It was no secret that the PlayStation 3 didn’t get off to as quick of a start as Sony may have liked, and now that the console seems to have come into its own, it seems to be OK to admit that, even if you’re a Sony big shot. Speaking during Wall Street Journal’s recent technology and media conference, Sony Chairman Howard Stringer used words like “life support” and “mildly catastrophic” when describing the PS3’s launch statistics. He also admits that Blu-ray was a gamble that absolutely had to pay off in order for him to save face, “Had I lost that war, the headline would have been, not that HD-DVD won, but that [Blu-ray] was Betamax 2,” he continues, “That would have been on my tombstone.” And he’s probably right, since Betamax fell on its face, formats have always been rather hit-or-miss with Sony (UMD anyone?).
I think that everyone who was following the events already knew that the format war was a do-or-die scenario for Sony this time around, but it’s actually rather refreshing to hear Stringer come clean on his own. He also addressed the concern of many Blu-ray supporters that digital distribution would make the format obsolete in the near future. Citing that the quality of digital downloads won’t reach Blu-ray level for at least ten years, and by that time the format would be strong enough to sustain itself as a viable means of distribution even if some consumers decide to go the digital route.
He closed out his commentary on the PlayStation 3 by saying that upcoming titles will be “spectacular” and will utilize the “full capacity” of the system. I certainly hope so, because nobody is buying a shiny new PS3 to play a miss like HAZE.