Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is the global (well, mostly US) leader when it comes to current gen consoles. It’s been the top selling console in the Us for the last 15 or so weeks and is, by any measure, a success.
Former president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division Robbie Bach believes Sony’s poor handling of the transition between the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 is a large part of that success.
“Some of the success of Xbox was due to the fact that Sony did some really not so smart things,” he suggested while speaking at the Northwest Entrepreneur Network. “They mismanaged their 70 percent market share. It’s a long conversation. The transition to PlayStation 3 was really, really bad. And really hard. They mismanaged their partners, they mismanaged their cost structure. They made their next platform so complicated that developers couldn’t develop for it.”
Another aspect he believes helped, other than the year head start, of course is that Microsoft successfully managed to forge partnerships with EA and Activision.
“When you’re doing a startup, you need friends,” Bach said. “It’s just the way life works. It turned out we were able to convince retailers and publishers like Activision, Electronic Arts and others, that it was a good thing for Microsoft to be successful, because if we were not successful, the only game in town was Sony. Being dependent on somebody else was bad for them, and so they supported us disproportionately to what they should have, mathematically.”
I’m inclined to agree with Bach here. With the momentum of the ubiquitous PlayStation 2, Sony should have steamrolled their way to victory, but their arrogance at the beginning of this gen (Get a second job, slackers!), their initial unwillingness to court 3rd parties and secure exclusives and their bizarre marketing campains (THIS IS LIVING!) certainly didn’t help win them any favours with gamers. It got better with the departure of Ken Katarugi, and there’s nobody who could honestly say that the PlayStation 3 is hurting for exclusives (in fact, that shoe’s now on the competitor’s foot) – but there’s also no denying that had Sony managed the transition to this generation better, they’d be in a much more favourable position.
Last Updated: May 15, 2012