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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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Why is everyone discounting his opinion?
By MonkeyPaw on 11/9/2006 3:12:52 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, it doesn't really matter if the guy is still in the business--he used to work in the business and knows what it takes to succeed and even what it takes to fail. His points are quite valid, and many of them are the exact same points that many others have been contending for a while now: PS3 will be the last to arrive, it's the hardest to develop for, Sony is the hardest to work with, it's the most expensive. Sony may have hit it big with PS1 and PS2, but Nintendo and MS have taken different paths since then and are doing rather well with their approaches. Ever notice how the only one trashing XB360 is Sony? Look how many critics of PS3 there are already--especially the big game developers. MS and Nintendo really don't have to say anything abd about PS3, many others are doing that for them. Even Sony is struggling to play up PS3--the best they can do right now is poke fun at MS's add-ons and tell people that the cost is "worth it." No one can say 100% for sure that it will be a failure or a success, but everyone can have an opinion.

By ViperROhb34 on 11/9/2006 4:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
Id think his opinion would matter more.
Being he saw Atari start and succeed.. then have major problems .. then go to some success again making software.

Im saying is he knows failure.. just like everyone does and has.. its easy to look back.. give some advice on what not to do..

Sony.. On what not to do.. Don't make a console too our of price for the massess ! You need those masses to sell enough games and have enough developers confidence that when they make a game.. it'll make them money.. Instead of.. whats happening today.. "Don't take a chance" "Develop it" "Then Port it to 2 or 3 consoles"

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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