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Creator of Pong and the man behind Chuck E. Cheese gives thumbs up to Wii and Xbox 360, but thumbs down for PlayStation 3

Nolan Bushnell, founder of all things at one point joyous to children, is featured in an interview with Red Herring where he is asked for his opinion on the state of the video game industry today.

Bushnell, who started Atari, is one of the grandfathers of the video game industry. When asked about about which areas he still follows of his former industry, he said, "I’m very curious and interested in the Nintendo Wii. I think it may expand the market beyond the hardcore [18- to 24-year old]." 

He also expressed fondness for Microsoft's online strategy, saying, "Xbox Live is interesting because it potentially becomes the platform for the living room."

But the tuned changed to a less positive note when it came to PlayStation 3. 

"I think Sony shot themselves in the foot… there is a high probability [they] will fail. The price point is probably unsustainable. For years and years Sony has been a very difficult company to deal with from a developer standpoint. They could get away with their arrogance and capriciousness because they had an installed base," Bushnell said.

Bushnell explained that ease of software development could be a deciding factor: "They have also historically had horrible software tools. You compare that to the Xbox 360 with really great authoring tools [and] additional revenue streams from Xbox live… a first party developer would be an idiot to develop for Sony first and not the 360. People don’t buy hardware, they buy software."

The interviewer then gave a counterpoint, stating that Sony must have been doing something right in order to sell over 100 million units of each PlayStation generation.

"It wasn’t anything brilliant that they did. With the PS and PS2 it was timing. They had the right pricing at the right time [and were] almost the accidental winner," answered Bushnell. "It would not surprise me if a year from now they’ll be struggling to sell 1 million units. [Factoring in the PS3’s price], I think in the U.S. the number of early adopters you have is actually around 300,000."

Sony is targeting to ship 400,000 PlayStation 3 consoles to the U.S. for its launch window, and a considerable portion of the allotment already sold out via pre-orders.

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By regnez on 11/9/2006 9:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
"It would not surprise me if a year from now they’ll be struggling to sell 1 million units. [Factoring in the PS3’s price], I think in the U.S. the number of early adopters you have is actually around 300,000."

I am not a huge fan of the PS3 or anything, but this statement makes no sense. If there were really only 300,000 ish early adopters of the PS3 in the US, would ebay really have to take measures to stop sellers from selling their preorders? and the preorders that were for sale for awhile were going for $1000 - $1500 a piece.

People would not be ready to pay $1500 for a slip of paper and a chance at a PS3 on launch day if there were so few early adopters.

RE: 300,000?
By AmbroseAthan on 11/9/2006 9:39:35 AM , Rating: 2
The pre-orders were not based on the 400,000 mark of the launch window. My guess is it was closer to 50,000 for the pre-orders; the stores don't want to put themselves into a difficult position.

So you now have 300,000 people hoping for 50,000 units pre-order units, plus the Ebay history with the 360 launch, and the PS2 popularity. The history of other systems is going to skew the demand/price for the ebay pre-orders to high levels. Even at 100,000 pre-order units it is still pushes the demand would still present itself the same (based on the before mentioned histories).

RE: 300,000?
By DFranch on 11/9/2006 9:41:28 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt there were 300000 preorders issued for the PS3. So the early adopters are bidding stupid amounts of money to be the first guy on the block to have a PS3. But relax, I'm pretty sure Sony will sell more than 300000 in the next year. They don't deserve to for many of the reasons cited in the article (Poor design tools, general arrogance, forcing blue-ray on gamers (I added that last one)), but they will sell like hotcakes.

RE: 300,000?
By ChugokuOtaku on 11/9/2006 9:47:24 AM , Rating: 2
I find the statement quite agreeable.

If you think about it, those 300,000 ppl who are getting the the PS3, these are the people who will buy it whether it's priced at $600, or $6,000. This is very different from PS2, where when comparing to it's competition of the time, the price was not a factor, since both the Xbox and the PS2 were priced roughly the same. However, with the PS3, price becomes a much bigger deciding factor, since the most expensive competition is still $100 less than the Core PS3. So for those were are wavering on which console to get, Sony will be losing a lot more of those customers than in the previous console war. Now, as for those ppl who are deciding on whether to get a console at all, Sony will lose big, as that hefty pricetag does not look pocket friendly in anyway, and it will be difficult finding enough justification to go against such a huge drawback.

RE: 300,000?
By TomZ on 11/9/2006 10:28:28 AM , Rating: 2
The eBay restriction is based on the experience with the XBOX 360 (not the PS2), and also is probably based (I would guess) on some behind-the-scenes threats by Sony to eBay to keep that market under control.

RE: 300,000?
By deeznuts on 11/9/2006 1:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless of presales, does anyone believe this guy that he sees only 300,000 units of the early adopters? Anyone seriously?

The only way I see this happening is if Sony only delivers 300,000. IMO sony will sell whatever they can deliver at the beginning. How many gamers you know passed on the XBOX for over a year to "wait for the Playstation?"

RE: 300,000?
By peldor on 11/9/2006 1:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
How many gamers you know passed on the XBOX for over a year to "wait for the Playstation?"

Not many gamers, but plenty of idiots.

RE: 300,000?
By deeznuts on 11/9/2006 6:43:46 PM , Rating: 2
To each their own, but there's still a lot of them.

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