Tretton: Launch shortages biggest PS3 misstep

SCEA president discusses the Cell-powered system's first year on the market, accusations of arrogance.

The PlayStation 3 has seen its share of hiccups in its first year on the market, but one stands out above the rest for Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton. In a recent interview with MSNBC, Tretton zeroed in on the paucity of systems produced for the big launch.

"I don't think there's any question that there were missteps," Tretton said, "but I don't think anybody is being honest with you if they say that the first year of any platform goes perfectly according to plan. I think the biggest miss for us was the launch, in that we had easily a million consumers in North America alone that wanted to get their hands on a PS3 ...and we had roughly 200,000 units to take advantage of that demand."

Tretton called that shortage "the biggest disappointment" of the system's first year on the market, but noted that SCEA has learned from it. Specifically, Tretton said it was crucial for a console maker to be clear about their manufacturing capacity before they start telling people when the system will be available. Tretton also said he understands concerns about the system's price tag.

"I think we knew there would be pricing sensitivities and I think we've certainly seen that," Tretton said. "But I think the challenge of educating consumers on the technology is something that--I don't know that we underestimated, but it remains a formidable goal. The days of just, 'Here it is, here's what it costs, plug it in...and start playing' are over. There's a learning curve a consumer needs to go through before they make a decision on which platform to buy, and I think it's a lot more complicated than it was five, 10, 15 years ago."

MSNBC also brought up criticisms that Sony has been arrogant in its handling of the PS3, asking if the aforementioned "here it is, plug it in" approach could lead to that perception.

"I don't know that we were ever considered arrogant by consumers," Tretton said, adding, "I think the arrogant claims came from the press and bloggers more than true consumers. ... I think the arrogance claim comes with a leadership position and being unwilling to admit that you're failing. And anybody who's been through media training or been with the press isn't going to get on a soapbox and talk about their failures. If that gets construed as arrogance, then I guess that's a risk you have to take."

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361 comments
OMGitsZAL
OMGitsZAL

Why are some people saying SONY are arrogant? Tretton is speaking for the company, I doubt everyone in Sony are agreeing with what he says. I wouldn't be surprised if the head of Sony in Japan looks at his statement and shakes his head.

-Ronin-_basic
-Ronin-_basic

Some_one_plays If Wayne Gretzky says "I'm number one and if you want your team to win I should be on it playing". That would be arrogant because it's one indivitual talking about himself. A company is talking about a product they're selling it's called marketing. ------------------ If Wayne Gretzky were to say that, he would be advertising as well; his skills and service. The fact that it's one person in one case, and many people in another case doesn't change the self-righteous methods Sony have used. You say "every company is arrogant". I ask: how many times have we heard McDonald's say 'there's no competition in the fast food world; we're McDonald's, and people will pay any amount for our food". They're big and successful, but they're capable of promoting themselves without declaring superiority. They stick to the "this is what we have, this is what we just came out with" method; they don't throw in any lines about "and people WILL want this". Even in Nintendo's case, it's a different matter. They've claimed success multiple times in the past, but that's backed up by solid numbers; their inventory DOES sell out soon after hitting the shelf. Regardless, their comments hover around the "we're having trouble meeting the booming demand" (which is being proven to exist). They don't say "we could raise the price another $100, and people would still fight to get one". A company doesn't have to talk trash just to promote themselves. If their product is really that good, they just have to direct attention to it, and it'll do the talking for them.

MetalZombieII
MetalZombieII

The_Third_Place, Nope none at all... oh wait. Elveon Banjo-Kazooie 3 Dungeon Hero Castle Wolfenstein Huxley Alan Wake Left 4 Dead Prototype Fable 2 Theseis Infinite Undiscovery Splinter Cell: Conviction Halo Wars Ninja Gaiden 2 Too Human Marvel Universe Online Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Kingdom Under Fire Universe at War I could keep typing but my hand is cramping. On top of all of this + the games I didn't list, there are the Multi-Platform games, most of which will be better on 360, maybe not all, but most. I apologize for posting this in a PS3 topic, but I am sick of ignorant people.

MetalZombieII
MetalZombieII

FatherTimex, I apologize I looked back and you were quoting someone else, who had posted incorrect numbers, sorry. Anyway, any gamer worth his salt, would like to see Sony make it, because having all 3 companies thrive in the market mean more games and the competition means better games and better prices, so everyone who is trying so hard to defend Sony just stop they screwed up and rather than admit it they sugar coat it and put most of the blame on the press and bloggers. Just look at the Madden series if you want to see what lack of competition does. I hope Sony turns things around, but people need to stop defending them.

Dman4Life1217
Dman4Life1217

I'm sorry, but launch shortages? If there was such a shortage, how come you could easily walk into just about any major retailer and pick one up off the shelf. Why can't they just come out with the full truth, instead of half-assed excuses. How about just coming outright and saying "Hey, we misread the market. We thought people would be willing to pay up to 600 dollars for a console with a blu-ray player, like they paid a premium price at the time for an affordable DVD player when we launched the ps2." Also, the reasons the Ps3 isn't doing so well, is because of the games and cheaper alternatives that are also better in many people's eyes. There are no games on it that clearly distinguish it from the 360. The games that are exclusive to the ps3 at this point, aren't system sellers. They're very average and short games[with Uncharted being the best of the bunch]. Also Sony's PR and advertising has been abysmal and a detriment to the ps3. Those are the real factors the Ps3 hasn't been doing so well. Not System Shortages.

The_Third_Place
The_Third_Place

Lol at all the stupid 360 fans responding to this article. Fact is 360 has the games now and PS3 will have the games next year. 360 has no exclusive games coming next year to be excited about wile PS3 has! Owns: PS3, 360. Owned: Wii.

weaponmaster01
weaponmaster01

I'm just glad Sony is starting to figure it out. Already I see a price drop and a little more games being set on the line for the PS3. I'm still faithfully devoted to the 360. But seeing these changes so soon after the release of the PS3 could mean even more changes in the upcoming years. I'm planning on getting one eventually in a couple of years. Because I still think Sony is an awesome company. They just need to pull their heads out of there bums and start fixing their problems instead of retorting against the insults.

FatherTimex
FatherTimex

Some_one_plays: "That's called smack talking it's a company you have to understand that. Every company will say statements to make them look better when you look at the compitition." You realize that there's a difference between good PR, and smack-talking, right?

Some_One_Plays
Some_One_Plays

FatherTimex "Every company will stay they have the best product out there other wise they won't sell." Sony didn't just say their product was the best, they made obviously idiotic statements as though they were the second coming. Remember when they declared that they had already won the console war? Remember when they said that people would do whatever it took to buy their console? That kind of crap shows a disrespect for the consumers, essentially suggesting that we are mindless lemmings who'll take whatever we're given, and like it. Some_One_Plays: That's called smack talking it's a company you have to understand that. Every company will say statements to make them look better when you look at the compitition. Like for instance Microsoft will look at sales over the PlayStation 3. Sony will look at the future of what the gaming will look like and will be here before summer. Nintendo will say we're on top with sales yet won't mention the sale numbers of their games because they don't match (Halo 3 beat their game sales). You can say you don't like their marketing strategy but saying they're arrogant doesn't make sense. They're a company plain and simple. I'm done here if any of you gamers don't understand that's how companies do things I can't help you any further. This is my last comment about this. Just ask and adult in a company and they'll explain everything to you. Bye again.

FatherTimex
FatherTimex

"Every company will stay they have the best product out there other wise they won't sell." Sony didn't just say their product was the best, they made obviously idiotic statements as though they were the second coming. Remember when they declared that they had already won the console war? Remember when they said that people would do whatever it took to buy their console? That kind of crap shows a disrespect for the consumers, essentially suggesting that we are mindless lemmings who'll take whatever we're given, and like it.

Some_One_Plays
Some_One_Plays

-Ronin-_basic Some_One_Plays "Think of it like school teams you think yours is the best because YOU ARE ON IT." ------------------ Yes. But claiming your team's superiority multiple times is arrogant. Wayne Gretzky was an amazing hockey player. But he had the class to not TELL everyone, while simultaneously undercutting their accomplishments. Sony, on the other hand, has made several comments to the tune of "we're Sony, people will want what we offer". I'm sure you've seen them, if you honestly follow Sony as closely as you say; that people will voluntarily work more hours to afford one, that they'll buy one with no games, etc. Do you see the difference between a Wayne Gretzky success and a Sony success, or are you honestly that blinded by loyalty? Some_One_Plays: I can't believe I'm going to comment on this again but here it is. Sony is a comany selling a product Wayne Gretzky is a single individual. A company can sell a product and say "if you want a true experence in..." they can without being arrogant. If Wayne Gretzky says "I'm number one and if you want your team to win I should be on it playing". That would be arrogant because it's one indivitual talking about himself. A company is talking about a product they're selling it's called marketing. Every company will say they have the best product out there other wise they won't sell. So in other words every company is arrogant but it isn't considered that because it's expected. It's a company not a single individual talking about himself. Yet a single individual can represent a company. The real question is who's lying Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony? My opinion it's Microsoft to a point and Nintendo all the way. Do you understand now a company won't sell a product unless they think it's the best. Other wise it won't make sense. A better example: An informercial: work out equipment to get that better body. They aren't arrogant because they're selling a product so they'll say it's the best. They say that because they think it's the best with all the effort they put into it.

fr33_loader
fr33_loader

"I think the biggest miss for us was the launch, in that we had easily a million consumers in North America alone that wanted to get their hands on a PS3 ...and we had roughly 200,000 units to take advantage of that demand." ========================== Yup, you should have milked those early eager millions of people while they were still lost in the dark. Sony had like 2 weeks before consumers eventually found out and wised up . After reviews and hype settled down, the console was starting to pile up waiting in stores.

jameston80
jameston80

It's not the power of the system that sells the system...look at last gen, what was the most powerfull system? answer : Xbox but it did not have the games. PS2 won....this gen XBOX 360 has the games and is winning and of corse the Wii is winning too with it's games and mostly price. Sorry Sony, don't cry too hard. Sony did not want to admit failure, of corse not. No company wants to admit failure. So everybody go grab a ps3 to watch movies on, lol Cause you sure dont have the games, oh you will in two years from now, but hey I want to play games now, not two years from now.

condemned100
condemned100

Jack Tretton and Sony are Arrogant and too cocky. "Yeah all the good games are on the Xbox 360 Right NOW, But as soon as Game Developers figure out how to use the PS3's full Potential THEN you will buy the PS3 and every game for it"

bardkieran
bardkieran

"I don't know that we were ever considered arrogant by consumers," Really Jack? asking $600 for a console wasn't arrogant? Or how about "Its Playstation. People will buy it" ? Even us in the game industry saw it as blunt arrogance.

jimjam146
jimjam146

"Educate the consumers on the technology?" Is he kidding? Is he still playing the "our system has more power" card? If it doesn't translate into better games, who cares about raw power. He is saying "I know the 360 has all the games you want to play and they get better review scores and all, but our system is more powerful so you should buy it even though the games suck right now." I wish Sony would stop peddling that tired company line and show me just one exclusive game that justifies the purchase of their Blu-ray player. Even Unharted couldn't crack the 9 level on gamerankings.com. I'm sure the PS3 will get an exclusive "system seller" down the line, but one wonders whether it will be too little to late.

jeremiah06
jeremiah06

its funny how they removed my comment and that everything that's said good about the ps3 get like 10 thumbs down but everything bad about it get 10 thumbs up lol i guess all the ps3 owners are playing there game and the xbox owners are on here posting i guess this comment will get removed also

ctg867
ctg867

No, they made a mistake by not being able to hold onto games like Army of Two, Assassins Creed, Devil May Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto IV, and a number of others. They made a mistake by not supporting their online service as much in the first year as they needed to. They made a mistake by having a fractured SKU line up that had consoles at too high of prices for any normal person to be picking up. They also made a mistake by not getting PS3 development on par with 360 development in the first year, let alone getting games out on the same day as their 360 counterparts. They also made a mistake by not having a steady enough stream of exclusive and quality third party games in the first year. But taking a look at what's in store for us in the next year, and taking a look at everything that's out on the PS3 now, and at the price you can get one, I think it's totally justifiable to get a PS3. Matter of fact, I should be getting one not to shortly after Christmas. There are enough games, content, and features now, and coming soon that I feel justified purchasing one after getting my 360 last year. And I recommend that people do the same.

Autolycus
Autolycus

all our opinions and venting finally paid off. Sony did hear us. too bad they still arent changing anything.

FatherTimex
FatherTimex

"Hes saying yes people like you say hes arrogant but not NORMAL people, hes saying normal people don't think sony is arrogant, learn to read please" Uh.. we're not press or bloggers. We're normal people... Or do people who read gamespot not acount as normal people any more? Who exactly does he think his market is?

Loucetios
Loucetios

smith_quintin44 did you not read what he said? ""I don't know that we were ever considered arrogant by consumers," Tretton said, adding, "I think the arrogant claims came from the press and bloggers more than true consumers." Hes saying yes people like you say hes arrogant but not NORMAL people, hes saying normal people don't think sony is arrogant, learn to read please

smith_quintin44
smith_quintin44

"I don't know that we were ever considered arrogant by consumers," I guess Mr. Tretton never read any of my post or the thousands of other consumers who considered Sony (and their management and PR people) arrogant. Spin doctoring is one thing, but burying your head in the sand (or other places) does not make the problem go away. Also not admiting when you are wrong, begging forgiveness and changing your ways is not only a sign of arrogance but also a sign of stupidity. Nice try Tretton but for every step forward sony just jumps 5 steps back.

thekey
thekey

This is BS. The only 2 biggest missteps they made with the PS3 was that loud lunching price.($600) and the lack of great unique games. Even though i like the PS3 I see there still piling on the lies....

Disciple_Gamer
Disciple_Gamer

The shortage only lasted thru the thanksgiving holidays. After that 2 week stint there were plenty of ps3. The wii has a 52 week shortage and is killing the industry right now. The xbox 360 has the red ring of death and is killing the industry because it has something sony lacks, plenty of worthy games to play.

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

rockstar_88 "Even though the Wii is selling like crazy worldwide, its softwares sales aren't. I've noticed that on most top 10 sales lists, 360 titles dominate more than the Wii and PS3 counterparts (of course, PS2 and DS titles are the ones that still kick all of their butts)." It helps the 360 to have such a strong lead on software development, don't you think? Already the american and japanese charts are starting to have more Wii titles in the top 20, and that's a line that's going to continue slowly over the next year. I'd guess by next christmas there will be a virtual tie in software sales between the 360 and the Wii. What's fun is, after the one month of spike sales on the 40 gig PS3, the system sales have begun a massive plummet in japan. They beat the Wii by about 20,000 systems last month, and now they're down 30 percent, while Wii sales have spiked back up, and things are looking more normal again. Jack needs to remember that the PSP lite's one month spike sales on it's release didn't help to establish the kinds of sales that could actuall y last long enough to dent their opponents numbers, and now the same thing is happening with the 40 gig system.

DemannameD
DemannameD

Arrogance in a Japanese Company? Never... NOT. I don't know what consumer he has been talking to... Or if he never listened to the President of Sony talk about the PS3 prior to Launch, but saying just arrogant hardly described it.

FatherTimex
FatherTimex

"FatherTimex... You are way off" Uh.. says who? What exactly did I say, that you think is "way off"?

rockstar_88
rockstar_88

Even though the Wii is selling like crazy worldwide, its softwares sales aren't. I've noticed that on most top 10 sales lists, 360 titles dominate more than the Wii and PS3 counterparts (of course, PS2 and DS titles are the ones that still kick all of their butts).

MetalZombieII
MetalZombieII

Atrobasinnu... You are correct for the most part, the Wii has already past the 360 in Worldwide sales. FatherTimex... You are way off Worldwide sales Wii - 3.95M Japan 7.03M America 4.58M Others Total: 15.56M 360 - 0.51M Japan 9.18M America 4.45M Others Total: 14.14M PS3 - 1.48M Japan 2.75M America 2.50M Others Total: 6.73M

lamprey263
lamprey263

Well, a lot of people did make the PS3 somewhat rare during the holidays. They thought it'd be a demanded item, so they bought up all the PS3s off store shelves, then tried selling them on Ebay... then they all took them back after Christmas because nobody would buy it. If I remember correctly, so many people took them back after the holidays that quite a few articles were written about it.

hbxclo
hbxclo

Consumers are plenty educated about the PS3's hardware....Sony gravely miscalculated the demand for such hardware...and the lack of demand for that hardware, along with price sensitive consumers, has led to their less than impressive performance thus far. Price has proven to be a major competitive factor in this console war, and the PS3 has not been able to compete effectively on that end. The main component of the PS3 that's driving the price beyond what consumers are willing to pay is the blu-ray drive. The format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray is probably affecting the PS3 more than most people realize. Given the price of PS3, especially post price-cut, its a bargain as a Blu-ray player, and it seems Sony was banking a lot on this concept. However, the acceptance of Blu-ray (or HD-DVD) as a reliable alternative to DVD's is hindered significantly by the format war. Until the whole HD-DVD vs Blu-ray war irons itself out, most consumers will be unwilling to risk (yes it is a risk!) of investing hundreds of dollars in a HDDVD/Blu-ray player and movies. Because of this there is less demand for Blu-ray players and movies than Sony anticipated, and less justification for the PS3's price-point. The PS3 is failing as a gaming console, because of Sony's ambition to market it as an all-inclusive media console, which is priced as such. This may change in the future, however, once the format war finally stabilizes and either HD-DVD or Blu-ray claim market dominance, or the film industry supports both formats. Also, HD TV's flew off the shelves this holiday Christmas, and there will be greater demand for HD movies. If the format war tips in Blu-rays favor, than it will be a big up Sony. However if it tips in HD-DVD's favor or the stalemate continues, Sony may continue to have problems pushing PS3s.

hbxclo
hbxclo

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hbxclo
hbxclo

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

rob3nelson
rob3nelson

My God. What an arrogant idiot! There were plenty of PS3s at launch. The problem was that nobody wanted them because they were too expensive. Except for possibly the first couple of weeks, I don't remember any PS3 shortages. Does anybody else?

JBDragon
JBDragon

What PS3 shortage? On day 1, sure, after that though there was PS3's everywhere, and you can still find piles of them everywhere. I have yet to this day seen a Wii for sale in a store. They are always sold out. Where are they??? I still think of them as Wii Sports Players. The 360 was sold out for months. It's Impossible for the PS3 to ever catch up to the 360 or Wii. Far more games on the 360, lots of Exclusives, much better online, why buy a PS3 over a 360? If your a gamer, you go where all the great games are at. Maybe in a year or 2 the PS3 may be worth buying, but now? Why bother.

ivanfred
ivanfred

felshs: PS3 problem is the PRICE, not shortage or games. i have a PS3 and there are plenty of great games that i wanna play but i can only afford 1 game every 1 or 2 months. now i have elder scroll,resistance,eyes of judgement, Drakes, ninja gaiden, and lair. THere are plenty of games out there, but not plenty of cash in my pocket. i dont see games is ever an issues for PS3. ======================================== I agree. Games for PS3 and Xbox 360 are 60 bucks. The average consumer doesn't have money to buy 4 or 5 current-gen games at one time. Of course, it would not hurt to have a greater selection of quality games but that is going to take time to do.

LittleYoshi
LittleYoshi

The word xbox makes me laugh lol!!!!!

AngelsongCA
AngelsongCA

The biggest miss was not being able to sell more PS3's before the hype settled and reality set in? That's a little underhanded isn't it? If it were just a matter of supply then there were enough systems out there just a few months after launch. So basically he's saying Sony missed the hype train, where they could have sold lots more systems on hype alone. How about making a game system that consumers will just want because of what it has to offer, not because of pure hype? Then it wont need launch hype to sell. He's saying there's nothing wrong with the price of PS3, consumers just need to know how much technology is worth. But, what he doesn't understand is If people don't have the money or don't see a form of entertainment as worth that high of a price, it doesn't matter how much value a system offers, they wont buy it. He's right about how not acknowledging failures, performance lows, and acting like they can do no wrong even while doing the worst, can be seen as arrogant. That is better then them saying they've failed and are doing poorly, which would be far more devastating to Sony. Still it's sad that Sony's vision seems to be so narrow as to why PS3 hasn't done so well. There isn't any one factor that is to blame, it is actually more than 10 factors all taken together at once that are to blame. If Sony doesn't know they have a problem, how can they fix it?

shroom76
shroom76

it an uphill battle when your system costs the most, because for most people unfortunately thats all that matters.

EsYuGee
EsYuGee

-Ronin-_basic: Fantastic comment, man. Well said. You were eloquent enough so I need not rephrase your comments, but constructive rebuttals (by all 3 console supporters) are much more fun and worthwhile than needless bashing.

autobotsx
autobotsx

LOL PS3 its not plug and play so what ? Its not hard to use a ps3 lol. They have info on the box for consumers that dont know what it can do. Its not like some high-technological super computer or something.

-Ronin-_basic
-Ronin-_basic

black_awpN1 Wow, big surprise. Nothing but 360 fanboys responding. ------------------- I don't mean to pick on you, but this line really illustrates the point I'm about to make. Nothing personal. Am I the only one that's noticed the several comments dismissing the critical posts as "fanboy comments" make very little effort (if any) to offer a rebuttal? - Tretton addresses the "arrogant" accusations, and explains what he thought was the biggest problem with the launch. - Many people point out the various instances of "arrogance", and highlight several other problems they've faced. - Rather than defend Tretton or offer a rebuttal to the suggested problems, the vast majority of Sony faithful either dismiss the (perfectly valid) criticisms as "fanboy hate", or mention how the PS3 is "worth it", on account of all the technology you're getting for the price tag. I've seen this phenomenon in articles for all of the 'big 3' companies, but it seems the most prominent for Sony. That is, people seem the least willing to discuss without dismissing, misdirecting, or simply calling someone poor for not having one (even if they never wanted one). That's why fanboy flame wars get started. No one seems willing to talk.

blackace
blackace

There were no real shortages for the PS3 in the U.S. If there was it may have lasted all of 3 weeks. There were still plenty of PS3 on retail shelves on Christmas Eve, so I'm not sure what Tretton is talking about. After the new years Ebayers were returning PS3 back to Toys R Us, Gamestop, EBGames and Wal-Mart by the truck load because they couldn't sell them on Ebay for a profit. How soon people forget. --> http://kotaku.com/gaming/ps3/some-scalpers-give-up-return-ps3s-to-stores-224386.php Then we had many stores putting up signs on their doors stating that there were overstock of PS3 available for purchase. That's the first time I've ever seen any store do that for a game console. Remember this? -----> http://www.gwn.com/articles/article.php/id/850/title/PlayStation_3_Supply_Surpasses_Demand.html Maybe Tretton needs to take a look at these links as a reminder.

xd3usx
xd3usx

Panasonic Blu-Ray player: $499 -- Playstation 3 w/ Blu-Ray player, SuperAudio CD, WiFi, DVD upscalling, Hard Drive, Flash Card slots, and I'm told it'll play games too..: $499 --- I bought my PS3 to watch Blu-Rays and show family and friends pictures on my TV rather than crowding around a computer monitor. When GTA4 or MGS4 come out, then I'll pick up the gaming controller. Until then, it's still a good deal for what it does already.

RFOM
RFOM

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

rockstar_88
rockstar_88

I'm sorry but I've lost all faith in this man. Until they fire him and give a more honest, no-BS president his position, Jack Tretton will continue to be that man that never realizes he always will have a dunce hat on his head when he walks in public.

black_awpN1
black_awpN1

Wow, big surprise. Nothing but 360 fanboys responding.

MADDjoe
MADDjoe

Ha what a joke! There mis-step was not not having enough systems at launch. It was...wooo..."wipes head"...adding blu-ray player to a system that wont even use the full capacity of it for another 4 to 5 years, not having enough good games at launch, not having up-scaling of games to 1080i, having an over priced system, having horrible blue-tooth drivers that disconnect your controllers at terrible times, giving us a horrible controller that is in desperate need of upgrade with the worst motion sensor in it, putting card readers on it that gamers wont use, putting out 4 version of the same system in one year, but over all the biggest mistake was losing 3rd party support for a system because you used a processor that nobody knows how to program for....wooo.... Thats why PS3 launch year and most likely until PS4 comes out will be 3rd place. PS3= Gamecube status. Welcome to the bottom of the console list sony, please take a seat here were nintendo sat for 2 console it's nice and warm. Nintendo please move to the front of the line, and congratulations.