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A porting shot

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Cthippo 25th October 2006, 10:03 Quote
You enjoy pain, don't you Brett?

There is one more element you didn't consider, and in Sony's case it's getting more important every day, and that's consumer goodwill. Put simply, does the additional profit Sony makes from contlling the launch and being able to screw customers on their own schedule exceed the losses from gamers who have finally had enough of their BS?

Also, wii don't need to give all our money to M$, there is another company out there the name of which escapes me.
cpemma 25th October 2006, 10:05 Quote
A very thoughtful article, Brett. All antifanboys should read, carefully moving their lips.

I bought my camera online at a bargain price; the manual was in German. Could be a worry if you find it's faulty, the first thing that suffers in a price war is customer service. People should realise, when running a business your first responsibility is to ensure your business survives; sorry, but customers come further down the line.
kenco_uk 25th October 2006, 10:29 Quote
Customers come last? So if you repeatedly ram your customers from behind, they'll keep coming back, begging for more? And then they'll tell a friend how good your services are and in turn they'll tell someone at the pub who then tells their partner, etc, etc..

A good reputation is very hard to keep, a bad reputation is dead easy. The only way to keep a business ticking over is with a satisfied customer.
crayfish 25th October 2006, 10:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
You enjoy pain, don't you Brett?
Also, wii don't need to give all our money to M$, there is another company out there the name of which escapes me.
I was going to say the same thing!

If PS3 sinks Sony, won't those developing games for it move to Microsoft or NINTENDO?
Meanmotion 25th October 2006, 10:31 Quote
Quote:

Are you really ready to hand Microsoft all of your money? How's that for a parting shot?

I think you clipped every reader's ear with that one!
Quote:

Put simply, does the additional profit Sony makes from contlling the launch and being able to screw customers on their own schedule exceed the losses from gamers who have finally had enough of their BS?

One has to assume it probably does. The average consumer doesn't really care to the extent that the media seems to think, they'll just get it when it's out. Admittedly, missing the christmas rush in europe is a big mistake but if they don't have the number it makes sense to go for the 'easier' markets at first, as Brett said. Also, I think the service Lik-Sang provides would not have been beneficial to the average consumer, during this period, just wanting to pop down to Argos - which is where the big money is. Assuming the thing works and there is a steady flow of quality games (and i suppose a lot will depend on the HD-DVD/Blu-ray battle) then the PS3 will prosper.
Darkedge 25th October 2006, 11:12 Quote
Lik Sang like other online retailers or I/E companies always said VERY CLEARLY that you did not get a full warranty on the product and that Sony or whoever would not give after sales support on it. That is the peril of importing as it should be.

I have to say my 360 came with documentation (UK 360, bought in UK from authorised distributor) that said the warranty was only 3 months - how does this fit in with the supposed 2 year mandatory electrical products warranty required by law? I may be wrong but I've never heard of this.

Lik Sang never hurt Sony profits really, the risks were explained and clear and Sony didn't have to support warranty on any of the products. The safety aspect that Sony mainly complained about was rubbish due to Lik Sang supplying all equipment with certified tested EU power supplies.

It was pure greed and control. Even Sony execs said Europe didn't mind the delay as they will just import anyway. So why does importing hurt Sony and the launch? It only would if the product is inferior and that hurts the companies reputation as it wasn't ready for that region, which is a bunkum argument as it will have the same issues in the US and Japan.

"As much as we all love the service Lik-Sang provided, is it worth stifling one of the three biggest competitors in the video game industry?"
Stifling HOW? It wasn't and isn't.

'A very thoughtful article, Brett.' - cpemma
Not in the slightest sorry.
ozstrike 25th October 2006, 11:30 Quote
Thought it was a good article. While I don't agree with the closure, it's good to see that some people actually understand where Sony was coming from. :)
specofdust 25th October 2006, 11:31 Quote
I kinda see where you're coming from Brett ; but at the same time, people who buy from importers are quite likely to be familiar with the risks involved. You basicly buy a product that, if it dies anytime other then being DOA, it's dead and that's it - no warrenty(at least, that's how most importers seem to work).

That's acceptable though, it's better then not getting the unit at all, or recieving it 8 months late.

I wouldn't say sony is stupid for what they did(stupid perhaps for not recognising the PR mess it could be), but what they are doing is screwing over a legitimate business, and frankly imo abusing globalisation. Yes, as you say, warrenties are a big part of the reason why we pay 50-100% extra on everything(even software I'm sure, it's the warrenties, Adobe wouldn't screw me over like that would they?) - but when buying from an importer most people would reasonably expect there not to be much or anything of a warrenty - maybe 10 days as was offered.

Good article though, very flame retardant :D
mmorgue 25th October 2006, 11:38 Quote
^^^ gotta agree with Darkedge

I still don't see *how* Lik-Sang was actually hurting Sony. They might have lower *some* potential profits whereby Sony couldnt charge the usual Rip-off Britain prices to a select few who opted for an import of gadget X. (but then, more often then not imports generally cost the same or more after shipping, duty, etc).

Lik-Sang was selling official, legal products. Nothing was pirated, copied or phoney. I bought many a game from Lik-Sang, merely cos Sony didn't want to sell them here. Same with various other goods.

It isn't that i necessarily want it cheaper -- it's cos i want it NOW! Why do I have to wait while the rest of the civilized world gets it. Why is the EU always last on Sony's list?

And any company that thinks they're doing a "service" to their potential customers by have a non-worldwide launch (i.e., US, Japan... bye-bye EU) with an excuse of "not enough units" deserves to be berrated!

Bah - I've given up on Sony. I loved my old PS1 and Ps2 but I'm avoiding the PS3 like the plague. I'm sure it might be a good unit, but now I just refuse to give Sony my ££.
rupbert 25th October 2006, 13:08 Quote
Interestingly it seems the initial point of argument is now irrelevant, and the most important aspect has come to the fore, public perception.

Even if Sony was 100% correct in these actions, general consumers will see this as a David vs Goliath story, and we all know how that went.

The wider point is that even though the PS3 is a great piece of hardware, many consumers are lead by brand recognition/loyalty. I feel that over the last eight months Sony have severly damaged it's standing in consumer electronics, specifically the games sector which is in no doubt it's strongest market foothold. Sony have lied and been deceitful, they have mislead, redirected, misquoted, misaligned, spouted diss-information, incorrect facts and assumptions...


The success of the iPod is that it's not just a great music device, but the marketing, brand appeal, public relations and general support is what maintains customer loyalty to Apple. The PS2 had the exact same success for the same reasons, even though the original Xbox was a superior piece of hardware.

And despite having the heritage of the PS2, I believe the release/success of PS3 will be an entirely different story. The difference this time is that the PS3 can't simply rest on it's laurels, it has everything to prove and an awful lot to loose. The inclusion of Blu-Ray is a fateful mistake...

rupbert

/I own a lot of Sony products including a PS2 so this isn't a 'fanboy' rant
Da_Rude_Baboon 25th October 2006, 13:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozstrike
Thought it was a good article. While I don't agree with the closure, it's good to see that some people actually understand where Sony was coming from. :)

I couldnt agree more. Compared to most of the other Sony stories Bit-Tech has been running lately it was very measured and explained things well instead of the usual chest beating. Reading between the lines it looks like Sony might be expecting a high failure rate of the first batch of units.
Da Dego 25th October 2006, 14:01 Quote
I generally try to refrain from posting on my own columns, but I thought this one deserved a statement that I couldn't easily stress in my writing.

I'm NOT happy with Lik-Sang being shut down. And I DO think that it was a shame. But honestly, one of the key points I wanted to pass on is that a big-ass giant like Sony doesn't just say, "Oh, Lik-Sang is bad...let's sue!" Warranty is the greatest cost to any electronics unit...and though we'd all love to believe that those who order from the company are on the positive side of the intelligence scale, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know about or order from Lik-Sang. And when that unit arrives DOA, odds are that the person will take that out on Sony for making a dead product.

We can all say "Lik-Sang clearly labels..." but the odds are, many people don't read them. Lik-Sang didn't get to be the number 1 I/E because it only sells to people with the intelligence and consumer awareness of specofdust. And Sony wouldn't give a rat's ass if it weren't somehow experiencing enough problems to chance yet more bad press, lose potential sales, and anger an entire industry. I'm just saying - the company is not stupid, it had to know it was getting into a consumer-rights hotbed.

If I had to choose between:
a) "Lik-Sang sold to a few upstanding, intelligent blokes who knew what they were getting, didn't cost Sony a dime and then got unnecessarily pounded for it";

or

b) "Sony knows that this could be extremely controversial, but really needs to protect itself here enough from an undescribed problem to pull out legal guns and shoot to kill"

I'm going to choose a smart, multinational corporation protecting its interests. You can choose to buy my argument or not, but the point of this article is to look past the rabid fanboy/anti- stances and get down to the business of whether exports and imports really are as innocent and benign as we think they are.

And as for the nintendo point, I caution you - you have to remember that the market contains a lot more people than just the intelligencia of tech. The XBox 360 is hugely successful. By losing Sony as a competitor, as gamers we could see the Xbox 3 be a lot less of a step up. At this point, Nintendo and Microsoft/Sony are already almost in two entirely seperate markets. Nintendo always takes initiative to innovate itself - but what aboud MS?
rupbert 25th October 2006, 14:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Dego
...but the point of this article is to look past the rabid fanboy/anti- stances and get down to the business of whether exports and imports really are as innocent and benign as we think they are.

Whilst I accept that is the main thrust of your well written article, I think my point is exactly the opposite, the 'rabid fanboy/anti- stances' will actually smother the real talking point...
aggies11 25th October 2006, 15:21 Quote
"But let's be honest: Sony isn't stupid"

I don't think thats necessarily a given. Not even being in the "anti-sony camp", businesses are run by people, people aren't perfect and do make mistakes. Analysts can agree that there have been a series of "less than optimal" decisions comming out of that company lately.

So while the whole company is most definitely not full of idiots, that doesn't mean there aren't a few people in management who are having trouble "grasping the big picture".

The crux of the argument is then, "The potential bad PR/will from people who buy from Lik-Sang, get a faulty product, and complain about the lack of warrantee" vs "The potential bad PR/will from *everyone* who buys from Lik-Sang".

The first group is obviously is a subset of the second, ie. they are by definition smaller. So it's very possible that the backlash from the second group will be larger/more damaging from the first.

Sony sells in Japan first, to make the most money, fine. Every exported unit still makes them the same amount of money. If they don't honour those warranties on exports, then it actually reduces warranty costs as they dont' have to worry about all the exports. So we are left with a negative press / bad will situation. But judging by Sony's actions and statements this past while, thats something that doesn't seem to phase them all that much.

IMHO I think the argument that "Sony is not stupid, so that this decision must somehow be in their financial best interests" doesn't necessarily hold water. Look at the record industry, and their resistence to going online. 'Big Businesses' want control, it's a firmly entrenched idea, and they are very reluctant to give it up, even at the expense of themselves. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to give the consumers what they wanted (online music sales), facing decreasing revenue each year. So to assume that Business always does whats best for them, is a bit faulty, they can be "stupid" just like anyone else. Sony wants to dictate when and where they sell their products, period.

Personally I'd wonder exactly how much product (% wise) Lik Sang was actually exporting. I can't imagine it would be that much? Could one online store make *that* much of an impact? Or was it just the principal of the matter.

Aggies
rupbert 25th October 2006, 15:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aggies11
Or was it just the principal of the matter.

Aggies

Yeah I think it's the principal and Lik-Sang are the scapegoat it seems...
Nature 25th October 2006, 16:15 Quote
Thank you for the happy birthday Bit-tech, you really made this day a lot better....
Oclocker 25th October 2006, 17:00 Quote
Quote:

the warranty part is rubbish. Lik Sang weren't selling to Argos customers they were selling to people that knew the risks (Sony staff even). And warranty claims don't justify the higher prices in anywhere near total levels.
Sim0n 25th October 2006, 17:03 Quote
Quote:
If the I/E offered any longer of a warranty, there's a good chance it would eat the cost. And with the potential failure rate for electronics, believe me – if they start offering prices to account for losses due to defects, you’d rather wait until you can just buy it from Scan.

Nice bit of name dropping for Scan there, any reason why it wasnt termed "you'd rather wait until you can just buy it from a uk retailer" ?
Fusen 25th October 2006, 17:19 Quote
I also disagree with the reasoning that the reason Britain is overly priced is because of warranty and like someone else has said, I've barely ever seen this so called "2 year minimum warranty" that you talk about.
specofdust 25th October 2006, 17:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim0n
Nice bit of name dropping for Scan there, any reason why it wasnt termed "you'd rather wait until you can just buy it from a uk retailer" ?

Perhaps, because scan, by virtue of being the best UK retailer(they've taken that award from some magazine for like the last 4 years) are who most of us buy most of our stuff from?
Quote:
I also disagree with the reasoning that the reason Britain is overly priced is because of warranty and like someone else has said, I've barely ever seen this so called "2 year minimum warranty" that you talk about.

That's because it doesn't have to be advertised, it just has to be honoured, and it's in most companies intrests not to advertise the fact that you can make them give you a replacement product any time in a period of 24 months after you buy the thing. It's EU law though.
BioSniper 25th October 2006, 17:56 Quote
Are you sure its 2 years? Last time I checked it was only a mandatory 1 year on generic electrical goods and 5 years on white goods (fridge, washing machine etc) ?
specofdust 25th October 2006, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BioSniper
Are you sure its 2 years? Last time I checked it was only a mandatory 1 year on generic electrical goods and 5 years on white goods (fridge, washing machine etc) ?

I read somewhere that it was EU wide mandatory 2 years on all non-perishable goods. Cannae mind where. If that was wrong it's 1 year min on all non-perishables. Better then the 90 days crap you get in the US, but then, RMA services suck here so I guess we're even.
Da Dego 25th October 2006, 18:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim0n
Nice bit of name dropping for Scan there, any reason why it wasnt termed "you'd rather wait until you can just buy it from a uk retailer" ?
That's a good point. For the record, Bit-tech (to my knowledge) has no real affiliation with Scan. I used that store because of its popularity with our readers, nothing more. Being on the editorial side, I have no knowledge of or interest in any business relations we may have with the company - we keep a very strict divide. Apologies, though, if anyone thought it was intentional.
sheepdog 25th October 2006, 18:16 Quote
I guess everyone is forgetting the fact that Lik Sang was selling mod chips, in fact my understanding is that they were the largest distro for them.

While they themselves may be legal, Sony hates them. This was just a way for Sony to take out a big distro of them. They tried other methods and failed.

Consider it a pre-emptive strike for 2 reasons, the first is they will not have to worry about Lik Sang taking a bunch of PS3'saway from the initial markets, and they will not have to worry (as much) about mod chips being as widely available for the PS3.
Da Dego 25th October 2006, 20:16 Quote
For those who are unfamiliar with EU warranty law:

http://www.cedarrapids.org/_includes/fileblob.asp?I=16&table=content&ext=pdf

That is a US document explaining export law to the EU...so for all those who would like the specific document, you may find an HTML rendition of it here:

http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:_m9ps5iS07IJ:www.bmsg.gv.at/cms/siteEN/attachments/9/8/5/CH0036/CMS1156331697994/kschg2004.doc+Celex+399L0044&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1&lr=lang_en&client=firefox-a

The law was amended in 1999 (I'm showing 2001 as another revision of it, but this didn't change) under CELEX #: 399 L 0044. This extended all warranties sold on non-perishable goods to a term of 24 months. Violation of this would be against EU law. :) I probably should have put a link to that directly in the article.
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