It was May 2006 when the Playstation 3 awkwardly ambled into the room, late to the console party and already drunk, the hardware version of that dude hitting on everyone's girlfriends while spilling beer on your Jordans. From the moment it entered the fray, the PS3 was on shaky ground—which was a surprise to everyone. The PS2 had conquered the world, paving a golden path for the PS3. But Sony made some serious errors in judgment; from the jaw dropping price announcement to the sheer size of the PS3 console itself, at times it seemed as though they were trying to dig themselves a hole.
But over the past several months, it's started to look like Sony has sobered up, ditch the (perceived) arrogance, and made good with the gaming community. Last week, Peter Dille, Sony's SVP of Marketing, stated that "the arrogance, I think, has gone away." Has the party crasher seen the error of its ways? Let's take a look at how the PS3 crashed the console party, what party fouls it committed, and how it ultimately saw the light...
by Ryan Woo
May 2004: The Foreboding Announcement
LITERALLY: At Tokyo's PlayStation Meeting, Ken Kutaragi announces the coming of the PS3. It will have the magnificent power of the Cell processor, he says, but there's no console to be seen during the conference. At least we know it's on the way, right? After E3, Ken warns the gaming community that the console is going to cost a grip.
METAPHORICALLY: PS3 calls his homie on the cell: "Yo, I'ma be a little late to your party, but save me some Jell-O shots!! I'm just pre-partying, dunny!! Finna tear the roof off when I get there though!! SOMEONE PASS ME THAT JAGER, PLAYER!"
May 2005: Party Foul #1... The Awkward Arrival
LITERALLY: Sony's E3 press conference starts an hour late, and proceeds to bitchslap the audience when Kaz Hirai announces the price points to be $500 and $600. Sony must be drunk on power from the PS2 days, thinks the gaming community. To make matters worse for Sony, the Xbox 360 was already sitting pretty, building a solid lead on sales after a full year in the marketplace. Later, Kutaragi adds insult to injury by declaring the PS3 to be too cheap.
METAPHORICALLY: *BAM!* Four hours late to the party, PS3 literally kicks the door open to the party and stumbles in holding a bottle: "WHAT'S UP, FUCKAS!!!!" The music screeches to a stop. Everyone stares at him, mouths agape. "I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU LAMES WERE UP TO, BUT THE PARTY CAN OFFICIALLY BEGIN...NOW!" *THUNDEROUS BELCH*
November 2006: Party Foul #2... Not Bringing Your Share
LITERALLY: The PS3 releases in Japan on Nov 11, but Sony forgets to bring enough for everybody—a shortage of Blu-ray blue laser diodes delays production and severely limits targeted launch numbers. The system sells out on Day 1—mainly because there were so few consoles to go around. In the US, the system drops (in limited numbers) on November 17. As expected, fights and robberies break out over the consoles.
METAPHORICALLY: PS3 stumbles over to his buddy who's hosting the party: "Ay, man, I know I was s'posed to bring over a coupla six-packs for everyone, but I got fitty praded—sorry, pretty faded—at home and forgot to bring 'em. But I brought this peach wine cooler! You and your lady can split it, the shit is fire!" He hands the half-empty wine cooler to his friend.
Late 2006-Early 2007: The Partygoers Revolt
LITERALLY: Multiple publications and websites—Ars Technica, Time Magazine, and scores of gaming blogs—start pumping out headlines declaring that Sony misled consumers and gamers, from not delivering on their 1080p/120fps gaming promises to the disappointing production numbers. To make matters worse, Kutaragi dismissing his competitors with a hubristic "We don't care" only riles up gamers even more. Message boards and forums are set ablaze by Sony detractors (including once-loyal fans). The Sony Defense Force is only able to fend off so many "RIIIDGE RAAACER" attacks. Even Valve's Gabe Newell calls the PS3 a "disaster."
METAPHORICALLY: PS3 looks around the room and sees other people snickering. And for the first time, it occurs to him, "Wait—are these people clowning me??"
April 2007: Dashed Expectations
LITERALLY: Despite having the latest tech and all the right gear, the PS3 simply isn't selling as Sony hoped. Sure, the Blu-ray player is sexy, but $600 is still too big a pill for the average consumer to swallow. By April, Sony's shipped 5.5 million units, but only 3.5 million have actually sold through. Meanwhile, Nintendo can't keep up with the insane demand for the cute little Wii, with every preteen and soccer mom on the planet clamoring for one.
METAPHORICALLY: PS3's inner monologue: "Dude, why won't any girls talk to me? I'm rocking my Tiffany Dunks and my denim's crisp. I'm hotter than Cudi and Drake's love child covered in hot fudge and sprinkles. Pause. The fuck is going on? It's not like these girls' boyfriends are the shit. Man, that last Jell-O shot might have put me over... did I just tell that girl that her hair looks like a peacock that got in a fight with Manny Pacquiao?" He looks over to other side of the room, where a short, scrawny dude in a white t-shirt drinking a bottle of Sunny Delight is spitting game to five girls at once.
2008: Attention Whore
LITERALLY: Sony tries to separate itself from the pack by "leaking" blatantly weird ads that just leave consumers with a "wtf" look on their face. If the crying baby doll and the dude with a thumb for a dick aren't enough, Sony has the gall to put up a PSP billboard ad that features a white woman choking a black woman. Wait, what? People start to question Sony's sanity.
METAPHORICALLY: "Hey DJ drop that new whas-it-called song... whas his name... shit... Oh, mafuggin' J. Cole or sumthin... " The DJ doesn't even pay attention to PS3, but dude is too drunk to notice. He tries to form a circle around himself; three people feel sorry enough for him to form like 2/3 of a triangle. The few people paying attention think he's going to try and bust some windmills... but instead he starts doing some weird interpretive dance shit that looks like it was stolen from the Julliard School. People just gawk at him. Until he stops and vomits on someone's shoes.
August 2009: Moment of Clarity
LITERALLY: Sony finally beings to stir from its state of arrogant delusion. At Gamescom '09, Sony announces that the price of the 80 Gig PS3 is dropping to $299, and reveals the PS3 Slim. Consumers start to warm up to the PS3 just a bit.
METAPHORICALLY: The sun hits PS3 in the face, waking him up — he's on the couch in his friend's living room."Fuck, what happened last night"? His friend walks in, shaking his head. PS3 holds his head in shame: "My bad, man. I made an ass out of myself last night, huh?" His homie starts to pick cups up off the ground. "Hey, sit down," PS3 says. "I got this." He starts to clean up the havoc he wreaked the night before.
2010- : The Aftermath
LITERALLY: Peter Dille declares that Sony's age of arrogance is over, and the Kevin Butler ads seem to underscore that the PS3 has entered a new kindler, gentler era. God of War III and Uncharted 2 have done very well, and it finally looks like the PS3 is coming into its own. At least until something ridiculous pops up, like an ad that depicts a gamer giving blood to a Nazi somehow pops up on the internet—but that's never gonna happen, right? Oh, wait... .
METAPHORICALLY: PS3 finishes taking out the last bag of trash. He walks back into the living room where his friend is playing Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox. "Look, man," PS3 says. "I...I think I have a problem. Maybe it's issues from being in my older brother's shadow, but something's gotta change, and it's gotta change now. I need help."