Former Microsoft Exec: Sony Coming Back In Console War
It comes as no surprise to anyone that the recent influx of high-quality software, the price drops over the past year and a half, and the Blu-Ray format war victory has placed Sony in a relatively favorable position in the current battle with Microsoft and Nintendo. However, we can't forget the horrendous start for the PlayStation 3, which leads us to the current - and very stark - compare 'n contrast.
According to a recent GameDaily interview with former Microsoft executive Ed Fries, just about everyone is seeing the newfound appeal and success of the PS3. Fries oversaw game publishing on the original Xbox (he helped land studios like Rare and Bungie), and he left Microsoft back in 2004 to work on several other non-game-related projects. But he just recently founded the independent development studio, Airtight Games, which has the game Dark Void scheduled for release on the PS3, 360 and PC. And here's what he had to say about Sony's rise:
"I think it's obvious that Sony got off to a slow start; I think they made some pretty big mistakes and they've done a good job in the last year in recovering from those; I think they're putting up a much stronger battle now. They've also done a great job in keeping the PS2 business alive, so you've got a lot of happy PS2 customers who are just waiting for the price of PS3 to be right before they switch over. If Sony can keep those guys brand loyal, they will have a lot of people coming over to the PS3.
It leaves Microsoft in a kind of awkward position because with Sony winning the Blu-ray battle, it's nice to have a hi-def player as part of your games machine, and now that that's the standard I think it's a big advantage for Sony. It kind of pushes Microsoft into a box where the main the thing that they have [going for them] right now is they can exert price pressure on Sony... I think they can cause Sony some pain by making the 360 a lot more accessible price-wise. So Sony's got the brand on their side and the extra [Blu-ray] capability, but they're always going to be at a price premium versus 360, and a lot of games are available on both, so for many 360 would be the cheaper choice."
To us, this appears to be a perfectly reasonable and legitimate analysis of the current state of the console war. We're so tired of the fanboy response on all three sides; it's often refreshing to hear the real deal from industry professionals. We all readily admit Sony has a ways to go with the PS3, but we should also recognize its impressive turnaround. For now, we'll just be happy with that.
7/13/2008 Ben Dutka