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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 timmiser on 11/9/2006 1:40:22 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, Nolan Bushnell was out of Atari by the time Atari ran into to it's major troubles. The Atari of today really has no connection to the original Atari. The name has been sold a couple times because of its name recognition and no employees ever transfered along with the name. For many years it was absorbed in the Warner Bros. conglomerate.

Nolan Bushnell is a visionary inventor and has a keen awareness of where things will be in the future so I would pay good attention to what he has to say.

By highlandsun on 11/10/2006 3:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah right. Such a keen awareness that he turned away Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak when they pitched their idea of a personal computer, and forced them to go off on their own and start Apple.

Nolan Bushnell had one good idea and one stroke of luck. After he left Atari none of his other companies ever went anywhere.

He had nothing to do with the Atari Jaguar, 7800 or any other of Atari's last products, those were all done under the Tramiels. By the time Bushnell realized his mistake about computers Atari was already out of the race, an also-ran.

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken
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