PlayStation 3 Has to Suffer, Signals Sony Boss

Sony Europe's David Reeves reflects on Sony's third quarter losses of US$204m.

Sony Europe's David Reeves is almost refreshing at a time when refreshing's in short supply. In an intriguing shift from the standard "everything's coming up roses" mantra, Reeves reflects on the company's third quarter losses of US$204m by telling The Guardian the company "simply [has] to suffer a little.

"[We have to]...go down in market share and mind-share," said Reeves. "It's like Ali v Foreman — go eight or nine rounds and let him punch himself out. We're still standing, we're still profitable and there's a lot of fight in us. I don't say we will land a knockout blow, but we're there and we're fighting."

That's quite a shift from the vibe back in early 2006, when the PS3 was slowly cycling up its engines on the launch pad. At the time, the company's water carriers were comparably blithe about the system's chances of failure.

Asked about Microsoft's ability to meet its sales projections in May 2006, then Sony president Phil Harrison told the BBC "I doubt they will achieve that," adding "I think the clear advantages of the PS3 will mean that this product is very well accepted in the marketplace" and "We have a great brand and fantastically loyal consumers."

As it's turned out, the PS3's advantages were anything but clear. Sony's brand remains unimpeachable (tally total PlayStation sales including the PS2 and PSP as evidence) but its consumers are either less loyal than it believed, or the loyalists far less numerous. Maybe someone should have been paying closer attention when early polls in Japan suggested over 90% felt the system's launch price was too high.

Reeves says the company's objective is financial, which, though head-slapping obvious, subtly undermines the populist assumption that a system's singular success index lies in unit sales.

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Matt Peckham

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