Sony may be in the throes of death, largely due to poor financial decisions, a potentially failed gamble into the smartphone industry, and a failure to deliver good products consistently as they had in the past with previous game systems. Additionally, although Sony has produced some excellent products in the past, such as the Walkman and the PlayStation series before the PS4, Sony has shown a consistent inability to evolve at the speed necessary to keep up with the changing technological times.
Some examples of this include Sony’s failure to deliver a second hit product in the music sector after the 1980’s Walkman, a failure to deliver a substantial improvement on the PS3 with the PS4, and the fact that you can still go out and buy a Sony Blue-ray dedicated disc player, despite the fact that the demand for such a device is almost zero. This isn’t to say that Sony hasn’t had some successes; but their repeated failure to take the appropriate direction when the times call for the company to evolve is showing in their dire financial straights despite even the success of the PS4.
Although the PS4 was in fact an initial sales success, it is largely due to consumer’s expectations that Sony would deliver a stellar product – misplaced expectations, that is, since Sony failed to deliver a product that was noticeably better than its 8-year-old predecessor. Further, although Microsoft released their competitor at the same time, as it turns out the PS4 was rushed out the door, and in fact came out a couple years earlier than it should have. In fact, Microsoft was more prepared than Sony was for this generation’s console release.
The probable reason that Sony failed to deliver is because Sony was already in dire financial trouble as a result of their failed faith in entering the smartphone business – a faith in which Sony executives were hoping would be the saving grace of the company’s financial future. Due to superb marketing and brilliant strategical maneuvering around their competitor, Microsoft, and adding onto that utilizing faith in the brand of PlayStation built up over the past 20 years, Sony was successful at creating enough hype in the PS4 that they became successful at the release, creating a mad dash for every household to have one.
Unfortunately, however, the hype did not pan out; and what they delivered was not only a sub-par and unfinished product, but also overpriced, being almost identical to the model from 8 years ago. As a result, Sony damaged the PlayStation brand, possibly irreparably, and have lost the trust of one of their most loyal fan-bases – the fan base which may be the sole userbase to keep the company afloat if it comes to that.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that Microsoft’s new gaming system was also hardly an upgrade; although it was more significant because Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the predecessor to this generation’s Xbox One, was a significant;y inferior product to the PlayStation 3. Additionally, Sony’s PS4 is actually more powerful than Microsoft’s Xbox One – but this is beside the point.
As you can see from the video below, it sounds like Sony has the right ideas, knowing that, quote, “While Sony has been defined by superb engineering and technology, unleashed by a powerful hardware, we also knew success would rely not only on a package of next generation technologies but on reconceptualizing how the next generation gamer would want to play.”
(quote is at 6:41)
Unfortunately, however, Sony did not follow through on these promises, although they might have tried. If they did truly try, they failed, but it is my opinion that they have the capability but lacked the appropriate vision, largely due to being too focused on their financial issues and not focused enough on the consumers whom they are ultimately serving.
Although the gaming industry is only one of the many industries that Sony has its feet in, it is not only a major component but also their sole source of fame for the majority of people in recent generations of consumers who are familiar with the Sony name. This is largely in part due to a failure of Sony to be able to create a diverse brand, and this may result in their downfall. It is also evidence of Sony’s failure to innovate and create repeated hit products – but not necessarily because they aren’t capable. However, regardless of what they are capable of, the fact remains that they have not performed.
Something big will have to happen for Sony to recover from these losses. In fact, the last quarter was the first time in Sony’s history that they did not pay out a dividend to investors; and they reduced their projections by billions – an unprecedented amount in Sony’s history. It may even take an entire change of leadership – or at least a change in some of the weakest links – in order to recover from their fiscal disaster.
As a result of all this, it begs the question – if Sony dies, who will take their place? Nintendo is gearing up and plumping their budget, promising that they have something great ahead. Microsoft is recovering from the disaster that occurred when they released a severely restricted game-system that caused public outcry so great they literally changed their mind and completely changed these restrictions.
In fact, Microsoft has made some great innovations in their latest game system, the Xbox One, including the ability to stream through the Windows 10 operating system – an unprecedented move in gaming history. Oculus Rift is even a contender, as it gains publicity and popularity. There are rumors that a VR (virtual reality) headset will be released as part of the next generation of gaming systems – or even in this present gen of gaming systems. Even teleportation is on the horizon – ok, that one is a joke.
What will be the next move for Sony? Will the company be able to bounce back from this disaster? Will they have the strength to remove key leadership and the luck to get new leadership that can take them in a new direction that can save the company? Or will one of their competitors step in and take advantage of their moment of weakness to gobble up their market share?
In any event, something exciting is on the horizon, either by the resurrection of Sony in light of their failures with something truly new and exciting, or by their competitors who might take advantage of the situation and rise up to be a giant in the industry by consuming Sony’s market share. Alternatively, a new and upcoming company or an existing company who is new to the gaming industry could benefit from Sony’s downfall by taking a piece of Sony’s enormous marketshare to make a name for themselves in an over-saturated industry that might have new space for another player.
Time will tell, but it is certainly exciting to think about and anticipate the next big thing. However, I genuinely hope that Sony pulls it together because the world would be different without the Sony brand! What do you think will happen to Sony? Do you think they will pull it together or do you think they will go up in flames? If so, who do you think might take their place? Leave your comments and thoughts below.
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