Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
27 October 2007
Sony fails at selling the PSP
When my God of War PSP demo finally came in, this little cardboard advertisement was packed inside the mailer. It's marketing like this that explains why the PSP isn't living up to its potential. Sony simply doesn't know how they want to sell the system:
The two main reasons this advertisement fails:
  1. Photos, Music, and Video come before Games. The PlayStation name is synonymous with games. Not photos. Not music. Not video. GAMES.
  2. Game shown (MLB '07 The Show) is available on other platforms, with better graphics and probably better network support. It does not sell people on the system's uniqueness.
Sony could be selling the PSP based on exclusive games like Exit, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Lumines, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, LocoRoco, and on and on. I know The Show is a Sony baby and they want to sell it, but for the love of all that's good and wholesome, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING! Sony keeps going after short-term, selfish gains at the expense of establishing long-term platforms for third parties that will make even more money.

Look, Sony, the competition is outselling your PSP by at least a 2-to-1 ratio every month with its non-photo-music-video Nintendo DS. Their handheld's software actually gets in the top 10 on a regular basis, and even had the #1 spot for a while this year. Their marketing is focused on one thing: games. Wise up!

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--Matt Matthews at 15:46
Comment [ 2 ]

Comments on this post:

I see the points but I would temper them a bit:

+) Considering it's inclusion in a PSP demo disc it may be that this ad was designed for owners of the system - so that it's purpose is to expose the other features of the system that may be ignored.

+) Those features are differentiators for the system. As you say the "PlayStation" brand IS synonymous with games - everybody knows that. This is the "we're so much more than games" tact(which may not be the best... but it does make some sense).

+) It's a little specious to compare the PSP to the DS. The DS is simply a phenom - there's no question about it. The PSP is a success (and a big one) by any measure BUT direct and sole comparison to the DS (which is a freakish monster of success).

Now - all that said - Sony is definately not marketing the PSP as well as they could. But they're not doing nearly as badly as some are making out.

Anecdotally two of my friends have bought the PSP specifically because of the media features... they of course already had DSs but wanted something that they could also watch a movie on or listen to music on while on the road.

So while I completely agree that games should come first maybe marking the integration features isn't a completely insane propsition.

By Blogger Jim, at 27 October, 2007 22:59  

Yet, the imagery on the ad is the order of the Cross Media Bar and the bar works in reverse order (those crazy Japanese), so in reality the system turns on with Network first, then Games, Video, Music, Photo, etc. In fact if you shut down PSP normally it 'cold' boots into the GAMES tab.

But you are right in advertising its would be helpful to say games first, but that would ignore the reality that the "look, feel, and order" of the XMB is a Trade Mark. It would be like putting the Windows XP Start Menus Icon on the top right instead of the bottom left just because you felt like it. People might disagree but I find the XMB the best interface on any gaming system, so I think treating it and showing it’s correctly is important.

I think the worst interface fop finding anything is the Microsoft XLB tab system which hides everything. Sure it has many nice functions, but how they are presented and how you find things buried under submenus is cat vomit. The XMB works and looks the same everywhere and when you enter a menu you see the content right away. You could pick up a Japanese PSP or and Polish PSP and navigate instantly because Sony uses a specific icons set the same way for everyone. I might add the XMB is being used on more and more products too, so your could actually operate a Polish Brvia HDTV the same as your N. American Brvia HDTV.

By Blogger MonkeyKing1969, at 29 October, 2007 16:59  

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