Young: Sony "in trouble" in hardware market

Ngmoco boss says Microsoft in better position

Ngmoco founder Neil Young has told press that he thinks Sony could be "out of position" and "in trouble" in the hardware market, with Microsoft stealing a march on the Japanese company on all fronts.

Making comments to Industry Gamers, Young talked about how developing technologies had affected the games industry, and who he felt had kept up best.

"In the hardware world, I think Sony's massively out of position. I think they’re in trouble. I think Microsoft's in much better shape," he said.

"They understand cloud computing; the Xbox Live service is a world-class service, and they've got a foothold in mobile, albeit a tenuous one. I think they're in better shape. I think Nintendo always has the benefit of its franchises, but I don't think it ends up being a really rich ecosystem for third parties."

However, earlier this month, it was Sony which put long term plans for cloud saving for PSN Plus subscribers into action, allocating each user 150mb of space to store up to 1000 save files.

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Latest comments (26)

I think, he thinks wrong :)
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Robert Kelly8 years ago
Same here
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Private Industry 8 years ago
On all fronts? MS doesnt even make a handheld and PS3 is by now close to the 360 sales wise and an amazing looking new handhed in the pipeline. The psn isnt anymoe that far away from live and in some areas better.
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Show all comments (26)
Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts8 years ago
Sony have a few platforms on which they can compete fairly successfully, and are attempting a third with the Experia Play phone. Microsoft have the Xbox and Windows Live phones - which aren't exactly attracting too many gamers over the iOS and Android platforms.

I'd say Sony are winning here, albeit marginally. Xbox Live is a huge beast, but Sony has the potential to catch up.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 8 years ago
It might not be obvious yet, but x360 is a fairly standard architecture cpu wise, and as such easier to provide incremental updates for it.
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Robin Clarke Producer, Zattikka Ltd.8 years ago
If only Sony had a foothold in mobile, eh?
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Justin Titus Writer 8 years ago
Thinking something, and the truth are two different things it would seem.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship8 years ago
Given what we're seeing with mobile devices, I think MS 'not even making a handheld' is a decidedly good place to be.
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Being hardware neutral, this statement seems contrary to the feeling I get. If anything, I reckon Sony have just matured their hardware and mid term strategy into the right place finally for ascendancy - in terms of longevity for PS3 format, NGP and cloud gaming and PS home.

Makes you wonder if folks just make statements to be contreversial....or get misqouted.
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Antony Cain Lecturer in Computer Games Design, Sunderland College8 years ago
No mention of motion control? Seems to be about the only place that MS comfortably beat Sony
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Regardless of what anyone thinks, M$ continues to post massive profits every qrt - whereas Sony have struggled to get back into the red.

Sony are very lucky that the PSP picked back up (in Japan), but much of their future depends on how the NGP does.

MS could have an updated console ready for release soon (if they wanted), essentially a 360 with the latest tech. E3 this year should be pretty interesting, after the 'motion-obsession' from last year.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
Bit of a short sighted statement isn't it?
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Tom Wilhelm Ødegård Dpt. head Gaming, Spaceworld AS8 years ago
PSP was a complete and utter failure except from Japan. The PSPgo was Sony's Virtua Boy and must've cost them a lots of dollars.

My impression is that Sony is very strong in some European countries (and Japan of course), whereas Microsoft is going strong in the US.

I recall reading a piece on the state of the three consoles some time back, and it said that the big three all had a good user base that should provide them with plenty of income in the years to come.
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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 8 years ago
Kind of an odd statement really when looking forward. MS have a higher install base compared to PS3 and a higher console attachment rate. They're also storming it on the motion control rate. They have an established market place as well.

However, Sony have NGP coming out which has real potential. I can't see their phone market going anywhere though but you never know. Sony phones tend to be rubbish (for example, the Xperia). Sony have made several screw ups with tech over the past decade including UMD and PSPGo so who knows.
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William D. Volk Researcher, Human Health8 years ago
Sony had the opportunity, pre-iPhone, to make the PSP into the basis for a mobile phone. Sony-Erricson asked for this but corporate told them to basically drop dead, and they have been compiling with that management directive ever since.
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Dusty Roberson Video Production Team, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
He says hardware market and then goes on to talk about their software advantage. while the two do correlate, I think MS has a LONG way to go before topping Sony on hardware.
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Norman Tajudin Operations & Strategy 8 years ago
I think most of the posts here are missing the more strategic, mid/long term issue at hand. Who is better prepared for the transition to cloud-based gaming? Microsoft or Sony? The former has the full featured Xbox Live platform that is integrated with windows live messaging...which includes a whole host of other non-gaming related productivity tools (e.g., Office Live, Sky Drive, email, etc.). Their Kinect hardware can and will be ported to the Windows platform for extra utility. Plus MS has been dumping tons of R&D cash into cloud-based solutions at the commercial level so they understand where this is all heading. Assuming net neutrality prevails and competition keeps bandwidth cheap, massive pixel rendering will take place offsite in a few years (see as the first example of cloud-play technology). No need for expensive, energy sucking hardware consoles in the home. For a hardware centric company like Sony, that's not good news as PSN is not enough to keep people loyal to their platform.

On the handheld/mobile front, I would agree that Sony has an edge over MS. However, Apple really caught Nintendo and Sony off guard and stole the show with the iPod Touch and iPhone as Apple's devices where much more versatile and in line with today's consumer needs and wants. Plus they nailed the UI. Android will be another versatile platform that will further cannibalize demand for dedicated handhelds. Hopefully Sony's new Xperia will gain some traction from their core fans and introduce new fans to Sony's PSN platform. The Nokia/MS marriage will be interesting but is probably too late to catch up with market momentum behind iOS and Android.

Developers see the cloud approach as an opportunity to unshackle from the traditional distribution model and gain higher margins through cutting out physical inventory risks, transactional middlemen, and platform porting costs. Seeing how both MS and Sony approach this rapidly changing landscape should prove interesting for all of us observers...

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Norman Tajudin on 21st March 2011 7:10pm

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Robert Turner Studying Games Programming, SAE Institute8 years ago
1st) I really don't think these mobile developers are in touch with the mass console market, as this statement clearly proves. It's like last week when the Angry Birds developer spoke out saying the console market is dying and most of us turned around and said "No, your an idiot."
2nd) Who is this guy? And why does he think he has an opinion?
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Bruno Brøsted Incident Manager 8 years ago
There are so many things wrong with what is coming from Neil Young it's almost funny. Almost because one has to wonder what his agenda is.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 8 years ago
Microsoft no doubt has done great job with Kinect but then just saying Sony is out of position is a bit too jumping to conclusion.

Sony without a doubt is paying for its arrogance with PS3 but their rectifying measures are now paying off with PS3 catching up pretty quickly. Also the new NGP seems promising as it seems they've heard what the customers want. All they need to do is position it with a correct price point. Further Sony's Xperia Play with Android is basically targeting the mobile market and I do think Xperia series of phones from Sony Ericsson is doing a lot better than Mobile 7 phone at this stage, especially there are already apps on Android that can imitate Mobile 7's interface. The only worry about Xperia Play is the non-compatibility with PSN but this could be a strategic decision so that it won't eclipse NGP's market before it is being released.

And to be honest I am sick of people keep on saying Nintendo is not a good ecosystem for third parties. It is not Nintendo's fault if third parties are creating crap games and not selling. There are lots of third party games from Ubisoft (the Rabbid series, Just Dance, MJ Experience), Capcom (Sengoku Basara, Resident Evil games), THQ (Cooking Mama series) and Square Enix (Final Fantasy Tactics series, Dragon Quest IX) that sold millions and millions (Dragon Quest IX sold 5.6 million for God's sake). So it really depends on whether third party made an effort to build a good game and market it.
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Private Industry 8 years ago
Always that hate for the PSN. Online gaming is free as it should be and the online store works. On top of that I can set the console to automatic downloading of patches, DLC or whatever is in my download queue and cloud is still absent from the 360. Both got netflix and so on and if I want to watch ESPN I have that anyway via cable.

What`s up with all those mobile phone gaming guys recently making comments about console gaming? You don`t see me making comments about how the NASA space shuttle is build and what I think should be done different on it.
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hehe. i love the free PSN. its great gaming and uploads indeed.
I reckon Sony have figured out what makes things work and its working well! not sure why there is all the hate/angst
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Tony Johns8 years ago
I think SONY will always have a strong position in Japan, it is mostly because Microsoft is the first American company since Atari that has sold consoles well enough to stay in the market for more than one generation that I believe is the reason why Microsoft sells the XBox so well in western countries.

Plus their controller is better for sport games and First Person Shooter games.

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Brandon Jaquez8 years ago
.... Does Microsoft even make games themselves? I know they throw money around to developers but there hasn't been a game that's developed solely by them. I remember they 'made' studio for Halo Wars (343 Industries I believe) but shut that down within months after release of the game.

Shame. Since Nintendo and Sony have about 5 or more studios of their own (1st Party-wise, not 2nd Party).
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MS have game studios, but these are not what one would consider as the traditional development studios/shadow of former greatness compared to Sony and Nintendo first party studios. You could say, MGS have done a disney, and moved towards a digital/kinecty experience.

AAA studio
- 343 studios (US) - Halo-itis
- Lionhead (UK) - Fable-itis

Kinect centric/Casual Studios
- Rare (from glorious past now relegated to kinecty sports stuff)/New Birmingham Fazeley studio - to produce more Kinecty stuff
. Good Science ? Kinect stuff?

- Turn 10: Forza-itis

- XBOX live action productions

- Wingnut (filmic games......)
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Eliot Lloyd Studying Computer Games Design and Production, Northumbria University8 years ago
What are they talking about Sony not having handhelds? Sony are in the Open Handset Alliance which work on Android unless I'm mistaken? I know it's not the same as going solo into the industry, but they're part of the second biggest smartphone business.

Also, Xperia Play. I'd get it if I wasn't only a quarter of the way through my phone contract with a Galaxy S. Here's hoping the Playstation Suite comes to Galaxy S.
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