PS3 trials and tribulations

Written by Ryan Garside

November 6, 2006 | 17:15

Tags: #3 #interview #jack #ps #ps3 #tretton

An interesting article has popped up over at Next-Gen in which they talked to Sony Computer Entertainment America's Jack Tretton. Read on for some of his comments and bit-tech's take on what he said:

"November 17 is just one day on the very, very long road that is the platform life cycle. We think in increments of ten years, not 24 hours. Look back at what the 500,000 PS2s we sold on launch day was to the 41 million we’ve sold since then. Six years later, it’s not a big thing.

"What people can’t deal with is bad information. When we communicate that number [of units] we’ll deliver against it. We’re going to try to accommodate as many people as possible. We’re going to avoid creating false expectations. Retailers will know their quantities well in advance of opening their doors. They’ll say, ‘this is the quantity we have to work with, we’re going to distribute numbers, if you’ve got one of those numbers, you’re good to go. If you didn’t, I’m sorry, we’ll do the best we can to have subsequent supply.

"So you don’t have somebody who waits hours upon hours only to find out that they aren’t getting one.”


It's interesting to see Sony talk about this issue. One area rarely mentioned in the media is the story of those unfortunate souls who queue up for many hours, just to find out that the console has been sold out. It remains to be seen whether Sony will actually live up to this - I, for one, foresee lots of scenes of people queuing and will be very surprised if I don't see at least one child crying at his/her lack of PS3 come launch.

“The first question out of a retailer’s mouth is ‘when are you going to have more?’ We will provide subsequent information that says, ‘here’s when the next shipment is coming and here’s what you can expect.’ So they can give consumers accurate information.

"We’ve got very solid numbers on parts. It’s a matter of assembling those in time and getting them on a plane. I am very, very confident of the so-called launch window and getting the units out there, but I’m a firm believer in, until you do something, it’s just talk.”


My question is, if you're so confident then why not give us definite answers? It's kind of politician-like in the dodging of date-setting. We want to know when we'll be able to get our hands on a PS3, not reassurances that things are going well. The controversial Blu-Ray was up for discussion next:

“I’m like everybody else. I’m saying ‘come on! Just build ‘em, man! What’s so complicated?’ But think about what that blue laser diode has to do. It has to read audio CDs, standard DVDs, Blu-ray DVDs, PlayStation 1 games, PlayStation 2 games, and PlayStation 3 games. Six completely different formats that have nothing to do with each other and you’re going to have one device that’s going to read all those.

"That’s a tremendous concept. But when you turn to the engineers and say ‘go build that for me,’ they ask ‘are you crazy?’ But they’ve managed to pull it off. We’ve got the blue laser diode’s yield now. Okay, it’s not necessarily where we’d like to be but it will get exponentially healthier as we go forward. The production capacity on November 6, is better than the production capacity on November 1 which was better than October 26. It gets better every day and as we get closer the numbers get bigger and better. It’s just a matter of physically getting them here.”


Well, that sounds positive and he makes a good point that these drives are far more complex than the standard Blu-ray drives. It will be interesting to see if these more complicated Blu-ray components suffer from any problems. Consoles have been plagued in the past with faulty and dodgy components and my money would be on the Blu-ray drive to head up any faulty list.

“Bad news sells. All the success that we’ve had is not a sexy story, but any missteps that we’ve had is a story. Sony has gone from number four to number one in high definition television sets this year but people don’t want to write about that. They want to write about a battery recall. Sony is number one at the [cinema] box office, but people just want to write about the costs of the PlayStation 3 production delay.

"PlayStation 2 is outselling Xbox 360 for the year; we’re out-selling Xbox 360 month after month. The same machine that beat the Xbox in 2001 is beating the Xbox 360 in 2006. That’s amazing and that’s big news, but you don’t read a lot about that. I’ve been with this company twelve years and I don’t think it’s ever been better positioned.”


Interesting point of view, but look at it from the other angle - Playstation 2 costs almost a third of what the 360 costs, so the bigger issue is which console made more money last year. On top of that, the PS2 has a huge back catalogue when compared with the 360 and so the real interesting battle will be which console sells more once the PS3 is released.

There's certainly a lot to talk about here so I won't waffle on any more. Jump in the forums and let the console war rage onwards.
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