Sony’s approach to their PlayStation Network outage has been criticized by customers, developers, publishers and even U.S. Senators because of their incompetence and unwillingness to disclose any information. However, when it comes to good news, they can’t wait to put it out.
Responding to the NDP’s recent console sales information, where it was reported that console sales were up across the board, SCEA’s Patrick Seybold put out a statement celebrating the 13% growth in sales the console has seen from April of ’10 to April of ’11.
“NPD reported that the PlayStation 3 continues to see double-digit hardware growth. PS3 hardware sales are up nearly 13% and our PS3 software sales showed a 40% increase year-over-year. We continue to see a lot of great momentum at the retail level, and appreciate the support we’ve received from our partners, retailers and customers since the criminal attack on the PlayStation Network. We hope to have services restored as soon as we can.”
This comes a day after Sony’s letter to publishers was leaked to IndustryGamers. In it, Sony effectively rehashed what they had already told the public regarding the data breach, and stated that they are working to get the service up as soon as possible. There is no mention in the letter about compensation for publishers affected, some of whom are reporting losses in the thousands.
The PlayStation Network outage has been ongoing since April 20th. Patrick Seybold stated earlier this week that they had no definitive date set for the system coming back up, but hoped for it to be up “within a few days”.
Analysis: If I was a publisher, I’d be fuming. “You guys can’t tell us what’s up, or how we’re going to make our money back, but you can crow because consumers are buying your systems!?” Of course, the next thing I would say is “that’s OK, because Microsoft hasn’t cost us any money lately, I’ll just talk to them instead.” It’s hard to really quantify publisher anger for this generation, because the PS3 is so established. However, we’re going to see the lack of trust manifest itself with future Sony consoles, be it the NGP or their next HD console, or what have you. Those aren’t established, and if publishers decide to abandon that ship for whatever reason – either Sony’s tone-deaf approach to handling them, or just because they feel that in the NGP’s case, the top-end handheld market is dying at the hand of mobile gaming – it’s going to hurt them, and badly. Especially when them seemingly more concerned with spinning NDP data – data that is actually bad news, because Microsoft’s sales are up 60% from that point in time – than they are with dealing with publishers that can’t afford to lose a couple of billion dollars like Sony can.
I think the consequences for things like this won’t be seen for at least a year, but they’re going to be there. Gamers are ultimately irrelevant; they’re sheep, and Sony is the shepherd. All it takes is for one big release to come out and they’ll come clamouring back. The publishers, on the other hand, have to be taken care of, and right now, there’s no indication that they are. Without them, you don’t have any big hits outside of a few first-party titles, and though Sony has an impressive lineup of first-party IPs, that’s just not enough. Just ask Sega.