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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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Same price, great tools?
By tozz on 11/9/2006 10:55:33 AM , Rating: 1
The PS3 will cost about the same as the PS2 did when it came out in Sweden, it was a crazy success at that price.
All this crap about shitty tools, how come the PS2 has the greatest game library ever made? Is it because the tools sucks? (Games are a matter of taste, but nobody can argue the diversity and quality of the PS2 game library).
I remember Epic saying something like "the PS3 is very easy to develop for, in three months we ported the entire unreal engine".

He is right about one thing, it's about games, and the PS3 games aren't priced any worse than the competition. In a game library over 5years you'll probably have 20-50 games at least, will you hurt badly if you have 18-48 instead? No, didn't think so either (people love to use the "I can get a Wii and a couple of games for the same price").

RE: Same price, great tools?
By static1117 on 11/9/06, Rating: -1
RE: Same price, great tools?
By Aikouka on 11/9/2006 11:27:08 AM , Rating: 2
One of the bigger comments this time around is Sony lost a lot of the exclusive titles that it used to have. I'd say the only two big exclusive titles that the PS3 has are Tekken and Final Fantasy. If you want to go further, you could probably include Virtua Fighter as I believe that's also a PS3-only title. Note that this does not include Sony titles such as Gran Turismo (SCEI produced).

Developers are diversifying now more than ever because there's actually worth in developing for other consoles as well as Sony's offering. The 360 is powerful enough to offer a similar experience and already has a user base, so it's got advantages that developers take into account.

RE: Same price, great tools?
By TheDoc9 on 11/9/2006 12:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, and another poster earlier wanted counter points for PS3's success.

How about the name? most people don't read dailytech or several of the other bias news sites, no most people may check the net or buy a few magazines to find a release date and based off of the the generally posative experiance they had with ps2 and ps1, the'll pick up a ps3. Even if it means saving for a little while.

I myself have a 360 for over a year and I still plan on getting a ps3 why? Because i'm not that impressed with the 360 thus far. Plus FF is going to be a Sony only title, that alone will sell millions of ps3's.

RE: Same price, great tools?
By ViperROhb34 on 11/9/2006 5:08:27 PM , Rating: 2
Dont say Final fintasy will be PS3 Only unless you're the predient of that company and can make that choice...
the company may release it 1st on PS3, but it could still possibly be on 360 later.. They did release the FF RPG on 360.. so they dont seem to be tied down to being able to do that .. They already sell it on pc as well.. PC users dont have to go buy PS3, Xbox, or Wii..

RE: Same price, great tools?
By robber98 on 11/9/2006 8:26:27 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Same price, great tools?
By otispunkmeyer on 11/10/2006 6:04:36 AM , Rating: 2

i have a 360 now, i have TDU, PGR3, dead rising....burnout etc all great games that i cant play on the PC and some of which only appear on the 360

but i will be getting a PS3 at some point

GT5 is just gonna be too good to miss, and there ive said it. i bought the 360 because of a handfull of great games, and the plethora of great games coming soon

but im prepared to buy a PS3 in 2008 because of 1 game. a game thats a Playstation exclusive

RE: Same price, great tools?
By akugami on 11/10/2006 12:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
The PS1 had a large library of games because it Sony got lucky and made some smart decisions (mainly using a CD drive instead of super expensive cartridges) and because of the stupidity and hubris of Nintendo. The PS2 got a large library from the momentum of the PS1 as well as having the largest installed user base.

What's happening with the PS3 is, even the developers (which makes all those games for Sony) are a little hesitant to go all out in support of the PS3. Even they are wary of the very high price point and thus, they're hedging their bets by spreading games around to the PS3 and Wii.

One must remember it's the developers that made all those games for the Playstation and Playstation 2, not Sony. If they leave, the huge library of games that has been the PS1 and PS2's strength becomes negligible since most of the hot games will be cross platform and there will be an arguably equally large library of games for both the Xbox 360 and Wii.

The problem isn't the cost of individual games, though the higher development costs for the PS3 threatens to keep that high. The problem is the initial cost of entry. At $500 (and realistically $600 with tax and a new game), it is simply too high of a cost for the more casual gamers. Only the hardcore and households with more disposable income will buy into the PS3 and I can't see it being more than 10 million roughly by next Christmas and 20 million after the 2008 Christmas season.

The reason is that even with a $100 price drop next Christmas it is still too pricey and out for most people. And let's say the Christmas after that in 2008 it drops another $100. That's still $300 for the lower end system and $400 for the higher end one. While much more affordable, it's not like the Xbox 360 won't drop in price nor the Wii. By 2008, you're likely to see a $150 Wii and a $200 premium Xbox 360.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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