Sony Admits to Doing a "Bad Job" of Marketing the PS3

In a surprising announcement, Sony’s Head of Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison, has admitted that Sony did a "bad job" of informing the public of the PS3’s features and selling points. It’s nice to know that Sony has finally discovered (or at least, admitted) what everyone else in the entire gaming world has known since last year.

The fairly tardy insight from Harrison was revealed in an interview given to Newsweek recently, which described his disappointment in the handling of the PS3’s debut. Sony’s longtime public relations chief, Molly Smith, resigned from her position shortly following last year’s E3 convention in May. It was then that details of the PS3 were announced, causing the press and public to roar in disbelief at the cost of the unit and seeming lack of value for the high price point of the game machine.

Harrison said, "We did a very bad job between E3 2006 and the media event in October. [It is] something which in hindsight I wished we had done–but that’s 20/20 vision. I wished we had released a movie showing the Xross Media Bar in action to the web after E3 2006. Not maybe showing every single feature, but just to give people something to chew on."

The Xross Media Bar is the PS3’s version of a system navigation interface, which looks like an expanded version of the PSP’s menu system.. Different functions can be accessed through pull down menus for videos, music, games, system attributes, photos, and other features.

According to Harrison, introducing this aspect of the PS3 prior to launch would have made a difference. "Because it would have, I think, reassured an awful lot of people, like ‘Oh, there’s a photo viewer in it,’ and things like that. We showed it in a very hard-to-reach room at E3. And even though it was there, and some people who bothered to queue up got the demo, I don’t think we released anything moving as media. I think we released a few static screenshots. So that was an error."

Harrison believes that if the multimedia aspects of the PS3 were emphasized more strongly, it could have made a difference in generating more interest for the machine. "In hindsight we should have done something about that, and we should have said: ‘Here’s the photo mode viewer. Here’s the music player. Here’s the Blu-Ray player. Here’s the network functionality. Here’s the Web browser.’ And I think we would have addressed head-on a lot of that. Now, we didn’t."

It is doubtful whether a more complete revelation of the Xross Media Bar could have saved the PS3 from its rocky start last year. Yet Harrison continues to believe that the PS3 is the premier game platform of choice. He states, "The fact that the PlayStation 3 experience, which is exponentially more complicated than a PS2 or a PS1, works, does what it says, every time, efficiently, effectively–it’s a fantastic achievement."

The problem with Harrison’s statement, of course, is that a great majority of the public still fails to understand the concept of how the PS3 does "what it says, every time, efficiently, [and] effectively" and why "it’s a fantastic achievement." Ken Kutaragi, former President of Sony Computer Entertainment made an antagonizing statement last May, saying, "… if you consider the PlayStation 3 a toy, then yes, it is an expensive toy. However, it is more than a toy. It is a PlayStation 3. And it is the only PlayStation 3. I hope that those who understand this will gladly purchase it."

There may be no doubt in Sony’s mind that the PS3 is the best available machine. But it has had an extremely difficult time in getting this point across to consumers, and this–probably more than anything else–is the reason behind the PS3’s woes.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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