If you take a good look at the consumer electronics market, you might start to notice a new management and marketing philosophy: releasing crippled products into the market as if it’s normal.
By crippled I mean with less features that it should logically have, because the brands present these products as the state of the art or top of the line, which in either case, demonstrates that the brand technological know how is way behind by market standards and the marketing division sells it as the worlds best thing or the brand marketing division is a bunch of stupid egocentric bastards and think that the consumers will buy any bone they will throw at them after releasing a crippled product just to cut on production costs.
In this last month we have two very strong examples: Apple and Sony. These two companies or brands if you want, are known by their technology advances in most of their products, Sony has been a video game console powerhouse and Apple the cutting edge on computer systems, but with their last products they left the world in a state of surprise, unfortunately not for the better reasons.
Lets take Apple’s example first. Apple TV is supposed to be some kind of media center but the first mistake is that is not a self sufficient device, meaning it needs to connect to another computer to get the contents. Now this is plain stupid because the Apple TV runs Mac OS X, it has wi-fi and a hard drive, so basically is a computer, how come Apple didn’t make it a self sufficient device? Why can’t I use iTunes directly on a Apple TV, shop and download directly from it? Decisions. The second mistake: HD. Although Apple claims that the Apple TV needs an HD TV to work, it has been proved otherwise. Apple goes leaps and miles to market the HDTV compatibility but then fails to deliver HD content from iTunes. This can change in the future but still the product is limited to a 40 GB hdd, so don’t expect to fit your entire collection of HD movies in there. As if this couldn’t get more awkward, even the friggin HDMI cable is not included, so Apple is releasing an HD device, meant to function on HDTVs that comes without and HDMI cable… go figure. Still, it’s a good product, it will sell but not as much as it would if it had a bigger hdd, expansion ports and self sufficiency.
But the worst case is Sony. Sony management and marketing divisions have been killing great products and signing the downfall of the company with a roll of crucial mistakes being the first mistake the lack of support and development for the PSP. The PSP is a great product, if it had been developed by Nintendo it would be the best gadget ever made because Nintendo stands by it’s products, they really make an effort to support the consoles with new games and gadgets, giving a strong image and personality to it. The PSP was made and abandoned by Sony, left to the unknown future of third party support. In Japan, the PSP market doesn’t compare with the rest of the world, most of the big accessories (GPS, Photo Camera, etc) don’t even get to be released in the USA and Europe as well as great games that don’t get localized and are sold only in the country of origin. The media features are limited to the UMD movies, there’s no store where the users can buy TV shows, movies or music, the game demos can be counted by the hand… all this in a two year old console that should have matured by now.
The second mistake and more crucial is, with no doubt, the european PS3. This machine is an offense to European gamers, they should write on the box “Playstation 3 Special Sucker Edition“. Besides the product release being plagued by the most stupid and inappropriate advertisement campaign, the product it self is really crippled. The first time I watched Sony’s PS3 ads, I couldn’t believe. Who in the right mind will associate that to a gaming console? A whole bunch of lunatics in a sort of hotel in a chaotic scenario, is there a hidden message there? To me, that looks like a metaphor of how Sony is being managed. The ad sucks big time and it gets your attention but not by the best of reasons. Bad publicity is not always good publicity… As for the console, Europen gamers who want a PS3 pay more and get less, we pay 599 Euro against the $599 in the USA and get a PS3 without the Emotion Engine, which, in case you don’t know, is the core of the PS2 and what insures that the PS3 runs PS2 games… except for the European version where that feature is implemented by software, a PS2 emulator. This means that the performance and compatibility when playing PS2 games won’t be the same as the other PS3 counterparts. All this by paying more! It’s really irresistible…
Adding to all this, the PS3, which besides being a console is supposed to be a Media Center as well (thus the BlueRay drive and media features), comes with a 60GB hdd (at least in Europe we only got that version) but still the Playstation Network doesn’t sell movies or music being the downloads limited to games, demos and movie trailers. As usual no HDMI cable bundled 🙂
But there’s an exception to all this. Enter Microsoft. As usual, taking advantage of other companies weak spots, this time as hard as it might take me to acknowledge, Microsoft heard the consumers. They announced today the Xbox 360 Elite, a black Xbox 360 (like users were always asking for) with a 120 GB hdd, an HDMI port and new and new HD content offerings on Xbox LIVE. Microsoft is killing two birds with one stone, not only it shows that they are listening to the gamers by releasing a console with a bigger hdd than the PS3 (they also include a few extra accessories), they also step on Apple’s turf by adding HD movies from Warner and Paramount (something iTunes dosen’t have) and new content from other publishers, demonstrating that they are right now the top choice for the media center market… and they even included the HDMI cable.
This shows that consumers aren’t stupid, we lacked the information in the past, but now the Internet gives us more and more information on technology than before. The Crippled Philosophy doesn’t pay nowadays, there’s always someone listening to what consumers want and delivering it in the right time.
[tags]Apple, Apple TV, Sony, Playstation 3, PS3, PSP, Nintendo, Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 Elite, HD, HDTV, HDMI[/tags]