Sony PlayStation 3 Will Fail – Ex-Atari Chief

Atari Founder Trashes Sony’s PlayStation 3

by Anton Shilov
11/10/2006 | 11:55 AM

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari company, said in an interview that Sony’s PlayStation 3 would not become a massive success due to price of the console itself as well as issues with game development for the PlayStation 3 gaming machine. The man, who was standing at the beginning of the video game era, also says that games should become simpler to tap larger audiences.


“I think Sony shot themselves in the foot… there is a high probability [they] will fail. The price point is probably unsustainable,” Mr. Bushnell said in an interview with Red Herring magazine.

In addition to the high price of the console, which is either $499 for a basic unit or $599 for an advanced version, Mr. Bushnell believes that difficulties with game development for the PlayStation 3 game console will eventually result into lower amount of titles for the PS3 compared to the Xbox 360.

“For years and years Sony has been a very difficult company to deal with from a developer standpoint. They could get away with their arrogance and capriciousness because they had an installed base. They have also historically had horrible software tools. You compare that to the Xbox 360 with really great authoring tools [and] additional revenue streams from Xbox live. A first party developer would be an idiot to develop for Sony first and not the 360. People don’t buy hardware, they buy software,” he said.

When asked about why the PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 game consoles became so popular in the last few years, Mr. Bushnell said it was just a coincidence and no more than 300 thousand of users would adopt the PlayStation 3 in the U.S.

“It wasn’t anything brilliant that they did. With the PS and PS2 it was timing. They had the right pricing at the right time [and were] almost the accidental winner. It would not surprise me if a year from now they’ll be struggling to sell 1 million units. [Factoring in the PS3’s price], I think in the U.S. the number of early adopters you have is actually around 300 000,” Mr. Bushnell said.

The main problem of today’s games, believes ex-Atari chief is complexity of gaming, loads of violence amid some other issues. Nevertheless, he did not point out how many games does a casual gamer and hardcore acquire per year in well-developed countries.

“There was no real venue for social games. Games got violent in the mid 1980s… that lost women. Then they got long-form and complex. That lost the casual gamer,” he said.

Sony PlayStation 3 is scheduled to debut on the 11th of November in Japan and on the 17th in the U.S. European debut of the gaming machine has been delayed to March, 2007.