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October 6, 2000

Sony's woes.

Sony's woes have only just begun for the Christmas retail season, and both Nintendo and Sega are waiting in the wings to try and capitalize on it. Evidenced by Nintendo's choice to release the new Zelda game on the exact same day of the PS2's release, or more clearly by comments from staff at Sega who have joyfully announced that they have been back stocking a tremendous amount of Dreamcast systems that they will flood into the market starting at the end of this month, hoping to capitalize on disgruntled customers who can not get a PS2. And for the people who do get their PS2s, word just came down from Toys'R'Us today that they are canceling pre-orders on Grand Turismo 2000 because the shipment date has now slipped to February 1st, 2001 at the earliest!

Let's face it, unless you work at K-Mart, or one of the other retail chains that let's staff take first buy at store inventory, if you didn't pre-order your PS2 by last spring and pay it completely off already, you better not be surprised when you don't get a machine on the 26th.

So what really happened??? Sony has said they are experiencing a shortage of some "component", which is in turn causing them to cut the initial PS2 shipment from 1,000,000 to 500,000... and that they will be shipping 100,000 units a week through the rest of the year in order to try and fill demand. As for what these "components" are, there are two big rumors going around right now. The first is that there is no shortage and that Sony is doing this to increase demand for their system. Ok, can I say that this is the most stupid-ass assumption I've ever heard. Sony has pre-sold close to two million systems already, if not more, in the US alone. Any retailer who is taking pre-orders is sold out until the third production run of the system next year at the earliest. The idea behind increasing demand is that you do this when you're sales are going to be lower than you would like, or you want to increase appeal of the item... Sony was already going for the later by only shipping one million units at launch.

The other popular idea is that Sony has somehow changed the US release of the PS2 at the hardware level to account for the DVD problems that occurred in the Japanese release. This speculation began because Sony apparently has hogged the market on a particular chip that is used in DVD players. Let me say this. That's stupid as well, I have friends who develop on the PS2, and if some critical element involved with reading a DVD had changed, they would know. ...and besides, the problems in Japan had nothing to do with the hardware. It had everything to do with the drivers for the hardware, which I would imagine have been fixed. Besides, has anyone here forgot that Sony also sells about a billion other consumer appliances, anyone of which might need DVD capabilities? Oh... geee... you forgot about that. Or atleast the twelve year old morons over at Daily Radar have.

So, what do I think the reason for the delay is? Well, apparently Sony called a number of developers just prior to their announcement of cutting the first shipment, and demanded that every single DualShock 2 controller that had come from their Korean manufacturing facility be send back to Sony that day. Period. Apparently the controllers have a number of problems and have been breaking when in the hands of the developers. These are the very same controllers that were to be shipped with PS2s for their US launch... So,what do you think is more plausible, in order to ship 100,000 units a week, do you think Sony is manufacturing PS2s with some special DVD chip added, and building 100,000 a week, or do you think Sony is manufacturing 100,000 new controllers a week to stuff into the boxes of already waiting systems?

...and why was Sony so hot to get all of these controllers back in their hands before they made their announcement of cutting their shipment?

Hmmm.... it kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?


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