A sparring match between top figures in both the Microsoft and Sony camps has lead to Sony castigating Microsoft’s “lack of longevity”, whilst Microsoft then shoots back, calling Sony an “out of touch” dinosaur of the previous generation.
What emerges is some very interesting speculation about the direction of the console wars, along with some good old fashioned brawling…
Sony started the fracas, with Sony Computer Entertainment’s chairman Kazuo Hirai weighing in thus:
“I’d like to think that we continue official leadership in this industry.
It’s difficult to talk about Nintendo because we don’t look at their console as being competitors. They’re a different world and we operate in our world – that’s kind of the way I look at things.
And with the Xbox – again, I can’t come up with one word to fit. You need a word that describes something that lacks longevity,
Last time I checked, they’ve never had a console that’s been on the market for more than four or five years and we’ve committed to a ten year life cycle, so you do the math.
And unless things go really bad, there’s no way that at the end of a life cycle our competition is going to have a higher install base.”
Not implausible bombast, but some wonder if Sony itself will survive to the end of that cycle.
However, Microsoft’s group product manger Aaron Greenberg wasn’t having any of it:
“This sounds like an old hardware company that’s comfortable with its market position. That complacent attitude is out of touch with where the industry and consumer is today.
This generation won’t be won over just hardware specs, but who can out-innovate when it comes to online and software. This is the kind of stuff that’s in our DNA, and frankly moves the console war onto our home court.
I’m confident we will outsell the PS3 throughout the entire generation by providing more innovation and building the best and broadest games library while growing our entertainment experiences on the leading online network.
With a U.S. install base lead now of more than 7 million units (according to NPD), I can’t imagine any scenario where the PS3 can catch up with us. In fact, even if you doubled the current PS3 sales and Xbox 360 remained flat, they couldn’t close the gap until 2014.”
A rebuke to the upstart Sony from a confident Microsoft? Or perhaps he is just stung by the snide Red Ring of Death longevity reference…
So what of it? Both sides apparently bay for each other’s blood, as ever.
We do have some rather interesting insight from market analyst Michael Pachter:
“Aaron Greenberg is right that Sony likely won’t catch Microsoft in the U.S. until at least 2014. Kaz is right that Sony will likely catch Microsoft globally.
Please keep in mind that both consoles are offered in North America, Europe and Japan. Sony likely has a 4 million unit lead in Japan, is behind by 7 million in North America, and is behind in Europe by 2 million.
My guess is that Sony can sell 2 million PS3s per year more than Microsoft in Japan for the next several years, and can catch up in Europe in two or three years.
So by the end of 2011, Sony should be even in Europe, ahead by 10 million units in Japan, and behind by a greater margin than 7 million in North America. If the Xbox 360 outsells the PS3 by 1 million units per year for 2009, 2010 and 2011, the two consoles will be in a dead heat by the end of 2011.
You should note that the 360 outsold the PS3 in the U.S. by 1.2 million units in 2008 (according to NPD), with an average price of $300 compared to an average for PS3 of $418.
If PS3 comes down to $299 some time this year, it’s likely that the two consoles will sell around the same number of units, with a slight edge to Sony because of Blu-ray. If the 360 price is cut further, Microsoft can likely sustain its advantage, but it may have difficulty selling 1 million more per year.
Funny that nobody is talking about catching the Wii…”
Toy sales do not come into the picture here.
All rather interesting. Are we to believe that Sony’s long term strategy is sound, and that they can mature into a competitive position? Certainly, their superior hardware lends credence to this, although lack of any spectacular success does little to arouse enthusiasm.
Still, it looks as though even Sony detractors would be unwise to pray too hard for the downfall of the PlayStation; a Microsoft monopoly on serious home systems would likely not be a positive development for consumers, and should Sony be unable to successfully bring a PS4 to market, it is hard to see who could easily provide competition.
Nintendo with their (excellent) toys? Apple with their long held disdain for games?
It should be interesting to see how this develops…