6.01.2006

We Don't Need the PC

Or so Sony would have us believe.

It's finally come to light what I've suspected since the first PS3 announcement: Sony wants a piece of PC gaming. In an interview with Der Spiegel, Phil Harrison spoke of the PS3 web capabilities and the Linux operating system. Sony, in its ever escalating console war, is moving into Microsoft's traditional realm of the PC just with its console. Doing so would give them a shot at the PC game market.

I wish I had a big stamp that said 'STUPID' so I could slam it on Sony's collective head.

The PC game is a completely different animal when compared to the console game. Sure, you have movement back and forth (Final Fantasy, Myst, Elder Scrolls), but the PC experience is something a console cannot match. Moving into the realm of the PC means building a box better than the ones PC gamers have been building for themselves for years. I built my machine for $300. What makes Sony think the PS3 will do better at $600?

I mean really: Does Sony think it can match companies like Falcon, who have concentrated specifically on the making the ultimate PC for gamers?

And does Sony think that all people do on their PCs is game? Apparently not since they keep talking about MySpace and other interactive websites that connect people.

So Sony wants to use its PS3 to connect people. Excellent idea.

It wants to create a computer wrapped in a game console. Okay.

Of course, how you're going to connect people with a Linux operating system when the the average gamer is operating system illiterate is beyond me. They'd be better off contacting Apple and asking Steve Jobs what he thinks about making a jump into gaming consoles.

Of course, Steve Jobs is smart. I'm sure he'd take a look at console gaming history and see that whenever console made a leap in gaming that wasn't ready to to be made (ie Sega CD, the entire Atari Jaguar system), the console bit the big one. He'll laugh in Sony's face.

Linux is really the best choice and maybe the only choice for Sony. It would take years to develop a new OS. Of course, its also the best choice for Linux. If the PS3 bombs, no loss, no foul for Linux. If the PS3 takes off, Linux will go major. It's a sweet deal for Linux.

Back to connecting with people: Nintendo and Microsoft don't seem to be having any trouble connecting people. Nintendo has maintained a steady course on their vow to be only about the games and with the Wii, about games that people play together. Microsoft doesn't need to turn its console into a PC: they are a major player in the personal computer world. Microsoft can concentrate on developing mind blowing games for the XBox. Sony is taking a different course, integrating new and different technologies into a console and telling the world that their console isn't about games.

But if their console isn't about gaming, why not just give us a straight computer offering and leave the gaming world behind?

Because their console is about gaming. They just haven't figured that out yet. The idea of combining a DVD player in a gaming console for the PS2 was stroke of genius. At a time when DVD players were expensive, you could buy a PS2. You could have your cake and eat it too. But people didn't buy the PS2, or the PSX for that matter, for the other things they could do. They bought them to play games. Sony isn't listening to their customers. The PSP should be taken as an early warning system: the UMD and other non-game related aspects of the PSP are failing. Stick with the games.

When they stick with the games they produce things like Shadow of the Colossus.

Of course, this could all be one big trick. If Sony gets the PS3 labelled as a PC, import prices on components drop considerably. Suspicious...

Anyway, Sony should just settle down and forget the PS3. We haven't even pushed the limits of the PS2 yet. What Sony should have done is, instead of wasting money, is make a set of commercials. Commercials that go something like this:

Voice Over: This is the XBox 360. (Show random game footage for xbox.)
Voice Over: This is the Nintendo Wii. (Show random game footage for wii.)
Voice Over: This is the PS2. (Show Final Fantasy 12 footage.)
Voice Over: Who needs a new console anyway?

And that would be the final word.

Der Spiegel Article (Deutsch)
Same Article in English

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