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Daily Reaction: Sony’s Depressing TGS Showing

September 19, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

Daily Reaction is a PSLS exclusive feature where Sebastian Moss & Dan Oravasaari discuss today’s most hard-hitting topics every single weekday.

Yesterday, Daily Reaction discussed our hopes and predictions for Sony’s TGS conference, debating what we expected to see revealed. But with their big moment now over, what did we think? Has Sony brought the big guns out for this holiday season? Will Vita sales skyrocket? Read on to find out.

Seb: First off, I really have to applaud Sony. A new PS3 with a massive price cut, a ton of new Vita games from first and third parties that make the platform interesting, and a heavy focus on new mediums like PlayStation Mobile. Sony are going to dominate this holiday season and beyond.

As you can probably tell, I’m being sarcastic. Their TGS was awful. It was depressingly bad.

From a sales perspective, a new PS3 with virtually no price cut is pointless. Does Sony think that there’s a ton of gamers out there that don’t mind the PS3’s price, but will only buy it if it’s lighter? Sure, there may be a little rise in sales from the added buzz, or the clearance of older consoles, but it’ll be minor. Not the rise they so desperately need. Over here in the UK, where the 12GB version is coming out, you’d think that that’d at least be a lot cheaper… but it’s going to be only 15 or so quid less than the existing 160GB version (13x the HDD size). Plus, wait till those 12gig’rs hear about mandatory installs…

The six year old PS3 is set to cost the same as – or more than in some regions – the brand-new, more powerful, tablet controller including Wii U. I’m flabbergasted that Sony could stand on stage and proudly announce a new version of the console, with stuff removed like the disc loader, and presumably cheaper chips, without reducing the price (in fact increasing it on a cost-per-GB).

I can only hope that the cost reductions will help Sony’s coffers enough to invest strongly in the PS4. But their short-term need to cut costs at their end, but not at ours, could hurt them dear in the long run. I’ve repeatedly talked about how important it is for companies to lock in as many users into their online ecosystem as possible – these people will end up earning trophies and buying digital titles only available on Sony systems, causing them to remain Sony consumers for the long term. Microsoft is killing it with their ecosystem, Apple has nearly perfected the business model, and Google is adding millions every week. Sony has to do something and fast.

Dan: Exactly, Sony really had a chance here with a relaunch of a slimmed down console. releasing a new case that is smaller at the same price point really losing the point of re-releasing a console in the first place. You want people who found the original price point too high to pick it up finally, as well as you want to give your already invested consumers a new reason to pick up another system. Yet, in true Sony fashion – they failed on all accounts. As they announced a slightly remodeled system at nearly the same price point, and in the same generic black only (black and white for Japan) color. Which really bothers me, as simply having colored systems allows some sort of personalization to your system, which is something the PS3 has zero options – besides HDD space.

Also, failing to really push the Vita to the Japanese market ahead of Nintendo’s Wii U release, has pretty much set the course for how much Sony is really going to support the Vita for holiday 2012. Announcing God Eater 2 for the Vita, as well as the PSP does not push system sales – which is exactly the thing Sony needs to do, to really keep their handheld alive. As Nintendo has already announced bigger titles for their upcoming system than Sony has for a system already almost a year old, things are not boding well for Vita owners like myself. So, at this point unless you had missed the PSOne, or are wanting to revisit some titles, you might as well as pack it away for now.

Seb: Yeah, what was with all the PSP and PSV titles? We need Vita-only titles, not cross-platform games that give PSP owners absolutely no reason whatsoever to upgrade. The PSP has sold, and is selling, very well in Japan, it is not at risk sales wise. The Vita, on the other hand, is dangerously close to having its life support switched off.

E3 had no new Vita games, gamescom had one. TGS had a bunch of PSP games upscaled and Valhalla Knights 3 plus Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus – that isn’t enough for a strong platform, let alone for a weak one. Sony promised that hundreds of developers were working on Vita games, but I have yet to see any real evidence of it. And I know new developers aren’t going to turn to the platform, they want to support something that has enough of an install base to guarantee them a return.

So the only way Sony could entice smaller developers is with the promise of a bigger install base on PS Mobile. Did we see much on the platform? Of course not, that’d make far too much sense. It’s out in 2 weeks and we barely know of any of the games, or how it’ll be integrated.

And yeah, The Last Guardian is dead.

I’m disappointed.

Dan: It’s just sad to see that Sony has so many opportunities to turn things around, or just improve the mind share of their products – but just keep letting opportunities slip by. While, yes it is easier said than done, but Sony has had plenty of time to work things out and see just what their launch release schedule looks like. If you are going to be showing off something for your recently launched platform, and it consists of only a few words, someone had to notice that things are not looking good. With a completely void release schedule, with only a few titles to try and justify the need for a calendar at Sony Headquarters.

Sony’s first party studios really did not need to show up to this year’s TGS, with only a few titles that barely could have taken a page to spell out, I hope Sony is pushing for major third party support. Also seemingly missing was their recently announced VR Headset, which has probably cost Sony a good deal in R&D. So if Sony does not figure out what it’s doing soon, we could see them turn into the next Sega.

What did you think of Sony’s TGS conference? Were you disappointed, or does God Eater 2 and a new PS3 satisfy you? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to hear Seb and Dan’s random fanboy blatherings on Twitter, paid for by Microsoft.