Monday, November 20, 2006

What Did We Learn This Weekend?

So, the Playstation 3 and Wii launches came and went. I think Bill put it nicely in his blog (Dubious Quality) this weekend in two separate posts and I'll try not to just retread on what he said.

I was one of the people with inside info on the PS3 and launch quantities that Bill talked about and it will be very interesting to see Sony's press releases starting today. I am actually surprised they didn't send out a form press release saying that the PS3 launch was an unqualified success this weekend. I'm not exactly sure how they are going to spin the 140k units that went to stores instead of the 400k target (this is rumor at this point, but many signs are pointing toward this number being realistic). On every news channel I watched and every newspaper I read they made it a point to say that 400k units were shipped to stores. I'm not sure when NPDs numbers come out, but that will be the telltale sign. I'm sure Sony is hoping to have more units in the channel before that report comes out because I don't think it will look very rosy. They may even bring out a PR piece that says, "well, Wal-Mart is not taken into account in NPDs numbers" (since they aren't).

The most funny thing to come out of this weekend is how fast the eBay price of the PS3 dropped after roughly Friday night. If you hadn't sold your PS3 by then you were talking more in the $200-600 profit range at this point (although there are some still going for $1.5k). Some people have even taken to raffles, but so far I haven't seen much movement in those auctions. It's hard to guess at what this sort of thing means though. Does it mean that the PS3 isn't nearly as "wanted" as Sony would like us to think it is? Have the bidders decided that the system isn't worth 2x+ the original price and they can wait? Have the people that wanted a PS3 for Christmas already purchased their systems from eBay and now there are slim pickings when talking about buyers out there?

If I were to guess I'd put the most credence on the first question. I think the Wii launch on Sunday signified that to me. Chances are good that Nintendo came out with 400k+ units yesterday and as far as I can tell all of them sold out. I think Nintendo will come out of this with a great holiday season, but much like the GameCube if there isn't much quality 3rd party support I don't see it selling very well going through next year. That is the major bump that Nintendo must overcome for the Wii to be a valid console this go around. I hope they learned from the ongoing N64 and GameCube sales failure.

Heck, even the New York Times has a scathing article about the PS3 today. It is worthy to note that some of the things he talks about the Xbox 360 having vs. the PS3 were not available at 360 launch. The key one I am thinking about is the multiple downloads section (the summer update added that) as well as component cables not being included in the Core system (he doesn't make a division between the Premium and Core 360s).

I did not pick up either system this weekend. I decided I didn't want to stand out in the cold again like I did last year. The PS3 is certainly going toward the "buying next year" category after some more quality games have come out and we know more about the exclusive games supposedly coming next year. Do not be surprised if previously exclusive games go multi-platform if the PS3 is a flop coming out of the holiday season. I will probably pick up a Wii at some point simply to play Zelda, although I may just hold off for the GameCube release. The Wii was certainly calling to me more than the PS3 this weekend honestly.

Also, if you have a 360 as well as a PS3 and you are thinking about getting some multi-platform games, do yourself a favor and stick with the 360 version. Every PS3 version so far has had problems: Call of Duty 3, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (has 1080p support) and Tony Hawk's Project 8 all have framerate slowdown. NBA 2K7 has major problems in 1080p resolution from my understanding. EA's games also have some graphical missteps when compared to their 360 counterpart as well. All in all, the ports have not gone over very well. This leaves you basically with one standout game (Resistance: Fall of Man) and two duds (Genji and Untold Legends) from Sony...whoops!

I can't wait for those numbers from NPD and see how Sony is going to spin them. You may also want to check out your local video game establishment since some people may be returning their PS3s because they didn't get the money they wanted from an eBay auction. Don't be surprised if there is some resupply at stores with unopened and returned units.