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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 halibut on 11/9/2006 10:16:02 AM , Rating: 4
Atari still makes games and publishes a lot of stuff. One thing that he is saying from experience and viewing what is going on in the console market. He is seeing what made his console the Jaguar a flop. He says indirectly that the reason his console was a flop, is what is going to be the downfall of the mighty Sony PS3. You look at some of the examples of consoles that failed:
-Neo Geo - Price
-Atari Jaguar, & 7800 - timing
-Sega DreamCast - timing and limited game support
-NEC TurboGraphx16 (This one I owned) - limited game support and rental support (their HUCards were not rental friendly in comparison of the gigantic cartridges from other vendors.))
-I can't think of any others right now...

They were all effected by timing, game publisher support, and cost, and are the main purchasing factors in the industry.

XBOX360 was great on timing, WII is great on price and where do you place the PS3?

By NoSoftwarePatents on 11/9/2006 11:14:44 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the NeoGeo was not a failure-SNK's upper management was a failure at that time, since the company itself went bankrupt in the early part of this decade, then partially reformed, and was then later evolved into SNK Playmore.

There are more than 100 games for the NeoGeo from 1990 to 2003. The NeoGeo was always a niche market, which is why the price NEVER dropped on new units for the life of the device. Also, the real income the powered SNK was from their Multi-Video System arcade version of NeoGeo. Porting the MVS to the home version was easy, since the ROM images were the same.

By Trisped on 11/9/2006 12:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
No, NeoGeo was a flop because it never caught on. Yes, I know 1 person that bought it and was happy with it, but everyone else thought it was stupid. I also remember all the news posts about how the company thought it would be great and pull them out of troubled times, which evolved into the company going under and the handhelds rebirth as a niche market product.

But back to the point, He is saying that the PS3 is not going to do well because it is too expensive for the power, late to market, and more HTPC then actual consol. Right now their only benefit is there zealous fan base, but if they don't turn that into PS3 owners real quick then they won't get the support base to warrant the investment of game designers.

Sony took a very big gamble with the PS3, and we will just have to wait and see if it pays off.

By NoSoftwarePatents on 11/9/2006 1:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
"...everyone else thought it was stupid..." is subjective, so you aren't adding anything as you opine. Now compared to other hardware for arcade platforms, it was technically inferior, as Capcom's CPS-2 had a powerful architecture as was Sega's System32 platform for starters.

The NeoGeo was NOT TARGETED at the same market segment that the Sega Genesis, NEC TurboGrafx-16 and Super Nintendo was as it was released in 1990. It was found in magazines such as The Sharper Image, Playboy, and it could be purchased at places like the now-bankrupt Incredible Universe and other not-so-common stores.

It was an enthusiast platform, targeted exclusively at people who were willing to pay $150 or more per game with a super expensive console, plain and simple. Thirteen years is a LONG time-what other platform has been supported that long in recent times? Some "flop" indeed.

If you really believe SNK was going after the same customers that were willing to pay $100-150 for a dedicated game machine coupled with $30-50 games, you are just plain wrong. If you have any websites that cite the fact that SNK was somehow banking that the NeoGeo was going to exclusively "save them", I'd love to see that.

SNK has made some bad management decisions, like all companies do, but the NeoGeo and MVS were NOT the main reason why they went bankrupt.

By akugami on 11/9/2006 3:54:58 PM , Rating: 1
Neo Geo was awesome. Nothing beats hacking genuine arcade controllers to the Neo Geo controller and playing some of the (at the time) awesome arcade games available on the Neo Geo. Some of my favorite gaming moments was late nights with friends playing Samurai Shodown 2 (arguably the best in the series). And it wasn't some arcade to home translation, it was the real deal.

By Rollomite on 11/9/06, Rating: -1
By othercents on 11/9/2006 4:28:06 PM , Rating: 3
Right now their only benefit is there zealous fan base

So how big is this fan base? I would have to say that almost everyone that owns a PS2 is looking at purchasing a PS3 over an Xbox360, if they are planning to upgrade. Thats a large fan base. If Sony sells PS3s to have their current PS2 owner base then they will be more successful than Microsoft.

Also you have to look at the international market to see where Microsoft is struggling. One of the key markets (Japan) is not doing well for Microsoft, but might be a very good market for Sony. This is a wait and see type event because hell the PS3 could just plain suck as a console.


By Locutus465 on 11/10/2006 8:46:38 AM , Rating: 2
One of the key markets (Japan) is not doing well for Microsoft

Traditionally yes, but MS has finally found a killer app for Japan, if they keep it going Sony isn't the clear victor any more.

By RandomFool on 11/10/2006 9:26:11 AM , Rating: 1
I know for a fact every PS2 owner is not looking at buying a PS3 because I own a PS2 and have no interest in the PS3.

$500 bucks is a lot of money for a kid. I know I wouldn't ever get a new system unless it was for Christmas and only after the price dropped. I couldn't fathom spending 300 on the PS2 never mind $500.

By Zandros on 11/9/2006 12:07:26 PM , Rating: 5
Atari of old does not make or publish games. Infogrames bought the Atari name, and changed branding from Infogrames to Atari.

By AlexWade on 11/9/2006 1:05:41 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't call the TurboGraphix16 a failure. I still own mine, and in fact was playing Military Madness recently. The TG16 changed the console market with their CD. I wish mine wasn't broken, because there are some TG16 CD games that I want to play right now. Specifically, the game Ys I&II.

By nunya on 11/12/2006 12:46:38 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe they'll pop up on the WII

By Kevil on 11/9/2006 1:36:58 PM , Rating: 4
Being first to the market does not make great timing and saying Atari still makes games is inaccurate, Infogrames release under the Atari name. The Atari of old no longer exists. The clash of the next gen is far from over we're only starting to see the 360 maturing and giving us great titles. We'll need to see how both the PS3 and Wii mature before we can actually call any of them flops.

By One43637 on 11/9/2006 7:40:44 PM , Rating: 2

By Kevil on 11/9/2006 1:36:58 PM , Rating: 3
Being first to the market does not make great timing and saying Atari still makes games is inaccurate, Infogrames release under the Atari name. The Atari of old no longer exists. The clash of the next gen is far from over we're only starting to see the 360 maturing and giving us great titles. We'll need to see how both the PS3 and Wii mature before we can actually call any of them flops.

my sentiments exactly.

By akugami on 11/9/2006 3:58:22 PM , Rating: 2
The Atari of today is not the same as the Atari of yesteryear. Same name, different company. It's dead Jim. And if you want clarification on why Atari now is not the same company as Atari then, look it up in the wikipedia.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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