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Peripherally unaware

Sony loses the plot
No, ladies, this isn’t what you think it is1

It’s things like this (if accurate) that make me question how it is Sony a. manages to compete in the gaming space at all and b. whether their heart or head is really into it anymore2:

As well as requiring the PlayStation Eye, Sony are set to release a Nunchuk-like add-on to the Arc, which will feature “an analog stick at the front, below that X and O and below that a D pad,” according to the post. “Underneath is L1 and L2. Its actually long, not like the Wii Nunchuk.”

The key quote here is “Sony are set to release a Nunchuk-like add-on to the Arc”, implying that it won’t actually be bundled with the controller which is, if I may be blunt, asinine.

Yes, that’s right, Sony’s peripherals now have…peripherals before they have any sort of userbase at all.

Now I know all the mouth-breathers out there are screaming “but, but, but the Wii has a million peripherals for the Wii remote” but, as is usually the case, thinking about this for more than 15 seconds between gulps of Mountain Dew and dreaming of, some day far in the future, meeting a woman that doesn’t live in a game, would engender a slightly more thoughtful response.

Since the Wii actually comes with the nunchuck (and Mario Kart comes with the wheel and Link’s Crossbow Training with the Zapper) it doesn’t split the developer/publisher-base (and, therefore, userbase) right out of the gate like other, ham-fisted, hardware vendor moves.3

But what makes this particular move especially bad is that, historically, peripherals fail and fail hard: for every DualShock (re: PSOne) and Sega Genesis 6-button pad, the ample planes of gaming yore are buried in really bad ideas that were going to be the next big thing (that should have waited for new hardware…Natal).

So to compound the problem of selling people a peripheral they throw this wrench into the works so they can make selling the device not only to developers but you that much more difficult?

To give you some idea, here’s a partial transcript of a potential sale at GameStop:

Mom: *approaching register w/ Red Steel 2 PS3 Edition* Do you have the new Arc controller?

GameStop Toad: Yes, Ma’am, we do and we also have the Lasso attachment for it…and would you also like a subscription to Game Informer?

Mom: I don’t understand–I just want the Arc controller.

GameStop Toad: Well this peripheral makes that peripheral even better and a subscription to Game Informer makes it better still.

Mom: Listen, my son just wants to be able to play this game and you’re telling me I need this ‘lasso’ thing, too?

GameStop Toad: Yes ma’am, you will need that, too, to play the game. And an EyeToy, if you don’t already have one. And there’s lots of hot new information about it in a subscription to Game Informer.

Mom: *glares*

GameStop Toad: Sub–tion to Ga–Informer…*bzzt*…system overload…In-in-in-formerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…buy/sell/trade…use– game–…*BOOM!*

And yes, I know: there is the poor man’s nunchuck, i.e. the SixAxis, but has anyone sat down and actually tried that ‘fun’ little combo w/ the Wii remote standing in for the Arc?4 It’s about as comfortable (or usable) as Sony’s PR bit that the Arc and the SixAxis were both going to enjoy the role as top controller in the Sonyverse5…at the same time.

Basically: really, really dumb move, Sony and hopefully, if true, you think again and decide to bundle it all together for one price. (And no: even in light of a ‘bundle’, one SKU w/ just the remote and one SKU with just the ‘lasso’ sold separately will basically destroy any hope of the vast majority of games using the ‘lasso’, a la the hard drive-less 360 destroyed 99% of games using that for anything other than ripping.)

1 Hilarious, isn’t it, Sony fans! About as funny as the millionth ‘Wii remote is a dildo’ joke, amirite??
2 The PSPGo debacle and, to a lesser extent, the PS3 makes both of these options seem more reality than pure conjecture at this point.
3 Like the 360 shipping with and without a hard drive (incidentally, purely for marketing purposes) or Sega producing peripheral after peripheral when neither received remotely adequate support. (Resulting in The Leaning Tower of Broken Promise.)
4 And, Hell, based on the description provided at the link, won’t even work because you won’t be able to reach all the potential buttons.
5 Conveniently located next to Bizzaroverse.

Categories: Video Games Tags: , , , ,
  1. katex
    03/09/2010 at 15:18
  2. ECM
    03/09/2010 at 17:20

    You posted but didn’t actually write anything?

    Let me guess: you were going to comment on the pic caption, then saw footnote 1 at the last minute and realized it wasn’t more oinkery? Am I close? XD

  3. katex
    03/09/2010 at 18:18

    What the?? Ohhhh yeah I keep forgetting that my use of oh-so-clever special symbol punctuation is being read as some kind of crazy futuristic language by this dern computationator!

    my comment was …whistling softly…innocent interest in random spot on wall… gingerly nudging march issue of game informer under bed…

  4. katex
    03/09/2010 at 18:24

    …but you see the cleverness, it was totally lost in translation. dammit jim, i’m a doctor not a inspired wordsmith!

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