Was Sony lucky with their first 2 gens?

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User Info: Ritster21

5 years ago#1
As much as I may love my PS3 and Vita, there's no denying that Sony is far from the top of the video game world as they were back in the PS1/PS2 days. However, looking back at their past successes, was it really because of Sony, or was it because they just got lucky? Let's look at the facts.


Back in 1995, the Playstation and Saturn were set to launch in America within a week of each other, with the Nintendo 64 (then known as the Ultra 64) on the horizon. Sega originally announced that the Saturn would be launched on Saturday (or Saturn-day, as they called it) September 2nd, exactly one week before Sony's planned US launch on Saturday September 9th. But then, during the very first E3 convention in May of 95, Sega laid an unexpected bombshell during their presentation...The Saturn was going to hit stores that very day, a full 4 months before it was announced to.

In theory, a 4 month head start sounds like a great idea, but it was a disaster waiting to happen for Sega. They only had a small handful of games ready for release, which meant that all summer long, early adopters of the Saturn (such as myself) would have a very small library to choose from. And while some of these games were great (Panzer Dragoon), a lot of them were rush job arcade ports (Virtua Fighter, Daytona), or games that just did not have a lot of gameplay to them (Clockwork Knight).

To add insult to injury, Sega's surprise launch backfired, because...well, they didn't tell anyone about it beforehand. This means that retailers and third party companies who were making games for the planned September launch were just as surprised as consumers were, only not pleasantly so. It seems that Sega chose only certain retailers to carry the Saturn during it's early launch. This obviously angered the ones who were not chosen. Obviously, they decided to get behind Sony, and pretty much not carry Saturn at all, or not promote it. As for the third parties, they were obviously upset about missing out on the launch that they were promised by Sega. So, much like the scorned retailers, they threw their support behind Sony, and either canceled their Saturn projects, or released them with little to no promotion.

So, by the time the Playstation launched on its planned September 9th launch at $100 less than the Saturn's price, they already had the advantage. The third parties were supporting them up front, and Sega had stumbled right out of the gate from their own mistakes. Everything was coming up Sony. It got even better for the company when Nintendo not only announced that their 64 bit system would not come out until the next year, but that they were going to go with the cartridge format. Since most third parties wanted to work with the newer, more exciting CD format, guess which company they picked to support?

Before long, franchises that were once known to be with Nintendo like Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Mega Man, and Dragon Quest were going over to Sony. Nintendo's decision to go with cartridges had cost them, and while the 64 was a success, Sony still left them in the dust, and became the console of choice for many gamers. Both of their competitors had made errors in their planning, and Sony pounced on it, resulting in nearly unstoppable third party and gamer support. Meanwhile, the 64 struggled outside of first party games like Mario, Zelda and Goldeneye, and the Saturn pretty much floundered due to a total lack of support outside of Japan.

Sony got a big lucky break, and it paid off well. So, the question remains, was Sony really truly smart as they entered the home console market, or did they just know how to make the most of a lucky situation?

To be continued...

User Info: Ritster21

5 years ago#2
Now let's look at the Playstation 2...

As 1999 came around, Sega had a lot to prove with their new system, the Dreamcast. Sega had shot themselves in the foot right out of the gate with their last system. By 1997 (two years after the Saturn's failed American launch), they were already saying that the Saturn was not their future, and that they were going to put all their efforts into making their next system the best one they could possibly make. And when the Dreamcast launched in America on 9/9/99, it seemed like Sega would fulfill that promise. The launch was a big success, with games like Soul Caliber and Sonic Adventure flying off the shelves.

And yet, despite the initial success, they could not escape the deafening buzz that was being built by Sony for their upcoming console, the Playstation 2, set to launch the following year. You can blame Sony for a lot of things, but one thing you can't blame them for is not being able to hype a product. They knew that the PS2 wasn't going to be out for a while after the Dreamcast, so they put a lot of effort into hyping this thing to the moon in order to keep people away from the shiny new Dreamcasts that were already sitting on store shelves.

The hype worked. I can only speak from personal experience, but I personally did not pick up a Dreamcast because of how burned I had felt with the Sega Saturn. I admired the system, and I had fun playing it at friend's houses, but I just felt at the time that Sony would be a smarter horse to bet on, so to speak. As 2000 came, and the Playstation 2 launched in Japan in March, the buzz became even more deafening. Even though there were plenty of negative articles floating about the PS2 (the graphics didn't look as good as promised, most of the games weren't that great), there was one thing that kept it strong - DVDs. At the time, it was the cheapest DVD player, and a lot of people were interested in that technology, myself included. I waited for the US release on October 26th, and even paid mine off in advance at my local Gamestop.

Unfortunately, due to a lot of this hype and buzz, Sega found the Dreamcast floundering. Third party support waned, and by the time the holidays of 2000 came around, the writing was on the wall. What once seemed like almost a sure thing had gone sour. Sega had not planned ahead for the future with the machine. With no DVD support, and a lack of huge titles hitting, Sega once again found themselves on the ropes with Sony. Even though it could easily be stated that Sega's lineup easily rivaled most if not all of the PS2 launch titles, it didn't matter. Sony had done such a good job convincing people to wait for their system, there was little Sega could do to compete. And so, in early 2001 - mere months after the American launch of the PS2, Sega called it quits as a first party company, and went third party.

Once again, everything was coming up Sony. They were now literally the only game in town when it came to consoles, as Nintendo's Gamecube and Microsoft's XBox would not be hitting America until November. This meant that Sony's first slow year with the PS2 would pretty much go unrivaled. And by the time the competition caught up with them in the fall, Sony had a barrage of Triple-A titles waiting to compete with them. From the period between September and December 2001, the PS2 got such heavy hitters as Devil May Cry, Silent Hill 2, Metal Gear Solid 2, Jak and Daxter, Final Fantasy X, and Grand Theft Auto III. They were all strategically released to coincide with the launch of Nintendo and Microsoft's new systems, which obviously did not have such a huge lineup right out of the gate.

So, once again, the question is, was Sony really smart about the console business, or did they just take advantage of a good situation? In recent years, given Sony's struggles, it seems like they don't know what to do when their competition is in full swing, and has the third party support they once had.

Agree? Disagree?

User Info: GodMWOLF

5 years ago#3

The Wii U is actually a big a** ds
TUTURUU Oh Okarin. Psn:mwolfizcool

User Info: kewldude475

5 years ago#4
tl;dr, and based on the topic title, it's probably bulls*** anyways.
PSN: kewldude475; 3DS FC: 4253-3798-3218; Steam:kewldude475;
Vita is just a PSP with higher specs - Megaman Omega

User Info: Angemon_23

5 years ago#5
Why start a new one when you could just bump the old one?


"Angemon_23 already rocked this topic to its very core, and everyone since is just posting in the ashes." - GradyHoover

User Info: Ritster21

5 years ago#6
Angemon_23 posted...
Why start a new one when you could just bump the old one?



Fresh start.

User Info: xerohawk777

5 years ago#7
I think this is the third or fourth time I've seen this topic...
PSN- xerohawk

User Info: KingJaggi

5 years ago#8
Angemon_23 posted...
Why start a new one when you could just bump the old one?



Psn:KingJaggi 3DS Fc:1590-5213-0522

User Info: AIVT

5 years ago#9
Even though it's a tl;dr, I find myself amused at the post and it's actually quite a good read.
3DS FC: 4554-0052-0632 / PSN: Gelo666

User Info: FayeLady

5 years ago#10
I think I remember a Game Overthinker episode to this effect. Basically said that Sony would have a hard time dealing with an actual gaming company like Nintendo, or even another company with deeper pockets like microsoft.
If I support the game company, then I won't be supporting the blank DVD business.
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