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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 chaos386 on 11/9/2006 9:52:57 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I wouldn't trust the founder of Atari to know whether or not a system is going to fail.

Does no one else see the irony?

By TomZ on 11/9/2006 10:32:20 AM , Rating: 4
No, I don't see any irony. After all, Atari had a very successful run at the time, and continues to be successful even today. Just because Atari isn't doing consoles today doesn't mean that Atari's founder doesn't know a thing or two about the gaming market.

By kidsafe on 11/9/2006 12:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
You're leaving out a small detail. Atari today is GT Interactive renamed, a division of Infogrames. It's a hollowed out brand and doesn't even bring with it any of the original IP.

By TomZ on 11/9/2006 12:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but my point is that Bushnell did lead Atari to a good deal of success, and that the brand lives on today, even if it is a different company.

By AzureKevin on 11/9/2006 10:34:55 AM , Rating: 5
It's not ironic. He has better reasons than anybody for why he thinks the PS3 will fail. He's been through that kind of failure before and has the experience to back up his reasoning and claim.

Here's an example of a scenario that would be ironic: the PS3 is in the same position Atari's console before it failed, but Bushnell praises the PS3 anyway and claims it will be the leading console. That would be ironic.

With all this being said, you still have to take predictions for what they are: predictions! Quit bashing the man just because you hope the PS3 will do well. He is simply giving his opinion on the matter, and there is nothing wrong with that. Only time will tell if he is right or wrong.

Personally, I don't want to see the PS3 fail. Competition is good for the consumers, and with the PS3 at such a high price, Nintendo and Microsoft have all the more reason to keep their consoles at a lower price.

By MrSmurf on 11/9/2006 11:36:39 AM , Rating: 1
Exactly. He's been there before, lol

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