Top 5 PS3 "Fails"

There’s a lot that Sony has begun to do right with the PS3, especially since the fall of 2009, and more recently with the release of the PS3 exclusive, Heavy Rain, already raking in some seriously great reviews. But whenever any company gets a little too high on its virtual horse, I think it’s the right time to look back at the failures they came through. Of course Xbox 360 has had some major failings as well, most notably being the extremely ridiculous rate at which they break down. But that’s another article entirely.

This isn’t intended as fuel for the console wars, though some of these examples certainly functioned that way. This is merely my take on some of the pitfalls of a largely successful console that could be that much more successful without some of the "fails" that held it back. Are you listening, Sony? Time to take some notes.

ps3 home

5. PS Home late launch

Let’s just look back at a timeline for the PS3. It was originally released in November of 2006 worldwide, immediately up against the Xbox 360 and holiday sales juggernaut, the Wii. The system sported online capabilities from the beginning, but no real centralized social features. For Sony, this would have been the PERFECT time to launch some kind of community system, get the game world a-buzzing with the idea of personalized "avatars" or virtual space. Even 2007 or the first eleven months of 2008 would have been enough to catch Microsoft with its online pants down and really blow gamers away. But as Sony would have it, the PS Home launched in December of 2008, just a mite too late. The Xbox 360 was already there, both features were free updates, and neither really added too much to the online experience anyway. To be sure, gamers have warmed to the whole online avatar thing, and it’s made some money for Sony and Microsoft simply in paid online customizations. But c’mon, guys, the opportunity was just knocking way earlier.


4. Lair

I think the best way to explain the many, many failures of the mega-hyped PS3 exclusive, Lair, is just to reproduce some snippets from reviews taken from Metacritic, which, by the way, lists it with an average score of 53. Here’s what some reviewers had to say:

Gaming Nexus – "A game can also end up being worse than the sum of its parts. Lair is a good example of this. Because Lair’s most important element, the control scheme, is terrible, you end up with a game worthy of the bargain bin."

Jolt Online Gaming UK – "The music’s nice though, and at least it looks good."

Gaming Age – "Even a crosshair would have made all the difference in the world."

games(TM)"Lair amounts to nothing more than an unpleasant mixture of boredom and irritation. Not exactly the system seller that the machine is positively screaming out for."

 price down

3. Earnings drag

This is pretty simple. In the first two years of its existence on the market, the PS3 lost roughly $3.8 billion dollars for Sony. There are a number of reasons for this, one of the main ones being my #2 fail, but also the absence of one or two really powerful "system sellers" as mentioned in one of the reviews above. Of course the Wii had its revolution of gaming controls, as well as a new Zelda title, to launch it into sales madness, and the Xbox 360 came alive with Gears of War. I think Sony was hoping that Resistance would sort of elevate the system like a new Halo, and with Killzone 2 not in the immediate horizon, it was about all Sony had. I’m glad LittleBigPlanet and MGS4 came along. Phew.

ps3 note

2. Console launch

Probably one of the worst-managed console launches in history, the PS3 launch is arguably the most frustrating reason for the PS3 not leading ahead of the 360 in sales right now. The launch date in the U.S. was Nov. 17th, 2006, but a week prior, Sony announced that they would be unable to meet the previously announced shipping quote of 400,000 units, and there ended up being shortfalls of around 40%. 40%! That’s 160,000 units that went unshipped and unsold, and turned the already manic eBay market for PS3s into a panic. Desperate mothers who had already paid upwards of $2500 for a single PS3 went unfulfilled for weeks, sometimes even months. And aside from that, the fact that the PS3 launched at the original price of $400 for the cheap model, whereas the Xbox 360 was posting at $300 and the Wii at $250, was a big bonecrusher for the system. I mean, what parent is buying their kid a more expensive system with fewer games?


1. Not locking down FFXIII

This is, in my opinion, Sony’s biggest failure, though the expansion of the Final Fantasy series to other consoles is no doubt a good thing for Square Enix. And listen, maybe Sony didn’t really have a choice in the matter. I mean, I don’t know how all those deals work. But one can imagine that if Sony was willing to pony up the dough, Square Enix would have no problem keeping FFXIII a PS3 exclusive, and propel the PS3 past the 360 in console sales this year. So way to go, once again, Sony, for royally running your console through the mud, leaving it bleeding and broken on the side of the road, so that some good Samaritan like Solid Snake has to come by and drag it back up. Way to go.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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