Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Homer gets a chance to design a new car for his long lost relative’s car company, and ends up building a monstrosity with every bell and whistle imaginable, and how that car ends up bankrupting the car company?
I think Homer works at Sony now. They announced the pricing on their new console last night – $500 at a minimum, and $600 for the deluxe model. They’re trying to justify these costs by saying the thing is a blue ray HD DVD player as well as a gaming console, but the $500 model doesn’t come with the requisite HDMI video connector to even allow video to play at HD levels (well, depending no how Hollywood chooses to use the DRM built into blue ray – which way do you think they’ll go? I think you better buy the $600 model if you want to play HD movies). Meanwhile the console is huge, late, full of features of questionable value (why does it need built in wifi?), and in a true demonstration that Sony’s lost its way, it blatently copies the central scheme that Nintendo is rolling out with the Wii (motion sensitive controllers), which Sony appears to have tacked on in a last ditch effort to play ‘keep up with the Jones’
This means Microsoft (whose console is $200+ cheaper) or Nintendo (who may be as much as $400 cheaper) will own Christmas this year, and I think it also means Microsoft owns this console generation – I just don’t see a $600 console becoming a mass market item, and in fact there’s historical precedent with the 3DO, which came out at a high price and tanked.
Meanwhile, Sony has bet the company on PS3. They’re not going to go out of business, but if the PS3 tanks as badly as I think it’s going to, Sony is in real trouble. They’re already struggling with their PSP, which is getting its head handed to it by Nintendo’s DS, and while PS2 revenues will sustain them for the next couple of years, they’re going into decline already. This is a catastrophe for them on almost every level. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the inevitable backlash against their announcements last night.
Meanwhile, my prediction was off. No Diablo III announcement at their press conference. Shows what I know, though I did call it as a very long shot.