Had Sony launched with such an advantageous plan from the get go, the PlayStation 3 would have flown off shelves at a similar rate to the Wii. The genius and strategy behind the Butler compaigns have had no trouble engaging the consumer even if the content of the commercial was a tad creepy. Oh, how different things could have been had Butler only arrived earlier.
This is probably a prime contributor to the slow adopt rate over time. Though eliminating the ability to play PlayStation 2 games probably saved on unit cost, it was a very big blow to the common gamer as well. I know a lot of families who purchased a PlayStation 2 and built solid libraries over time and would have liked to have migrated to the PlayStation 3 and brought the library with them. Of course, you can always make the argument that they could just keep the PlayStation 2 and do things that way, but it really comes down to simplicity of the situation. A lot of people don’t want two bulky consoles sitting on the entertainment stand or having four controllers just lying around because they couldn’t just use the PlayStation 3s controllers for PS2 titles.
It’s easy for Sony to want to remove the feature to help push software sales for the PlayStation 3, but I think a key selling point and selling advantage overall was the excellent library the PlayStation 2 had to offer to PlayStation 3 owners. Think about it this way — for gamers who went the route of the Xbox or GameCube in the last generation, how much more inviting would it be to know that not only would they be moving to the PlayStation 3 this generation, but they could now also catch up on a ton of affordable titles they missed out on last generation? I think that differential is huge when you really consider the numbers.
Overall, the lack of backwards compatibility had to play a major role in Sony not selling consoles as fast as they could have. Sure, some will make the case that if they wanted BC, they should have adopted early, but once again that comes down to launch price once more. You can’t expect everyone to afford the cost of the machine just so they can take advantage of BC. Also — there were no signs that Sony planned on removing it any time soon either…much like the Other OS feature.
This epidemic surely brought the “lulz” to say the least. Watching titles like Devil May Cry 4, Final Fantasy XIII and Grand Theft Auto IV make their way to the multiplatform section of websites was something to truly behold. It lit forums up with the flames of millions through console wars and was then put out by the tears of thousands. Looking from the outside in, the hilarity of it all was overwhelming. It was crazy to watch grown men get so distraught over one of their favorite titles going multiplatform — however, I honestly believe that these situations hurt Sony a lot more than they expected.
It should go without saying that a console’s library of titles is the prime reason to purchase a console. If the unit doesn’t have a lineup of games that makes it worth your money, then you’re not going to buy it. Obviously multiplatform games are not going to factor in to decisions like this, but exclusives will. This is where Sony should have buckled down and realized that keeping its third-party exclusive titles is potentially the difference between zero sales and millions. How many more PlayStation 3s would have been sold had you only been able to pick up Grand Theft Auto IV, Final Fantasy XIII and Devil May Cry 4 on Sony’s console? I’m going to bet an astronomical amount — surely enough to make up the current three million gap that exists.
Anyway, these five instances have changed the console war throughout this generation entirely. Had Sony buckled down and made sure all of these things either never occurred or occurred immediately, they’d be in a lot better positioning than they are at this time. To be honest, they may even be roughly around the same units as the Wii had all of these been implemented sooner. However, it’s easy to have all of this hindsight now, Captain Hindsight, but still — it would have been incredible to see if Sony could have outsold the PlayStation 2 had these tactics been followed.