Update: Activision "Might Have to Stop Supporting Sony"

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Update: Activision "Might Have to Stop Supporting Sony"

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Activision boss Bobby Kotick says that without a PS3 price cut to boost the system, the world's largest publisher just might have to cut support for Sony's console entirely.

Okay. Let's be fair, here: Bobby Kotick is the head of the largest videogame publisher in the world. That may give him free rein to occasionally say things that most other people wouldn't get away with. But while Kotick is certainly no stranger to stirring up a bit of controversy every now and then, this is the first thing he's said in a very long time that made me literally stare at my monitor, dumbfounded.

Speaking with the Times, Kotick expressed concerns for how Sony's PS3 was faring in this generation's console war - not only its place in the market, but also how expensive it could be to develop for. "I'm getting concerned about Sony; the PlayStation 3 is losing a bit of momentum and they don't make it easy for me to support the platform. It's expensive to develop for the console, and the Wii and the Xbox are just selling better. Games generate a better return on invested capital on the Xbox than on the PlayStation," said Kotick.

That, though, isn't so surprising. I mean, Kotick is a businessman first and foremost with the financial interests of his company at heart, and he wouldn't be the first industry figure to say something like that. Then, he dropped the bombshell:

"They have to cut the price, because if they don't, the attach rates are likely to slow. If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony." This isn't a long-term plan, either - it could be as soon as next year. "When we look at 2010 and 2011, we might want to consider if we support the console - and the PSP too."

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment: Assuming that what he says is true, and Wii/Xbox games do indeed generate a much better return on investment than PS3 ones, cutting support for the console would be a fairly sound business decision. But I still can't help but feel absolutely flabbergasted. Not only would something like that seem to completely fly in the face of the trend this generation to move away from exclusives, but to publicly say something like that is ... well, that takes a special kind of audacity.

As of late, Sony has been quick to boast of a bevy of upcoming first-and-third-party exclusives, and the console does seem to be catching its stride. Even so, losing the world's largest publisher (and consequently huge brands like Guitar Hero and Call of Duty) would be one hell of a deathblow.

Update: A pair of responses. First, outspoken analyst Michael Pachter (seriously, that dude's everywhere) called Kotick's statement "a bluff," but one that makes sense since obviously, it is in Activision's best interest to see the PS3 reach as much market penetration as it can. Pachter also predicted that Sony's response would be something along the lines of their response to his own claim that the PSP Go was a ripoff: "I think they'll say to Bobby, 'You hurt our feelings.' And Bobby will say, 'Who cares?'"

Then, Sony actually did respond, but it was much less interesting than Pachter had predicted: "We respect our third-parties' opinions and their right to express those opinions but we will not be commenting on this story."

Lame, Sony. And here I was looking for you guys to throw the gauntlet. I'm disappointed in you, because this is much less entertaining.

(Via Videogamer)

Permalink

I can understand where he's coming from. If Sony don't announce price cuts, then people don't buy the console or the games, and he loses the millions of dollars he's invested into the PS3 and PSP. It's all a business decision. I've been thinking about Sony lately, and how that if they don't stop looking through rose-tinted glasses, they might have a dead console on their hands.

It's a sad truth.

If Activision were to cut support, I think the PS3 would be dead in a year. Look at it this way. Remember HD DVD, when one company stopped support, loads followed, and now the format is dead.

Anyway, I don't care about Sony any more as they've done too many poor decisions and are quickly losing relevance. Anyway, Nintendo and Microsoft got platforms that are more straight forward to develop on than the obscur PS3 architectural abomination.

I think Microsoft's 360+Natal and Nintendo's Wii(+) will do just fine in these harsh times...

EDIT: It's interesting that a growing number of key developers and companies are threatening to drop and stop supporting Sony's platform. I hope Sony rot and die.

It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.120068
Beat by 22 minutes.

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.120068
Beat by 22 minutes.

Forum members are not the ones who write news. Should CantFaketheFunk just C&P? I don't think so.

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.120068
Beat by 22 minutes.

The forums =/= the News Room. Plenty of people on our site never touch the forums. Whether or not a member of the community happens to scrounge up a piece of news before we write it up - and we have very specific style and quality guidelines for this sort of thing - is actually completely irrelevant.

Edit: And, of course, ninja'd :P

Wait, Activision - they're the ones who dropped Brutal Legend, have actually said they are in this industry to exploit games and gamers, and have managed to convince Blizzard to launch Starcraft II in three parts to get three times the money from their loyal fans, right?

And even without the context, that face is a real Backpfeifengesicht.

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.

Actually, no it isn't. Most of the news is copied and pasted.

Flame On.

Seriously. I'm not into GH or COD but those are pretty big franchises. He wouldn't be making public threats like that at this point unless he was trying to leverage something out of sony.
But what?
I doubt it's anything as transparent as what he's requesting: price cut; programmers who can figure out how the ps3 works.

It makes business sense.....still, that's crazy.

Indigo_Dingo:

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.

Actually, no it isn't. Most of the news is copied and pasted.

This is kind of insulting to the people who spend hours of their day writing news posts, don't you think?

Seeing as we're in the middle of a financial crisis, it makes sense that larger costs for production (developers/publishers) and purchase (consumers) is going to be seen as a bad thing all round (and thus won't earn many supporters).

One of the PS3's biggest faults has always been the price tag, it doesn't matter how good your console and games are if no-one has the green to buy it (and if no-one buys it, no-one will have the small potatoes to make it and so on), with this being the case it's not suprising that this has occured (and my theory is now that the Blu-ray won't be far behind).

Indigo_Dingo:
Wait, Activision - they're the ones who dropped Brutal Legend, have actually said they are in this industry to exploit games and gamers, and have managed to convince Blizzard to launch Starcraft II in three parts to get three times the money from their loyal fans, right?

And even without the context, that face is a real Backpfeifengesicht.

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.

Actually, no it isn't. Most of the news is copied and pasted.

The StarCraft II trilogy decision was Blizzard's own to create a great large game. Would you rather wait until 2014?

Jordan Deam:

Indigo_Dingo:

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.

Actually, no it isn't. Most of the news is copied and pasted.

This is kind of insulting to the people who spend hours of their day writing news posts, don't you think?

Maybe that was a poor choice of words, and if so, I apologize, but its not that rare to see a story reported in the forums before the news room

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.120068
Beat by 22 minutes.

actualy that happens quite a bit. however, the new room writes the stories better so no one cares about the forum posting stories like that.

On topic, I have to say this man might have the largest set of balls in the entire videogame industry. I know he's the head of the largest publisher of games but Jesus Christ, does this guy need to wear special pants so his balls don't rip through our flimsy regular pants?

If Sony makes a price cut, they'll be dead within a year too. It's a sort of stalemate, but at least now they stand to lose less money over the whole thing.

redmarine:

Indigo_Dingo:
Wait, Activision - they're the ones who dropped Brutal Legend, have actually said they are in this industry to exploit games and gamers, and have managed to convince Blizzard to launch Starcraft II in three parts to get three times the money from their loyal fans, right?

And even without the context, that face is a real Backpfeifengesicht.

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.

Actually, no it isn't. Most of the news is copied and pasted.

The StarCraft II trilogy decision was Blizzard's own to create a game. Would you rather wait until 2014?

Either way I don't get to play the Protoss, and my way I save $200.

This is pretty crazy, actually.
I can't imagine good to come from this, unless Sony says 'Ok' and cuts the price.

But I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Where are his horns? Must have been photoshopped out. It's unfortunate that the PS3 is going to lose such a major publisher, but on the bright side, Activision is about as evil as gaming companies get, so I'm actually a bit happy they won't have anything to do with Sony for a while.

I can see the position he is coming from it is a business after all. It would be a big blow to sony to loose activision as 3rd party developer.
I just think it is funny how he is basically saying we don't make as much on your console games but you loose money making your console so why not loose a little more money on your console and then we can make more money on our games. The price cut is not just as easy as saying alright the console is now $299. There is alot more to it.

Indigo_Dingo:

APPCRASH:
It is a rare occasion where you can tell an editor to use the search button.

Actually, no it isn't. Most of the news is copied and pasted.

Excuse me?

A.) Again, as I said above, the News Room is not the forum. We have much better ways of finding interesting news to report than simply waiting for members of our community to find something and "copy and pasting," as you so succinctly put it. As I said above, there are hundreds of thousands of people who visit The Escapist who never once touch the forums. Plus, we have very rigid style and format guidelines, and - no offense to the forumgoers in the first place - we hold the News Room content to a much higher bar of quality.

Do we post a "lol u shoulda used search" every time a thread comes up in Gaming Discussion or Off-Topic that we've already covered? No? Okay then.

B.) Get your facts straight. Activision never once said they wanted to exploit gamers. Their words were (paraphrasing), that they wanted to continue to exploit their licenses and IPs - granted, not the best word choice, but that's a very different thing. And Activision has very little influence over at Blizzard. I mean, I know you want to jump at them in a flurry of fanboy rage for badmouthing your beloved PS3, but at least make sure you have a better grasp on the industry before you do :)

This isn't helping the carpetbagger thing Activision/Blizzard have going for them.

Hmm if the PS3 was similar to develop for as a 360/pc then maybe it would be much easier to make the decision to fully support the PS3(as even with low software sales your still making money due to low cost) but to(I would immagine) have a separate team programing for cell would get expensive.

I'm not surprised valve said a similar thing the console is getting to costly for companies to support but sony cant afford a price drop with there financial troubles. Sony has put itself in between a rock and a hard place.

Well, Sony did tell us that the PS-3 was intended for some kind of long-term strategy. It's hard for me to really figure out what they are thinking, but in general when I hear comments from Sony's people in regards to the PS-3 they either sound totally insane/out of touch, or a bit racist when it comes to their expectations of the Western market (ie we're big round eyed children who will buy anything and make them rich).

Truthfully even if they lose this round I wouldn't count Sony out for the next round. Truthfully I think the big problem is that they decided to implement the Blu-Ray stuff into the PS-3 and then decided they needed to focus on promoting that format rather than specifically on the console wars. As a result they beat the HDDVD competition and are going to dominate video format for the next decade or so (and that is worth more than a generation of consoles), but lost a lot of steam on the PS-3. Supply issues with the PS-3 early on (causing a very weak launch) seemed to be directly linked to a shortage of components due to all the Blu-Ray lasers going into the actual Blu-Ray players (which ironically sold for more than the PS-3).

As far as the Ps-3 goes, I agree that they need to lower the price, and at the same time they need to restore the backwards compatibility. I mean right now I have an "old" 60 GB PS-3 and am afraid of it dying because even if I can afford to replace it, the newer ones won't run my library of PS-2 games and I no longer have a PS-2 (having traded mine in for money towards the PS-3 which was backwards compadible).

What's more, even if it means stepping on some of their fans who see "Japanese Only" as a big selling point for games, I think Sony really needs to start doing more to localize and export some of the more unique titles coming out in Japan. Even if this means effectively running point against US information control to avoid censorship.

But of course I don't expect much nowadays, because almost every time a Sony excecutive speaks about the PS-3 to the West they wind up putting a foot in their mouth.

I think we started to first see communication/concept barriers when Sony was first asked about the monster price of the PS-3 and how they expected people to afford that, and their answer was "we expect people to work more hours to afford one". Even if there weren't issues with American businesses downsizing, and cutting things like overtime in general, most people aren't going to kill themselves for multiple weeks to afford what amounts to a glorified toy, and that toy is only a gateway to actually being able to play with it since games are still bloody expensive (which goes into my comments on other threads about the gaming industy).

>>>----Therumancer--->

And the good news is, less competition for Sony's first party studios which might then result in an increase in software sales, leave a bit more in Sony's pockets to reach break-even and drop the price then...

I'd buy a PS3 if it were cheaper, to be honest. I agree with everyone who says it's too expensive the way it is now. At least $500 AUD (and that's second hand) plus $100 or so for the newer games. I guess you can save if you shop around but you get the point. As much as I'd like to see Sony lose this generation of console war, I don't want them to be slaughtered at the same time.

CantFaketheFunk:

B.) Get your facts straight. Activision never once said they wanted to exploit gamers. Their words were (paraphrasing), that they wanted to continue to exploit their licenses and IPs - granted, not the best word choice, but that's a very different thing. And Activision has very little influence over at Blizzard. I mean, I know you want to jump at them in a flurry of fanboy rage for badmouthing your beloved PS3, but at least make sure you have a better grasp on the industry before you do :)

Do you need to resort to insults?

If you'll note, I've held this same level of hatred for Activision for a full year, ever since the finalization of their merger with Blizzard. And forgive me, but I find it interesting that Blizzard, one of the most fan devoted, quality driven and financially healthy developers the world has ever seen suddenly adopted a style that looks curiously like Activisions.

As for exploiting gamers, I was referring more to the underlying implications of Modern Warfare 2 online (yeas, I know that there is supposedly no subscription, but it remains that this is requiring an extra payment to receive the total service).

On the meta issue: I prefer the newsroom write-ups to the forum ones anyway because they usually contain more information and are better written.

On topic: It's not that unusual for a console to die each generation, and being the most technologically advanced won't save you if you're not designed properly for the market. Sony took a big risk when they decided to basically design a console that was supposed to last them basically two generations worth of consoles and while doing that cement their Blu-ray format as the successful one. How big a risk probably wasn't apparant at the time when everybody was in the long economic bubble.

What'll be intersting to see now is what Sony does. After all, I know a lot of people who've picked up a PS3 primarily as a Blu-ray player, because it still gets some of the best reviews for that purpose alone.

redmarine:
Anyway, I don't care about Sony any more as they've done too many poor decisions and are quickly losing relevance. Anyway, Nintendo and Microsoft got platforms that are more straight forward to develop on than the obscur PS3 architectural abomination.

actually it's not, the only one who has really complained has been Gabe from valve and well he finds it "difficult" to develop from everything that's not windoze. ask him how easy it is to develop for linux and he'll say it's the most difficult thing in the world

now if you want some real development insight, look at what Carmack has said about them. he actually prefers the ps3 development over the 360 one

I think Microsoft's 360+Natal and Nintendo's Wii(+) will do just fine in these harsh times...

right cause m$ releasing a gadget Sony has had for several years makes it all that better

EDIT: It's interesting that a growing number of key developers and companies are threatening to drop and stop supporting Sony's platform. I hope Sony rot and die.

who else have said that besides activision who are just being a bunch of big babies cause no one wants to buy the 1782390127839021th version of guitar hero that came out this year cause people on the would rather buy other games that are actually good and new

I think it's time for me to get a xbox 360 soon. I believe my PS3 is gonna start gathering dust because of all the lazy developers complaining about the programing.

Well at least there are some pretty cheap second-hand xbox360 s to find.

Cage-rattling and poo-flinging, nothing more. Mr. Kotick hasn't been in the news for awhile and he's probably getting bored. I see this as "encouraging" Sony to get on with the price cut rather than an actual threat to drop PS3 support; the system may be faltering but it's still a major console and I really can't see dropping development for it unless you are 100 percent certain that it's no longer a viable product.

I think Sony is a much larger and better established company that Blizzard and will probably be able to survive losing Blizzard over something as small as game development on PS3 and PSP which is a tiny part of Sony.

Also the way Activision handled the release of WoW WOTLK goes to show they are as much money grabbing (garden) hoes as the next massive corporation. He's trying to find another way to boost his companies profits (cos you think if Sony did drop their prices you'd see that reflected in game prices?!) and therefore line his own pockets with your money.

Indigo_Dingo:

CantFaketheFunk:

B.) Get your facts straight. Activision never once said they wanted to exploit gamers. Their words were (paraphrasing), that they wanted to continue to exploit their licenses and IPs - granted, not the best word choice, but that's a very different thing. And Activision has very little influence over at Blizzard. I mean, I know you want to jump at them in a flurry of fanboy rage for badmouthing your beloved PS3, but at least make sure you have a better grasp on the industry before you do :)

Do you need to resort to insults?

If you'll note, I've held this same level of hatred for Activision for a full year, ever since the finalization of their merger with Blizzard. And forgive me, but I find it interesting that Blizzard, one of the most fan devoted, quality driven and financially healthy developers the world has ever seen suddenly adopted a style that looks curiously like Activisions.

As for exploiting gamers, I was referring more to the underlying implications of Modern Warfare 2 online (yeas, I know that there is supposedly no subscription, but it remains that this is requiring an extra payment to receive the total service).

No, but I felt it was appropriate after you accused the team that works hard to bring this site's community interesting and well-written news of plagiarism.

As someone who is probably one of the most ardent fans of Blizzard and their games in the community (and certainly on the staff), I was likewise concerned following the merger - but, y'know, actually talking to the people I know in Irvine rather reassured me of that. After actually having the people who made the decision explain it in person will do that. :P Vivendi had the sense to leave Blizzard alone, and if nothing else, the Activision leadership has decent business sense. Making a quick buck isn't worth tarnishing the reputation of the crown jewel in your umbrella.

I don't see that as exploiting gamers at all. Microtransactions are increasingly becoming a common way to help fund development in an environment where piracy is rampant and games are becoming more and more expensive to develop for.

Malygris:
Cage-rattling and poo-flinging, nothing more. Mr. Kotick hasn't been in the news for awhile and he's probably getting bored. I see this as "encouraging" Sony to get on with the price cut rather than an actual threat to drop PS3 support; the system may be faltering but it's still a major console and I really can't see dropping development for it unless you are 100 percent certain that it's no longer a viable product.

Depends. If they think they can get a better ROI from spending their money expanding development and marketing for Wii and 360 games than on developing for PS3 then that's what they'll do.

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