Sony CEO Howard Stringer caused a bit of a stir over the weekend when telling Smarthouse that if the PS3 failed, it would be because the console was positioned “as a premium Mercedes.” Many viewed the statement as a sign of strategic doubt (or economical acknowledgment) behind the PlayStation’s unprecedented $600 purchase price. So what exactly was Stringer trying to communicate? GigaGamez speaks with Sony’s director of corporate communications, Dave Karraker, to try and clear things up.
Giga: At what point in time and how was it decided that the PS3 should be positioned as a premium Mercedes?
Dave Karraker: “Sir Howard Stringer’s comments recently were a metaphor referring to the horsepower of PS3 and the allure it has among those in the gaming world. We have always referred to PS3 as being the most technically advanced computer entertainment device available, and the reference fits with the way we see PS3 now, as well as how it is positioned in the future. Our goal is to support the long term strategy for PS3 with a ten year lifecycle supported by innovative, cutting-edge content and products, which is not dissimilar to Mercedes’s goal.”
Giga: What research justified the decision given PS2’s “blue collar” or “any man” success?
DK: “At the time PS2 launched, it was also the most advanced console available and we referred to it as a top of the line entertainment experience — no different than PS3. That technologically advanced design created the allure, and subsequent demand, that led to it becoming a mass market device. This has been the natural adoption curve for all our products.”
Does anyone really believe the PS2 was also positioned as a Mercedes of consoles like it’s fledgling younger brother? The former cost half as much, used a lesser processor, and featured affordable DVD technology at the time. The PS2 sold a whopping 115 million
cars units making it the best selling console ever. A Toyota or Honda, maybe. But not a Mercedes.
Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Karraker!