Print 44 comment(s) - last by Tony Swash.. on Aug 18 at 3:35 PM

  (Source: iBeatYou Blog)

There Sony goes dissing on the iPhone again...  (Source: Sony)
Did they just go there? Oh yes they did...

Faster than you can say "Oh snap!", Sony unloaded a massive dose of disrespect on the gaming efforts of Apple's star iPhone.  To be fair, Apple started this fight, with Apple's senior marketing VP Phil Schiller commenting that the Nintendo DSi and Sony PSP "don't stack up against the iPod touch".

Sony, who typically is more worried about its Japanese foe Nintendo than a fruity American company from Cupertino, has at last responded and the rebuke is stinging.  

In the video spot a youngster Josh "kidding himself" Rose tries to show off his iPhone look-alike playing "Lame Castle".  New Sony kid spokesperson Marcus "Deputy of Great Game Deals" Rivers comments, "That ain't built for big boy games!  That's built for texting your grandma!"

The cost of PSP games?  As the young Mr. Rivers puts it eloquently, "$9.99, sucka!!"

Of course not all PSP-3000 and PSP Go titles come quite 
that cheap.  However, if Sony is making the case that its overall game title quality has a bit edge on Apple, it might have a point there.  That's not to say that there aren't some great games on the iPhone (Doom, Plants v. Zombies, Angry Birds, and Doodle Jump all come to mind).

While the "you got burned" factor of the commercial is certainly high, Sony has to tread cautiously to make sure their marketing rhetoric doesn't come off as overly defensive.  After all, with perhaps the least high profile announcements of the big three console makers (Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft) at E3 this year, some may already be a bit skeptical of the Japanese console-maker's claims.

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By Shadowself on 8/16/2010 7:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
a. Sony is NOT worried about the iPod at all since it took them almost a year to create any kind of response to Shiller's comments/presentation and this ad is just a "when we get around to it" response


b. Sony has some intelligence on the next iPod coming out, is worried about that next gen iPod and feels it needs to get ads out there in advance to head off any possibility of anyone thinking of getting the next gen iPod (supposedly due out before the end of September).

Only time will tell which is reality.

RE: Either...
By inighthawki on 8/16/2010 8:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think b is very likely at all. Even if a new ipod is on the way, there is no way Apple would pull away from the touchscreen market back to buttons. I think most people would see it as going backwards rather than forwards in technology. And I think it's a fair assumption for anyone who plays mobile games that anything beyond bejeweled and labyrinth pretty much need buttons to play. A touchscreen is FAR from an be-all gaming interface.

RE: Either...
By dark matter on 8/17/2010 1:11:19 PM , Rating: 2
Contradiction much?

How can adding something that improves something else (ie, buttons for gaming) be seen as a step backwards?

Perhaps in the world of Apple maybe, but then, is it possible that Apple is painting itself into a corner here?

RE: Either...
By inighthawki on 8/17/2010 4:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
I did not say adding buttons for gaming. When people look at a smartphone, they are expecting something streamlined. Especially when making a "new" version of an existing phone, people are expecting something new and advanced, and not a downgrade back to last year's input. The exception here may be a keyboard on some models, but phones like the iphone don't really fit well with a keyboard. Thus by adding buttons to the device, it is a step backward from the current generation that uses touch input. (Apple is also known for removing as many buttons as possible).

If you want an analogy, it would kind of be like shipping CRT monitors with new computers, arguing better color, but would you really see that as a step forward because it does better for a singular purpose? Or more realistically, a step backward.

While smartphones bring us ever closer to having one device that does everything, one must simply accept the fact that one device can't do EVERYTHING, and in this case, that means being able to run games more complicated than flash games without hideously awkward controls.

RE: Either...
By Pontius Dilate on 8/16/2010 8:05:42 PM , Rating: 3
It can really only be B, minus the intelligence. If Sony wasn't worried that smartphone game sales could cannibalize PSP game sales (and thus hardware sales) they wouldn't be spending money on an ad campaign acknowledging the fact that the phone you already bought is beginning to be perceived as a satisfying gaming platform. It's not so much about the iPhone per se as it is about ALL smartphones threatening Sony's handheld gaming platform market share.

RE: Either...
By inighthawki on 8/16/2010 8:25:18 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think touchscreen smartphones are even a slight threat against a real mobile gaming platform such as the PSP or DS. The advantage of buttons is huge and anyone who buys a PSP of DS for their intended purposes and functionality knows that the types of games on both platforms are wildly different.

With a big enough screen, sure you could probably emulate the concept of a button-like interface, but having no force feedback to actually pressing the buttons is a big deal itself.

The only games a touchscreen device can really have an advantage in is something that has more of a point-and-click interface, such as bejeweled or maybe an rts-style game. Otherwise they are just horrible.

The article mentions games like Doom, but I think anyone who plays Doom on their touchscreen phone for any reason other than "hey cool, I can play Doom on this" isn't very in-tune with gaming at all.

RE: Either...
By afkrotch on 8/16/2010 9:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
I've tried an RTS game on a touchscreen. Needless to say, it sucks...a lot. I've tried out CnC and SC2 on touch on my tablet. It just doesn't work.

Maybe a super low end RTS. I think your defend the castle style games still work fine though.

RE: Either...
By Zingam on 8/17/2010 5:36:03 AM , Rating: 1
I think that RTSes are very well suited for touchscreens but they should be designed for touchscreen to work well. Properly designed RTS for a touchscreen should IMO deliver even better experience than playing with a mouse.

RE: Either...
By nafhan on 8/17/2010 6:53:12 AM , Rating: 3
With an RTS, I think it's as much screen size as touch vs. mouse and keyboard. An RTS built for a large touch screen wouldn't be much different than what we are used to now on the PC (and really wouldn't require a much different interface), but cell phone size screens require a streamlined/simplified interface and gameplay as you just can't represent as much information.

RE: Either...
By B3an on 8/17/2010 10:44:52 AM , Rating: 2
Long story short - a game specifically designed for touch, on a device with a high res multi-touch screen thats atleast 8 or 10 inches could probably be better than a mouse, atleast for speed.

For anything else buttons are superior. And a mouse and keyboard is even more superior for many other things/games.

RE: Either...
By afkrotch on 8/17/2010 9:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, not really. You can get the basic movements down fine with some finger gestures and crap. Like select unit(s), make units move, scroll around the map, etc.

Now how do you suppose they'd hotkey 5 different buildings? If you want to slowdown an RTS and start removing RTS elements (think CnC4), then yes. Let's all do touch.

RE: Either...
By Paj on 8/17/2010 7:41:14 AM , Rating: 1
Ive barely played a PSP or DS, but from what I have seen they are much more versatile. Its my understanding that one of the reasons the Motorola Droid was so popular was cause of its hardware keyboard (and D pad) that made it much better suited to playing the more action oriented games.

Ive played plenty of games on Iphone and android, though. The bane of smartphone gaming isnt the hardware, or the talent, it will ALWAYS be the control scheme. In many respects a smartphone game lives or dies on its controls, and otherwise great games can be ruined by a poor control scheme. This is where hardware controls will always have the edge.

Has anyone developed a plugin set of dpad and buttons for the Iphone that interface with the data/charging port, similar to the way a dock would, for use with playing games? Pretty sure I remember seeing a dodgy one for Droid at some stage. Seems like such a no-brainer...

RE: Either...
By nafhan on 8/17/2010 9:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
The iPod touch won't pull any hardcore gamers away from their DS or PSP. What it will do is keep casual gamers satisfied enough that they won't feel the need to plunk down cash for a second device, and casual gamers are a BIG potential market.

RE: Either...
By inighthawki on 8/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: Either...
By Tony Swash on 8/18/2010 3:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
Touch-based smartphones tend to have small flash-like games such as bejeweled, labyrinth, and maybe a few games that make cool use of an accelerometer, like Audiosurf or something.

Obviously you didn't see this

John Carmack showing off the iPhone version of Rage at the annual QuakeCon game tournament.

RE: Either...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/17/2010 1:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
Plus you can't grip the iPad touch with both hands and still play effectively like you can with REAL gaming devices.

RE: Either...
By Suntan on 8/17/2010 8:56:24 AM , Rating: 3
Or C) Sony might look to release a phone dedicated to gaming...


RE: Either...
By BZDTemp on 8/17/2010 6:21:25 PM , Rating: 2
Seems plausible.

I'm thinking there may be an option D where Sony want to emphasize for those not knowing that portable gaming is much more than what a touch screen offers.

RE: Either...
By darkblade33 on 8/18/2010 12:09:07 AM , Rating: 2
I gotta think it has alot to do with Sony's cash flow, I read an article at Forbes saying almost all division of Sony, including its Playstation and PC division, were big losers ( in the red) with mostly the Sony Financial Services Divison ( which made alot of money ) having bailed out all other divisions.

Sony's MOST RECENT financial statement has them saying that the Playstation AND PC division has for the first time ( since the PS3's release) nearly broke even.. Whats broke even mean ?? They went from losing like hundreds of millions last year (in US dollars) to just 40 million this year ! WOW losing 40 million is PR'd as almost breaking even !

To me this is terrible considering they lost 40 million as a DIVISION - Just think even with PS2 cash cow still selling and making profit and PC's selling.. the PS3 still brought them to NEGATIVE 40 million !!

You look at MS Xbox 360 being up only 5.5 million worldwide, but they pulled a net profit of 38 million.. basically the opposite of PS3

RE: Either...
By LifeByTheHorns on 8/18/2010 11:29:18 AM , Rating: 2
This is marketing 101, and Sony is walking right into Apple's trap.

An established brand (Sony PSP) should never respond to an attacking brand's (iPhone) marketing. It only serves to raise awareness to, and legitimize, the attack in the minds of consumers.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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