Sony’s launch of its PlayStation 3 videogaming console last Sunday in Japan and Friday in the USA was a canonical example of the genre:
I guess the good news for Sony is that the PS3 is getting favorable reviews, but as far as the battle for the wallets of videogamers, this is just an opening skirmish. Bill Gates actually summed up the state of play pretty well in an interview with Ina Fried at CNET:
There’s obviously one other big product for the holidays in terms of things that you guys make–Xbox 360. You did get the year’s head start this time. There still seems to be pretty strong critical acclaim and demand for PlayStation 3. How do you see that?
Gates: I wouldn’t change positions with them in a million years. I mean, we know what it’s like to be a year late. We feel great about the position that we’re in. And, of course, they’re going to sell a lot in Japan.
You know, Sony can make 80,000 bricks, and people would buy them. So the real competition–you’re going to see the impact of our innovation and all the momentum we have in Christmas 2007. This Christmas, the story is: Xbox 360 is going to sell super-well, and they’ll sell the rounding error amounts they can make.
This is a marathon, not a sprint, and the nature of the industry seems to be that all the runners stagger at the start.
Well, maybe not all. Tomorrow is the launch of the Nintendo Wii console and they intend to break the mold by actually making money on every unit as well has having considerably more product available at launch than Sony, although they still expect shortages.