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Nintendo & Microsoft Gang Up On Sony

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-22

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There's a lot of grandstanding going on in the game console industry. Nintendo brags about its history of innovation; Microsoft is smug about its lead over the competition; and Sony says its rep alone will carry PS3. But Sony may be surprised to learn its chief rivals are holding hands and shouting things like "thief!" and "loser!"

Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto takes the Japanese habit of non-confrontation to a whole new level as his guarded remarks come in stark contrast to Nintendo UK-head David Yarnton's. At issue was Sony's apparent copying of Nintendo's motion-tracking controllers. Miyamoto took it as a pat on the back.

"It's kind of what always seems to happen," he said. "But the fact that they looked at what we were doing and decided it was a good path is kind of flattering; it kind of reinforces in our minds that we're doing the right thing."

Yarnton was less forgiving, pitting Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide president Phil Harrison's own words against him.

"I'd love to dig up some old Phil Harrison comments and say 'hang on a second - six months ago when we launched our controller you said one thing, and now why are you doing this?'" said Yarnton. "I don't know what their decision making process is but I think if you look back, any innovation that has come in gameplay has come from us."

For a little salt in the wound, Yarnton was sure to mention Sony's troubles with Immersion, who filed suit to block Sony's use of its "haptic" (rumble) technology in their controllers. Sony pulled the feature from its PS3 controllers and is appealing a $90 million judgment in favor of Immersion.

Meanwhile, a Microsoft VP joins the dogpile on Sony by suggesting gamers buy both Xbox 360 and Nintendo's upcoming Wii console to show Sony where to stick their overpriced one.

"Tell me why you would buy a $600 PS3?" asked Microsoft's Peter Moore. "People are going to buy two (machines.) They're going to buy an Xbox and they're going to buy a Wii ... for the price of one PS3."

Phil Harrison agreed, sort of - in a "I know you are but what am I?" kind of way.

"I think Peter Moore is exactly right. I think Nintendo will be the second system consumers purchase after PlayStation 3."

Microsoft predicts that Xbox 360 will have a 10-million console lead on Sony by the time it can launch PS3, which was all part of the plan. "We have 100 percent market share of the next-generation, and their job is to take that from us," said Moore. Microsoft didn't mention the disappointing sales of the 360 in Japan, where gamers are leaving it on the shelf even in favor of Nintendo's Game Cube.

The high level of smug surrounding Redmond, Washington, is only matched by the smug levels circling Sony's headquarters. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe CEO David Reeves predicts that Sony will cut Microsoft's lead in half with both hands tied behind its back.

"We have built up a certain brand equity over time since the launch of PlayStation in 1995 and PS2 in 2000," said Reeves, "that the first five million are going to buy it, whatever it is, even [if] it didn't have games."

Five million, even if it didn't have games.

One thing's for certain, after all the chest pounding, the consumers will make the ultimate decision in gaming consoles. Until then, it looks like Sony will be on the defensive as its two chief rivals tag in and out of the ring. And PS3 better be one amazing product after all that talk.


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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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