 numbers for Microsoft.
 

Nemo

Will Eat Your Children
[Nintex] said:
Fighting a war on both fronts is even more stupid. Digital distribution is the future, so sooner or later Nintendo will have to make that shift and then they're fucked. It's useless to challenge their packaged software market when it's dead within 5-10(?) years.

Sony needs to compete with Apple not Nintendo.
Hyeeeeeeeeell no.

Make it 20-30 years and you got a case
 
Raistlin said:
Hmm. Maybe I'm wrong? Either way, in absolute dollars obviously Xbox has been costly.
Yes, you're wrong about that specific detail: the RRoD fees were 1.15 billion set aside in Q4 2008. However, you are right that Microsoft has lost a great deal of money on the Xbox brand.
 
Corto said:
We don't know what will be the real developer support towards the PSP2.
In the same sense that I don't know it'll be hot tomorrow, perhaps: the future is unwritten, but by examining the evidence of the present it's often possible to feel quite confident about it. The complete loss of pretty much literally all Western support for the PSP, combined with the announced support of the 3DS (which includes a large number of what are currently "PSP franchises") is enough to draw a reasonable conclusion here.

Your statements here would, I think, probably make you the single most optimistic poster on the entirety of NeoGAF about the PSP2. There are plenty of people who believe it's possible for Sony to release one and ultimately be successful with it -- but I think almost all of them would acknowledge the significant uphill struggle that would be necessary to do so.

EDIT: Or, in other words, it's entirely reasonable to suggest that Sony might be able to succeed in the handheld market with future product(s), but acknowledging the specifics of the situation in which they find themselves now is important to constructing an effective picture of how that might occur.
 
charlequin said:
In the same sense that I don't know it'll be hot tomorrow, perhaps: the future is unwritten, but by examining the evidence of the present it's often possible to feel quite confident about it. The complete loss of pretty much literally all Western support for the PSP, combined with the announced support of the 3DS (which includes a large number of what are currently "PSP franchises") is enough to draw a reasonable conclusion here.

Your statements here would, I think, probably make you the single most optimistic poster on the entirety of NeoGAF about the PSP2. There are plenty of people who believe it's possible for Sony to release one and ultimately be successful with it -- but I think almost all of them would acknowledge the significant uphill struggle that would be necessary to do so.

EDIT: Or, in other words, it's entirely reasonable to suggest that Sony might be able to succeed in the handheld market with future product(s), but acknowledging the specifics of the situation in which they find themselves now is important to constructing an effective picture of how that might occur.
I acknowledge the difficult scenario that Sony is at the moment in the portable gaming business, that's self evident, but as a consumer I think/hope that Sony can use this as an opportunity to create an original concept and device (as original as any device or concept are in a tech industry). I think that that is reasonable to hope from this company. I'm pretty well acknowledgeable that Sony needs to fight or fright. In the worst case scenario for me as a consumer, Sony packs up and gets out of this market and then I buy an iPad or a 3DS... Not a bad scenario by any stretch, but I would still love to see a Sony device in this market and these reports/leaks/rumors are in sintony with what I expect from an hypothetical PSP2. And that makes me optimistic.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
charlequin said:
Make a credible alternative to both. Something that's better than either in at least some respects. And market the crap out of it :)

I think there is an opportunity for a device that can be a general 'go-to' pocket device - for a certain demographic - while simultaneously being a device that supports more serious gaming. No device has got that right yet. People scoff at convergence, but it makes total sense in a mobile device. People ideally would like to only have to carry one device, and that's why Sony needs to be in this space, to try to be that one device for a profitable number of people.

WRT where Sony is now vs where they were before, particularly with third party support, I would be quite confident that Sony would secure very good competitive support with a new handheld. If anything 3DS is a help here in helping pubs find resources for their platform. Sony has excellent relationships with publishers...if they've a good strategy to show, I think it's exceptionally pessimistic to think developers only have eyes for 3DS.
 
Honestly, that description sounds like they're making a portable, general purpose computer. like a shrunk down version of those VAIO P things with a nod toward games.


It would be pretty hysterical if the PSP2 was actually an iPad-like device instead of something pocketable. (note that I don't think this will be the case)
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
LCfiner said:
It would be pretty hysterical if the PSP2 was actually an iPad-like device instead of something pocketable. (note that I don't think this will be the case)
It's possible the platform would span a number of devices.

non-Phone wifi version (small)
Phone/3G version (small)
Tablet version (larger)

With price increasing from bottom to top.
 
gofreak said:
It's possible the platform would span a number of devices.

non-Phone wifi version (small)
Phone/3G version (small)
Tablet version (larger)

With price increasing from bottom to top.

that is possible. but I don't have confidence in Sony's ability to manage multiple devices properly and have appropriate software for each device while still maintaining the compatibility that would make them a "family".
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
LCfiner said:
that is possible. but I don't have confidence in Sony's ability to manage multiple devices properly and have appropriate software for each device while still maintaining the compatibility that would make them a "family".
Well, the stand-out would be the tablet. All software designed for the first two would run fine on the third, but you may want to have software that's designed specifically around its strengths, and thus exclusively available for it. Filtering such software doesn't seem like a terribly difficult problem, depending on how open or shut the development landscape is on the system, at least. It wouldn't be a unique problem for them...

It's just speculation anyway...but if there was going to be a tablet device, I am sure it would only be as part of a family of devices the platform runs across, including smaller ones.
 
gofreak said:
Make a credible alternative to both. Something that's better than either in at least some respects. And market the crap out of it :)

I think there is an opportunity for a device that can be a general 'go-to' pocket device - for a certain demographic - while simultaneously being a device that supports more serious gaming. No device has got that right yet. People scoff at convergence, but it makes total sense in a mobile device. People ideally would like to only have to carry one device, and that's why Sony needs to be in this space, to try to be that one device for a profitable number of people.

WRT where Sony is now vs where they were before, particularly with third party support, I would be quite confident that Sony would secure very good competitive support with a new handheld. If anything 3DS is a help here in helping pubs find resources for their platform. Sony has excellent relationships with publishers...if they've a good strategy to show, I think it's exceptionally pessimistic to think developers only have eyes for 3DS.
This is exactly what I am expecting. Sony has top notch gaming software, has the multimedia content, has a strong online infrastructure to distribute the content... If they deliver a well design device, easy to use, easy to interact with, easy to put content in, with a good battery life, and good looking, then they have a strong contender. If they can be in the middle ground between a dedicated gaming device and a portable connected all-in-one device they'll stand a chance. The quality of the browser will also be paramount, if they are able to give a true "real" internet (flash capable) browser then they will differentiate from the competitors.
 
gofreak said:
Well, the stand-out would be the tablet. All software designed for the first two would run fine on the third, but you may want to have software that's designed specifically around its strengths, and thus exclusively available for it. Filtering such software doesn't seem like a terribly difficult problem, depending on how open or shut the development landscape is on the system, at least. It wouldn't be a unique problem for them...

It's just speculation anyway...but if there was going to be a tablet device, I am sure it would only be as part of a family of devices the platform runs across, including smaller ones.

This scheme, if it turns out to be accurate, would be a fairly obvious attempt to replicate Apple's iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad convention, right? allow for small device software to be compatible with the large device but also have dedicated large device software. I'm sure you had that in mind

The thing is, I believe that it IS really hard to get that system going. If it were easy, there's be more competition for the iPod touch and iPad out there. (iPhone competition is pretty strong with Android phones) it's been 3 years since the iPod touch came out and there's nothing that offers the same breadth of functionality or diverse third party apps for a non-phone device.

multitouch iPad competitors are still quite a ways offs.

I think Sony would be biting off more than it could chew if it were to attempt to launch multiple devices like that in quick succession. if the non phone game console came out first, then the phone, then the tablet a year later or so, they might be better able to manage the system.

Their first step has to be in making a viable ipod touch competitor. they were hoping that would be the PSP go but that was dead in the water. PSP2 needs to really make a dent in that market. (assuming they don't try to "pull a Nintendo" and move away from the convergence device market and differentiate the PSP2 via some other means like 3D)
 
gofreak said:
Make a credible alternative to both. Something that's better than either in at least some respects. And market the crap out of it :)

I think there is an opportunity for a device that can be a general 'go-to' pocket device - for a certain demographic - while simultaneously being a device that supports more serious gaming. No device has got that right yet. People scoff at convergence, but it makes total sense in a mobile device. People ideally would like to only have to carry one device, and that's why Sony needs to be in this space, to try to be that one device for a profitable number of people.

WRT where Sony is now vs where they were before, particularly with third party support, I would be quite confident that Sony would secure very good competitive support with a new handheld. If anything 3DS is a help here in helping pubs find resources for their platform. Sony has excellent relationships with publishers...if they've a good strategy to show, I think it's exceptionally pessimistic to think developers only have eyes for 3DS.
I completely agree with you here. Apple products are popular convergence devices that lack "serious" games to make it a suitable replacement for a handheld gamind device.

The 3DS is a serious gaming machine which lacks the features to make it a convergence/phone device.

Sony is in a perfect position to put those two together.


gofreak said:
It's possible the platform would span a number of devices.

non-Phone wifi version (small)
Phone/3G version (small)
Tablet version (larger)

With price increasing from bottom to top.
I think this is a patent for a service as opposed to a single device.
 
Baki said:
I completely agree with you here. Apple products are popular convergence devices that lack "serious" games to make it a suitable replacement for a handheld gamind device.

The 3DS is a serious gaming machine which lacks the features to make it a convergence/phone device.

Sony is in a perfect position to put those two together.
Was that not the goal of the PSP? I hope this time the software actually delivers on that promise.


Note: I love my PSPs and there are tons of good games, but let's not try and pretend like it wasn't a failure software wise.
 
LCfiner said:
This scheme, if it turns out to be accurate, would be a fairly obvious attempt to replicate Apple's iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad convention, right? allow for small device software to be compatible with the large device but also have dedicated large device software. I'm sure you had that in mind

The thing is, I believe that it IS really hard to get that system going. If it were easy, there's be more competition for the iPod touch and iPad out there. (iPhone competition is pretty strong with Android phones) it's been 3 years since the iPod touch came out and there's nothing that offers the same breadth of functionality or diverse third party apps for a non-phone device.

multitouch iPad competitors are still quite a ways offs.

I think Sony would be biting off more than it could chew if it were to attempt to launch multiple devices like that in quick succession. if the non phone game console came out first, then the phone, then the tablet a year later or so, they might be better able to manage the system.

Their first step has to be in making a viable ipod touch competitor. they were hoping that would be the PSP go but that was dead in the water. PSP2 needs to really make a dent in that market. (assuming they don't try to "pull a Nintendo" and move away from the convergence device market and differentiate the PSP2 via some other means like 3D)
It depends on how open Sony wants this device to be. Apple when it first showed the iPhone released a web based SDK and the devs were less than pleased with this solution, when Apple amended their hand and released a true SDK with access to proprietary API the devs flooded the iPhone/iPod touch ecosystem with apps. Sony needs to balance the openness/proprietary issue in this device really well to deliver a comparable experience.
 
Corto said:
It depends on how open Sony wants this device to be. Apple when it first showed the iPhone released a web based SDK and the devs were less than pleased with this solution, when Apple amended their hand and released a true SDK with access to proprietary API the devs flooded the iPhone/iPod touch ecosystem with apps. Sony needs to balance the openness/proprietary issue in this device really well to deliver a comparable experience.
I think this is an interesting point. For all the moaning about the closed nature of the App Store, it's waaaay more open to new software than traditional game consoles have been. (Xbox indie games is the closest comparison I can think of now but it doesn't enjoy the same success as the App Store)

If the PSP2 were to allow for more indie games and a low barrier to entry to get an SDK, that would allow for a lot more variety and small, unique game titles. (it would also allow for a lot more shovelware but, hey, it's a trade-off).

And it would still have the big Sony IPs and game studios that Apple doesn't have.

Of course, that, by itself wouldn't be enough to make the system a success but it might be a step in the right direction in courting the current ipod touch user who's used to paying 1 to 5 dollars for a game. (is that a business that sony wants to be in, though? would that make their 30 dollar retail games feel overpriced?)

This whole scenario is fascinating to me. Sony is between a rock and a hard place with the psp. i'm so curious to see where they go with it.
 
Gravijah said:
Was that not the goal of the PSP? I hope this time the software actually delivers on that promise.


Note: I love my PSPs and there are tons of good games, but let's not try and pretend like it wasn't a failure software wise.
Pretty much but unfortunately the PSP was unable to compete with newer devices when it came to multimedia functionality.

That said, the PSP library is absolutely fantastic and I think SCE more than delivered on that front.

Software sales however is another issue entirely.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
LCfiner said:
I think Sony would be biting off more than it could chew if it were to attempt to launch multiple devices like that in quick succession. if the non phone game console came out first, then the phone, then the tablet a year later or so, they might be better able to manage the system.
Maybe, but I think there are plusses and minuses to moving fast on all fronts vs a 'softly softly' approach that might expand the device range over time. It would definitely be a bigger ask of them, but that route would have its own attractions.


Baki said:
Sony is in a perfect position to put those two together.
They're perhaps in a better position than many other would-be Apple competitors in that they do have at least some distinguishing content assets that have an existing heritage to them and to some degree, at least, a built-in audience. I mean when I see a htc and I see a Apple, the big question is 'why not the Apple?'. The best differentiator is really content, and Sony perhaps is better placed here than many other players.

But no position is perfect...what we're talking about here would be a massive undertaking.

LCfiner said:
Of course, that, by itself wouldn't be enough to make the system a success but it might be a step in the right direction in courting the current ipod touch user who's used to paying 1 to 5 dollars for a game. (is that a business that sony wants to be in, though? would that make their 30 dollar retail games feel overpriced?)
The answer to this gets to the heart of one of the biggest decisions Sony would have to take if going this route. If Sony wants the device to be credibly generalist, they need a software ecosystem to match that. They have two choices...to start a third platform alongside Apple's and Android that they would own, with their own policies, tools etc. or to partner with one (Android). The first option is attractive in so far as it would allow them to control things like pricing and to manage the balance between cheaper content and high-end expensive content more directly. However it has the big disadvantage of being yet another platform, with no existing support. Partnering with another has the advantage of leveraging an existing platform's support, but has the disadvantage of that platform competing directly with their own games platform on the same device. If the next Sony gaming device supported Android, for example, while also having its own 'closed' Playstation platform, at what point does a developer find it better to release a game on the Playstation part of the platform vs just releasing something as an Android app on their own terms?

In reality there's probably lots of other answers 'in between'. But that's definitely one of Sony's biggest questions/problems if they are trundling down this route. If I had to guess I think Sony might take a breath and go with its own platform.
 
Gravijah said:
Wouldn't chicks with long fingernails prefer touchscreens over buttons, since all their fingernails are like mini-styluses?

That's exactly what I thought but my wife and my sister had long fingernails at the time and had a hard time with the iphone.
 
TheExecutive said:
That's exactly what I thought but my wife and my sister had long fingernails at the time and had a hard time with the iphone.
that's because the iphone needs finger pads due to the capacitive nature of the screen. and this is the case with all new phone touchscreens these days. 3DS screen is still resistive.

a good UI will take this into account provide targets large enough to be hit with a finger pad, anyway.

that iWish design is pretty awful on a whole bunch of fronts.
 
gofreak said:
...If the next Sony gaming device supported Android, for example, while also having its own 'closed' Playstation platform, at what point does a developer find it better to release a game on the Playstation part of the platform vs just releasing something as an Android app on their own terms?

In reality there's probably lots of other answers 'in between'. But that's definitely one of Sony's biggest questions/problems if they are trundling down this route. If I had to guess I think Sony might take a breath and go with its own platform.
I guess the pricing will be the real differentiator. If a developer wants to release a premium priced full fledged PSP title they launch it on the Playstation platform, if they choose to enter the freeware/low cost android market they'll have to price it accordingly to the already existing competition.

And as optimism goes you are way over me. :D I sincerely don't expect Sony to have the will or the software know how to implement an OS to this device, along with an SDK with open APIs and a Market place on top of it all totally from scratch. And the developers (thinking more of the garage developer here) won't be too thrilled to experiment and develop in yet another platform... But hey!That would be an even more ballsy move from Sony!
 
TheExecutive said:
That's exactly what I thought but my wife and my sister had long fingernails at the time and had a hard time with the iphone.
The screen is touch capacitive, there needs to be skin contact with the screen to be able to enter an input.

edit: miserably beaten like Netherlands next Sunday!
 
If Sony makes a PSPhone, let HTC design it, and let it run Android.

Large touch screen + expandable SD memory + HDMI port + dual analog + Android App store + PSN

My evo already works great as an e-reader with the 4.5" screen, the device really doesn't have to be that large.

It would be expensive as fuck, but they could probably get it down to $199-$299 with a data plan.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
Corto said:
And as optimistim comes you are way over me. :D I sincerely don't expect Sony to have the will or the software know how to implement an OS to this device, along with an SDK with open APIs and a Market place on top of it all totally from scratch. And the developers (thinking more of the garage developer here) won't be too thrilled to experiment and develop in yet another platform... But hey!That would be an even more ballsy move from Sony!
They have the marketplace already...they have hardware, a OS (of a sort at least..see below), development tools. It seems more a question of policy of allowing people to make non-gaming software and encouraging development of such. Technically everything they might need, at least for 'one at a time' running of apps is there, it's just focussed at the moment on games. (Whether their tools etc. need improving - doubtless they do - is another matter, but they do have these things in one form or another now).

I do share skepticism about whether they could or should furnish their own generalist, multi-tasking OS, though, and all that.

There might be another route though, that is, base the platform on something like Android, but - if it were possible to do so - make it so only apps procured from their store were runnable on these devices. Google has its own Android Marketplace that many android sets come preinstalled with...perhaps it's possible for someone like Sony to have their own marketplace that's the exclusive marketplace for their devices. If that were possible (open to hacking though it might be), it would give Sony a shared technology base with an existing, active platform, while still letting them be the gatekeeper to content on their devices. I'm sure if Sony were to do this they'd have a lot of apps knocking on their door, a lot of devs submitting their already developed Android apps to Sony's marketplace for distribution on their hardware. Security is the big issue here though, to make it watertight that only stuff sourced from sony's marketplace was runnable on their kit.

edit - This may be less of an option if the Android license requires developers to disclose the source code of any derivations of it...don't know if that's required or not. Sony I'm sure would want to keep their custom flavour of Android 'closed'/not open source.