Playstation 3 Yonge + Eglinton station invasion.
Image by hfabulous
Sony basically bought every square inch of space at the Yonge & Eglinton subway station to promote the Playstation 3 and its launch day.
As this is the eve of the launch of the PS3 here in North America, I thought I’d put a few thoughts down as a sort of time capsule.
Mainly for when this generation’s console wars have been decided, I can only assume nothing will be left on our savaged planet save for these digital bits of information for future generations to puzzle over.
In 2000, I visited my family in Calgary a few days before the PS2 launch. Back then, I was still very happy with my Sega DreamCast. I really wasn’t looking for a new system. However, the night before, I said to mom: let’s go down early to the Superstore to see if we can randomly get one.
My mom, the sport, said sure. And we went down at 7:00am. And I laughed at my 6th place in line, laughed when I was told there were 7 systems available that weren’t pre-ordered, and laughed futher when an hour later I walked out of the store with the console, a couple of games, a second controller, a memory card and a vertical console stand.
The launch titles basically sucked, although my friends and I got a lot of mileage out of SSX. It would be a good year or two before games I really enjoyed started showing up. My DreamCast got a ton of use well into 2002.
Still, even though most gamers know this about launch titles (really, only Nintendo ever really delivered the goods with launch titles), we get pretty giddy and excited when the latest and greatest arrives.
The disturbing part of all of this, however, is that Sony clearly hates gamers. Launch delays, exotic formats and a hefty price tag are one thing; making people fight tooth and nail just acquire one of fewer than 400,000 machines at launch is down right arrogant.
As I post this, there’s tremendous unrest and scuffling occurring in both New York and San Francisco’s flagship Sony stores. In San Francisco, they’re using the media attention to stage some hastily organized, yet thorough, crowd control measures. Numbered wrist bands, bathroom passes and free food; check it out here.
Let’s face it: Sony has won the console wars for two generations running, something that no other company has been able to do. Pride can be charismatic, but quickly turns sour when your treat your customers as cattle.
Long term bets say that Sony has a high probabilty chance of getting the upperhand. This is despite Microsoft’s one year head start and Nintendo’s cheap and plentiful gaming philosophy.
Sony also has loads riding on the success of the PS3, as it wil directly influence the adoption of their HD television sets with HDMI connectors, Blue Ray movies with content from their own studios and distribution, and connectivity/content with their distant second-best handheld, the PSP. If it does well, sales for everything start to move up across the board.
The strategy is sound, if risky.
I just hope somebody starts really delivering on this promise of next gen games that just doesn’t try to wow me with shinier cars and armour…