Insight On Sony PSP Go

5 06 2009

Sony just announced an updated portable gaming machine – the PSP (Portable PlayStation) Go for $249.  It does not replace the current PSP.  What’s behind this move?

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Xbox 360 Warranty Extended – 3 Years

6 07 2007

Reports have dogged Microsoft that their Xbox 360 overheats easily because of its poor design.  Just Google about the “Red Ring Of Death“.  At any rate, Microsoft extended the standard warranty from 90 days to one year on Dec. 22, 2006, only a month after its Nov. 25, 2006 launch.  However, as of July, 2007, the warranty is now 3 years — retroactively!

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Wii Will Win

31 05 2007

I need to amend my earlier predictions about the current game console wars. The Nintendo Wii will definitely win.

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Sound cards

4 10 2006

Some words are synomous with others: Kleenex = facial tissue, Xerox = copier, HP = printer, and Sound Blaster = sound card. Well, nowadays there’s a bit more to know about sound cards than just a name. Let me give you my $0.02 on sound cards.

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Game Console Playbook

16 07 2006

The upcoming next generation console battle between the MS Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii will prove to be interesting. Each company has his strategy. I’d like to illuminate what I think the winning strategy for each manufacturer will be.

MS Xbox 360. MS needs to cement its 1 yr. launch lead with a hot exclusive title. This title needs to come out around the time the PS3 arrives. Right now the Xbox 360 has no “killer title” like Halo, so Microsoft’s lead may quickly disappear when the PS3 arrives. Offering a HD-DVD add-on drive in the near future may be a prudent move.

Sony PlayStation 3. To maintain its market share dominance, Sony needs to continue by doing two things: no screw-ups in launch quantity (or quality) and provide a solid reliable platform. The PS3 doesn’t need any hits to maintain its #1 status. However, it does need a solid online gaming strategy to match Xbox’s success.

Nintendo Wii. Nintendo needs to keep relevant. In the GameCube/PS2/Xbox battle, it almost lost out completely until it finally got smart and dropped its price. As soon as they did that, the GameCube quickly became a cost-effective 2nd console for gamers who already had a PS2. Nintendo needs a string of hit titles and good pricing at launch in order to not fall too far behind the Xbox 360.

Classic Games. I believe one area largely untouched area for game consoles is classic games — Asteroids, PacMan, Gallaga. If a game console was able to offer these games along with special consollers, I think it would succeed wildly. To date, the last 2 generations of consoles have provided the games, but not the cool controllers, to provide the great 80’s experience.

Game Console Battleground

16 07 2006

The next generation of game consoles will prove to be interesting. The game players are Microsoft (Xbox 360), Sony (PlayStation 3), and Nintendo (Wii). I believe there will be 3 critical areas/features to determine the winner.

Area 1 — price/performance. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is coming in at $400/$500 and Sony says they will be about $100 more. Nintendo hasn’t released any pricing info, but only reveal that they will be cheaper. I think the Microsoft and Sony consoles are priced right. For Nintendo to be competitive, I believe it should be $100-$150 cheaper — so about $250-$300. To be relevant, Nintendo needs to be about 2 games cheaper than the competition.

Area 2 — Online gaming. One big reason for the MS Xbox success was its built-in online gaming. This one feature (along w/ the Halo game) made the Xbox a great second console for PS2 owners. The success of all three consoles will be tied to online gaming.

Area 3 — Exclusive titles. Want to play Halo? Gotta get an Xbox. Love Mario Kart? Need to get a GameCube. Want Grand Theft Auto 4? It’s only on the upcoming PS3. Because the Sony PS has such an overwhelming market share (70-80%), the PS3 doesn’t need many, if any exclusive titles to be stay number one.

The real battle will be for the #2 spot — MS Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii. Exclusive titles and a good price point of the console will tip the scales one way or the other. Hard-core gamers usually have 2 or 3 consoles. All serious gamers will get the PS3. However, choosing between a good 2nd console will be tough.

Area 4 — HD-DVD/Blu-Ray. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is panning out to be the battleground for the replacement of the DVD Video format. Sony is pushing Blu-Ray and MS is backing HD-DVD. Nintendo’s Wii only supports standard DVDs. My gut feeling is that the inclusion (or lack thereof) of a HD-DVD/Blu-Ray drive won’t be a deciding factor. It took 20 years for Video DVDs to replace VHS. I suspect it will take HD-DVD/Blu-Ray at least as long to replace Video DVDs.

New Opportunities — Area 5.  Indie games.  Because game development is so expensive (Millions of R&D for each title), it has been cost-prohibitive for independent game developers to come out with a game.  However, this can change.  If each manufacturer had a built-in online game download and buy strategy, a la iTunes/iPod, I believe that this could succeed greatly.  Just look at all the simple, fun games at for the PC.  Negotiate w/ these independent game developers to port their games to the console market.

Nintendo Is Stupid

15 07 2006

You gotta hand it to Nintendo — what do you do after you screw up two times in a row? Do it a third time!

The Nintendo 64 and GameCube — Nintendo’s former and current game consoles, basically suck.  Nintendo’s upcoming console, the Wii (code-named Revolution) is going to show the world that they can do it yet a third time.  Amazing.
The Nintendo 64 was a bonehead design screw-up. Compared with the PS, the cartridge format forced Nintendo to charge a premium over the cheap CD format of the PS. A secondary consequence was that it was unable to play audio CDs.  The fact of the matter is — the PlayStation was way cooler than the N64.  These critical flaws allowed Sony’s PlayStation to leap ahead in marketshare.  But wait.. there’s more.

You would think Nintendo would learn from their mistakes, huh?  Hope.  Nintendo compounds this screwup with .. another screwup — the GameCube! Compared with the Xbox and PS2, the GameCube’s form factor made it difficult to place in an entertainment center.  Nintendo finally ditched the cartridges and went to an optical drive, but what.. is that a 5″ disc — NO! It’s 3″.

You couldn’t play audio CDs or DVDs like the Xbox or PS2. Again, two  critical design screwups. The only reason why Nintendo didn’t shutdown the GC entirely is because it dropped its price to $100, so the GC became a cheap 2nd console.

Wait — Wait. Can Nintendo royally screw it up yet a third time? Amazingly YES! The Nintendo Revolution (now Wii) pronounced “We” not “Why” means “We screwed it up yet again! Compared with the PS3 and Xbox360, wide-aspect ratio (16:9) TVs are not supported — only standard 4:3 TVs. Surely this must make game developers sick as they try to deliver one game on multi-platforms.

Yes, the console finally plays DVDs and CDs and the controller is “revolutionary” different, However, the stupid name and the lack of support for wide monitors is simply inexcusable.

The only thing going to keep Nintendo from bankruptcy is the best-selling GameBoy line.

Advice to Nintendo to stay alive:
1. Rename Wii back to Revolution
2. Support wide-screen TVs (probaly too late to change now).
3. Keep the price delta between the Wii and Xbox/PS3 to be $100/$120 (2 games).
4. Offer free/cheap online games of classic 80’s Namco, Sega, and Nintendo games.
5. Integrate the DS Lite handheld into some type of IM/controller cooperative gameplay
6. Create unique controller/game combos like a first person shooter gun, racing steering wheel, or aerobics dance pad.
7. Allow gamers to buy/sell characters, skills, weapons, etc. in role playing games.
8. Make a multimedia card add-on so that people can use their Wii console as a picture slideshow device.
9. Offer exclusive content/games to registered owners of Wii. Build a community.
10. Allow small, independent game developers to sell or rent games over an online game network run semi-independently by the main company.
11. Keep the screw-up game console engineers (N64,GC) away from the smart handheld console engineers (GB,DS).
12. Offer some kind of trade-in, trade-up of old consoles/games.

And last but not least.. drumroll please ..

13. Stop being so arrogant as to think gamers “need” you. Remember Atari and Sega?