Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is Sony Becoming the Next Sega?

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As many tech journalists and bloggers lament the difficulties that Sony is having with the Playstation 3, echos from another console game maker that stuggled and floundered can easily be heard. Just before the original Playstation hit the market, Sega brought out the Saturn in hope that they would be able to move their base of Genesis playing users into the 32 bit world in the mid 1990's

At 399 dollars, about the same as current selling price of the Playstation 3, many gamers all those years ago opted for cheaper systems such as the original playstation and the Nintendo 64. Because of an earlier than expected launch date the selection of games was very limited and grew very slowly, while Playstation 3 launched exactly when Sony said it would the game selection was limited and grew slowly just like it did for the Sega Saturn. The market share for the Sega Saturn lagged behind Sony and Nintendo and as the competing systems became more and more popular some retailers dropped Sega products from store shelves. While Sony hasn't lost any retailers yet, they are making it appear that PS3 products are gaining shelf space by taking it away from Playstation 2 products.

Since the days of the original Sega Master System vs Nintendo Entertainment System battle at the close of the 1980's exclusives were used to sell game systems. When Sony entered the game market they brought their money to game developers and Sega and Nintendo lost most of their exclusive titles. Most games became cross platform and a few became Sony Playstation exclusives. After Microsoft comes into the console gaming market, the Microsofties bring their money to game developers and now it's Sony that lost many of their exclusive titles.

Just three and half years after launching the Saturn the Dreamcast became Sega's next and last game system. Sony has a lot to do to make sure that the Playstation 4 doesn't become another Dreamcast.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why Canadians Should Care About DTV

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Last week's changeover to digital television broadcasting in the United States went off with very few problems. This at least negates some of the excuses that Canadian TV stations give for sticking to analog only with just two years before the Canadian deadline to shut down analog. The only TV stations in Canada that have begun broadcasting in Digital are those in southern Ontario and in BC with densely populated areas close enough to the border with access to American over the air DTV signals. For the rest of us in the rest of Canada are restricted to analog only, no access to DTV converter boxes and plenty of analog only TV's still on store shelves this is not a very good sign.

The Canadian broadcasting companies claim that it would be too expensive to buy and operate digital transmitter for the 9 percent of TV households that depend solely on over the air broadcast signals. They don't factor in the households where there is at least one TV set with an antenna because people don't like paying fees for extra outlets or renting additional set top boxes. What TV station operators need to realize is that the sub-channels that broadcasters can send out with DTV can be used as a source of revenue for broadcasters. Digital Television allows TV stations better reach viewers who currently receive such poor reception that they are cable or satellite subscribers because of poor over the air reception.

Canadians are known for hating their cable, satellite and the telephone providers, so any new competition will be very welcome, switching to DTV will free up radio frequencies to allow for wireless broadband and advanced services such as VOiP and IPTV using WiMax or other wireless technology. Digital television is bringing an exciting new world but most Canadians are being held back. Start calling your local TV stations to start asking about DTV they will need to start providing answers sooner or later.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

PSP Go, more like PSP No

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The worst kept secret in the video game industry was revealed officially when Sony took the wraps off the new Playstation Portable, the PSP Go at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The new PSP Go is a smaller and lighter version of the PSP. The controls slide out similar to a cell phone. The PSP Go comes with 16 GB onboard with the ability up to 16 GB more using a Memory Stick Pro Duo card.

The most distinctive difference betweent the PSP Go and all previous PSP's is the lack of a UMD drive. Games are purchased online and downloaded and installed on the PSP go. This may give Sony a chance to dictate how games are sold in the future the still have to convince retailers to give the PSP go a reason to give shelf space to a system when retailers won't even have a chance to sell the games.

A UMD disk holds 1.8 GB of data this means that PSP go could only hold 8 games if you assume that game developers use the entire capicity of the disk. The PSP go is the most expensive portable game player to date and will be a very hard sell for Sony coming so soon after the launch of Nintendo's DSi which does so much more than previous DS's but still maintains backward compatibility with all Nintendo DS game cartridges. Right now Sony just hasn't justified the PSP go.