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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 psychobriggsy on 11/9/2006 9:52:55 AM , Rating: 2
But it will still probably sell some 15-20 million consoles in the first three years of its life, and I expect it to remain in third place throughout that time (XBox360 has a year's headstart on sales, good games and cheaper price, Wii has a very cheap price and fun games and control system and Nintendo can make millions each month). In the longer term maybe cost reductions to expensive PS3 components (Cell, BluRay, RSX) will bring the pricing in line with the XBox360, at which point the PS3 will sell more - especially as BluRay will start to pass the early-adopter phase.

But instead of the generational sales after 4-5 years being 100m, 24m, 24m (PS2, XBox, GC), they'll be far more even, probably 40m, 35m, 30m, although which console attains each figure is still up in the air.

By DingieM on 11/9/2006 10:22:12 AM , Rating: 2
"In the longer term maybe cost reductions to expensive PS3 components (Cell, BluRay, RSX) will bring the pricing in line with the XBox360, at which point the PS3 will sell more - especially as BluRay will start to pass the early-adopter phase."

The Wii and the 360 will also find cheaper means of manufacturing and bring down the end customer price. So your argument will be invalid.

By psychobriggsy on 11/9/2006 2:23:17 PM , Rating: 2
BluRay has far far more room to drop in price than a DVD drive because it is so new. If it really is $300 per device, then it could drop to $50 in three years. A $20 DVD drive will drop to what? $15?

Also it is likely that Microsoft will incorporate the HD-DVD drive into the XBox360 at some point in the future, raising the cost a little.

However I should have pointed out that the greatest threat to the PS3 comes from a year or two of poor sales - because developers will stop developing games (or nearly as worse - not put extra effort into the titles, so no taking advantage of hardware specific features like Cell) - the problem with the GameCube and the Dreamcast.

By ViperROhb34 on 11/9/2006 3:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
It took 5 YEARS for the PS2 I bought at 299.00 to drop to 129.00 that it is now and now it comes with one controller, instead of the two mine came with on launch.

If you expect the price OF PS3 to drop from 600 to 399 anytime in the next year, don't hold your breath. You'll be dead. PS3 needs to sell well now, not later. There is more competition now then when PS2 arrived. There are less console exclusive games now. All reasons PS3 will matter less, even if you don't consider its price which cost wayyy too much for the avg family.

People on these boards act like everyone int his world is dropping everything right now to buy a Bluray OR HD-DVD player.. Well wake up because most don't give a shit. And because of that alone.. PS3 is a game console that cost too much.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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