Robbie Bach: Sony’s Poor Transition from PS2 to PS3 Helped Xbox 360 Succeed

May 14, 2012Written by Alex Osborn

The former president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division, Robbie Bach explained that he believes much of Microsoft’s success with the Xbox 360 can be attributed Sony’s shortcomings over the past several years.

According to Bach, speaking at the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, the ability of Microsoft to capitalize on the mistakes of Sony has been an effective way in which the company has managed to find so much success. “Some of the success of Xbox was due to the fact that Sony did some really not so smart things. They mismanaged their 70 percent market share. It’s a long conversation,” he said.

During the generation prior, the PlayStation 2 was the king of the mountain, leading everyone to believe that Sony would once again have the console to beat. Unfortunately for Sony, the transition to the PlayStation 3 was far from smooth. The Xbox 360 had not only a head start, but also a far more affordable price.

The transition to PlayStation 3 was really, really bad. And really hard. They mismanaged their partners, they mismanaged their cost structure. They made their next platform so complicated that developers couldn’t develop for it.

Bach went on to emphasize the importance of publisher relations, pointing out that Microsoft was able to leverage their position to gain support from third parties.

It turned out we were able to convince retailers and publishers like Activision, Electronic Arts and others, that it was a good thing for Microsoft to be successful, because if we were not successful, the only game in town was Sony. Being dependent on somebody else was bad for them, and so they supported us disproportionately to what they should have, mathematically.

Exclusive content from third party publishers continues to be a major stronghold for Microsoft. Additionally, Sony’s complicated hardware has served to be its Achilles’s heel. Let’s hope that with the PlayStation 4, Sony will not only be able to learn from their own missteps, but capitalize on those of the competition as well.