Nolan Bushnell disses PS3, Sony

Atari founder tells <i>Red Herring</i> that he thinks Sony has "shot themselves in the foot" and is "arrogant and capricious."

Hot on the heels of a profit nosedive and a slashing of Japanese PlayStation 3 launch numbers, Sony has been dealt another blow--a thumbs-down from gaming guru Nolan Bushnell.

The industry veteran, who founded Atari back in 1971 along with Ted Dabney, has given Red Herring his personal opinion on the way the next-gen console war will play out. He's "curious" about the Wii, likes the Xbox 360, and has a few choice words to say about the PlayStation 3.

Bushnell called Sony "arrogant and capricious" in the interview. "I think Sony shot themselves in the foot... There is a high probability [the PS3] will fail. The price point is probably unsustainable," he said, referring to the $499 and $599 sticker prices of the system. "For years and years Sony has been a very difficult company to deal with from a developer standpoint... They have also historically had horrible software tools."

Other points of interest from the interview included his statement that Atari was now a shadow of its former self, and had no "meaningful" part in today's gaming world. The Atari name, once synonymous with the revolution in home gaming, was adopted by French company Infogrames in 2003.

Bushnell has founded more than 20 different companies throughout his career, and his latest business venture is the uWink Media Bistro in Woodland Hills, California, a restaurant where you can play video games at your table.

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Discussion

695 comments
Cereo1
Cereo1

@Jondommy Business isn't luck? Are you joking me? There is TONS of luck is business. Most CEOs I ever talked to say they got where they were with hard work and some luck. If luck wasn't involved, EVERY good business man would make millions of dollars and that just isn't the case at all. As for complaining about lineups, it's an irrelevant argument since it's all opinions. You say Resistance is COD2 with monster, I'll say Halo is completely average and overrated, and we go on and on. Doesn't get us anywhere.

chimpanchu
chimpanchu

PS3 got more powerful hardware and capable to do more than other consoles in the market today. Asking to lower PS3 price to the price of 360 is like asking to lower the price of Mercedes Benz to the price level of Toyota.

skyline7284
skyline7284

Wow seems like the guy was right, even 2 years later

mad4gamez
mad4gamez

Who cares, it's only an opinion. I do agree with Sony being arrogant and capricious though, certainly capricious. If they had their way with the Music industry, they'd still be using compromising software of their CD's right now. Regardless, I can't help but respect Sony for their outstanding reprutation in the electronics industry. They are clearly a leader. And this all from an Xbox 360 owner.

gizmo_logix
gizmo_logix

Nolan Bushnell says "Waaaaaaaahhhhh! Boo hooo!!!!!" LOL!

living420
living420

ya thats a wicked idea, Id love to play a video game over a beer. Halo 3, woman and Corona. sweet...

Atter0520
Atter0520

Now, what do you think the generation of consoles after these will be like? I imagine they will be building of the successful formula that Nintendo had right a whole generation before its competitors. Actually, wait, isn't that exactly whats been happening these past years? Directional pad-->Analog Stick--> Free Motion? Nintendo is the leader of innovation in the console gaming industry, why waste your money on other companies that have their values all wrong?

eyet00th
eyet00th

I want to play videogames at my favorite restaurant, too!

_Uchiha_Obito_
_Uchiha_Obito_

To Jondommy: You know there might be a chance that the money they earn from the wii won't be the USA's?I mean Nintendo is a japanese company, not North american.Just sayin.

_Sam_
_Sam_

Sony is loosing money on the ps3 already. Having a lower price would just hurt them more right now, IMO

ChaotikZero1
ChaotikZero1

Show respect for the man, Hes right. The only people i hear complaining about this is Sony Fanboys...

Jondommy
Jondommy

SIG45 I don't want any system to fail. Competetion is good for the economy and so it is good for me, however much of a bit-part it is. I don't think anyone would say anything if the PS3 were to cost as much as the Xbox 360 did at launch. As for its lauch titles, they are actually great: Ridge Racer 7, Resistance: Fall of Man, and F.E.A.R. The Xbox 360 didn't have titles like these at lauch at all. ___________________________________________________________ lol @ ridge racer R:FOM = COD2 with monsters F.E.A.R. = great game, but it's very old news and most people who want to play it have. The 360 had COD2 and Kong at launch, both of which destroy your lineup... and Olthof, got lucky? Business isn't luck. Without this guy games wouldn't be where they are now, gamers should show respect or at least be greatful.

olthof
olthof

serious who cares what some random that got lucky with a company has to say............ but its true either way

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

How do you take a failure seriously?

herbertfkj
herbertfkj

Q: What about Sony’s PlayStation 3 Strategy? A: I think Sony shot themselves in the foot… there is a high probability [they] will fail. The price point is probably unsustainable. 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. wonderful. now he's comparing the ps2's horrible developer tools with the x360's wonderful ones and their xbox live. i wonder which one came out first and later. so by induction, he means the ps3's devt tools will suck as well. that's ... some induction.

tuffj68
tuffj68

Force_Gump wrote: I have a question. Is it worth buying a PS3 without an HDTV or plasma thats 1080i? -No it isn't, unless some hardcore Sony fans are really that desperate.

Regginator14520
Regginator14520

Sony is "arrogant and capricious" Especially after releasing the PSP with many flaws instead of fixing them and then proceding to sell it for $250. I can only expect the PS3 to follow the same footsteps, expect flaws for $600.

Force_Gump
Force_Gump

I have a question. Is it worth buying a PS3 without an HDTV or plasma thats 1080i?

freakykidd
freakykidd

This is all because of those horrendous price tags. They'll profit at some point, but they'll have trouble keeping their position in the gaming world before that happens...

SIG45
SIG45

I don't want any system to fail. Competetion is good for the economy and so it is good for me, however much of a bit-part it is. I don't think anyone would say anything if the PS3 were to cost as much as the Xbox 360 did at launch. As for its lauch titles, they are actually great: Ridge Racer 7, Resistance: Fall of Man, and F.E.A.R. The Xbox 360 didn't have titles like these at lauch at all.

LoWpS
LoWpS

as much as id love for sony to flunk this gen, i seriously doubt they will. the playstation brand is just too strong. Even a high price tag and a lousy game launch (both in amount of PS3s and mediocre games) cant wipe it out. itll take at least two to three gens of big, fat mistakes on sonys part for the Playstation name to fall. doubt itll happen.

ryan191919
ryan191919

Bushnell's right about the tools. It makes sense, too. Sony is primarily a hardware company (TVs, Walkmen, Playstations). Software has never been their priority. Microsoft is primarily a software company (OSs, Applications, ISP). The last 10 years or so MS has been pushing hardware more, like mouse and keyboards, then the Xbox and 360. It is generally agreed in the industry that the Sony hardware has more ultimate potential than the MS hardware for this generation. To me the best part of the 360 is the software behind it--Xbox Live with its gamertag information, achievements, rich presence, and auto-blogging my playtime on the web. That has changed the way I approach a lot of games. Sony may ultimately have better looking games, but only the absolute best developers will be able to achieve it--and it may be 2-3 years before we even see something better than the best 360 stuff. By that time, we'll be talking about Xbox 720 or 1080.

vjso2
vjso2

Sony needs more heat. As long as we keep pressing, Sony will eventually budge. Then prices will drop, and Sony will make profit.

nintendoAndrew
nintendoAndrew

I believe that all the systems will do well. Just Wii will win, Xbox 360 will 2nd, and PS3 in a very close third. Sony will lose cause of thier stealing and high prices and low shipment deals with America. The country that did thier best selling.

XGustaX
XGustaX

Biased Dont really think some people here act like this is the first time they EVER heard something like this about the PS3. Newflash its not Sony has shot them selves in the foot this time.

bart8558
bart8558

A biased opinion of one veteran... big whoop, but still ouch sony!

ringbling
ringbling

I think his opinion that the sony software tools used for development is wrong. The PS2 was known for the difficulties developers had with learning it, but once they got it down they brought out some absolutely killer games. The PS3 supposedly has an easier set of tools, so worst case scenario is it'll be the same hurdle for programming that PS2 had. Sounds to me that Bushnell has something personal against Sony and is just trying to use his reputation to make his claims credible.

Autolycus
Autolycus

you cant look @ past history in the video game business to try and predict. Just because 3D0 failed(which was because of price) and Saturn failed(because everybody was copying games) doesnt mean PS3 is going to fail for those reason. It will fail(or at least take 3rd) because of the price and becuse of the lack of quality going into the system. You might not think 3rd is a bad place to be in, but when you cant get the sales for your product you just dont create games for that system(nintendo gamecube anybody?). Third is a very scary place in the industry and now more then ever, companies are just making games to make profit. Not to please gamers. They know that if they get a franchise they can release the same crap and people will buy it(look @ ea, or all teh different FPS'ers out there). Might I add that I had 3D0 and i loved it...

MyBrainIsStew
MyBrainIsStew

sentay0: "OMG! I wish they had restaurants like that here in the U.S." they do have them here in the U.S. its in woodland hills, California

sentay0
sentay0

OMG! I wish they had restaurants like that here in the U.S.

cowboywayne
cowboywayne

I was at my local EB games on Oct 25. I asked about the their PS3 and Wii pre-order program and how it went. The manager said that they sold out the wiis on the first day! On top of that he said he still had one ps3 left. I asked him "whats up with that?" he said "no one wants it " he keeps telling pple "you know I still got one PS3 left" and they are like "nah, i dont think so". interesting? I think so.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Sony has hit a lot of bumps on the road to the next-gen, but anyone that thinks the PS3 will fail is severely kidding themselves.

spawnx28
spawnx28

why can we for once support an american product ? all these fan boys talking how good p$3 is and they havent played the dam system yet.

Omnisugarius
Omnisugarius

Before we say the death of a system before it comes out, we should wait and see. Everyone said that the Dreamcast will lead the 128-bit era of gaming consoles... yeah that didn't work out. And everyone said the Nintendo DS would fail.... well unless the numbers are lying, I'd say that was wrong. Everyone said the PSP was going to wipe the floor with the DS, well... maybe in some areas, but not where it counts, sales. Everyone said the XBox was going to flop... Well its hear for the 256- bit era. Even Sony faced the, "Its going to fail" period with the first Playstation. This is a waiting game. We just have to wait and see, although it's more fun to bash now, but if you're wrong, you're an idiot for speaking! Let's just wait this through and stop the hatred towards all systems!

d-suhiti
d-suhiti

He is actually correct. PS3 FAIL FTW

spelledarn
spelledarn

I wonder where this theme of ranting about Sony being "arrogant" comes from. They're a huge company making products for millions of people across the world, and through the last two generations of gaming they wiped the floor with Nintendo, Sega, and Microsoft, as well as numerous smaller companies. Then they go out with a new product (might suck, might rock) and say it's the best thing ever. Damn right. What would YOU say? Ayn Rand would have had a field day with all this whining about corporate "arrogance". Jim Taggert would probably chime in.

Talgrath
Talgrath

Yeah...Bushnell knows a lot about failing; we should really pay attention here folks. Nah, don't really care about what this guy thinks; the numbers will talk and we'll see who sells what and how many; sounds to me like Bushnell just has a chip on his shoulder.

konel01
konel01

i hope the ps3 doesn't fail. mostly becuz i don't want to buy an 360. i'm not fanboy. this year the only system i'm buying is a wii. i'll get my sony kicks with my ps2. most of the the best 360 i can still get on ps2. sony still has the best exclusives outside of nintendo's first party games. Metal Gear and Final Fantasy XII to name few. those games are at least a year away. just around the time i'll will finally pick a ps3 up. truth be told ps3 WILL SELL OUT this coming Christmas. It will sell just becuz of the Name! sony has done nothing but rip of Nintendo and other company's for years, but they've done a good job at it. until Konami, Square and the big publishers move on the other systems, i'll be playing a playstation. I'm not a fanboy. I go where the games are.

kenerhai
kenerhai

Bushnell may have no room to talk, but it dosnt mean hes not right. but the bottom line is sony has overshot their mark, turned out half their fanbase, talked up the ps3 when no one was listening, and still think they can sell a subpar peice of crap, just because of the name Sony. And im not saying the 360 is any better. Marketplace is a joke, the 360 is known for its red lights of death, and most of the games are just xbox or ps2 games. but the fact that its cheaper, has more american appeal, and has a head start (and dont even start with the dreamcast bull, that thing just didnt have enough support from developers). Sony has ripped off the wii controller and is basing their online service on xbox live. most of the games on the ps3 are already on 360 anyway. and sony must be on drugs to think that a dvd format that costs a grand to support will be the next big thing. people are having a hard enough time getting used to hd. so people are just gonna up and switch to a whole new format? yea. right. most blueray costs a grand, so your getting a sub par cheap blue ray player that, oh yea, by the way can play a few games that you might have seen on other consoles. and their already having problems with em, i wouldnt be suprised if day one, people hook up a ps3 and it dosnt work. not to mention sony will be the only company making blue ray dvds. theyve lost almost all exlusive games, theyve done nothing to innovate or push creative boundaries, but you fan boys dont care. youll go out and drop a grand and in a month still be sitting in front of it like the baby in the comercial, crying wondering just why did you buy it in the first place?

kenerhai
kenerhai

aww dont bad mouth ps3 fanboys, they might report you to gamespot moderators.

UmonDaisuke
UmonDaisuke

Now will you be my friend UmonDaisuke?! Lol Sure :P Anyway, you should really know that as far as development costs go in general, the PS3 and 360 are comparable particularly if middleware is used (and it is quite popular now with many titles pushing U3). Even Capcom has a framework engine that's powering games from Dead Rising to RE5. It is harder generally on the PS3, but the R&D is comparable. It's about high level art, audio etc.. all those add up. Sony's first party in Japan for example is offering lower prices for PS3 titles than even their typical PS2 pricing.. talk about unfair (lower console price there too as you may know). Photo-realism is about CONTENT not resolution. Resolution is simply how well can you recognize the photo-realism. Well put, and I meant just that. 480i is 640X480 though.