I am one of the very first, and one of the biggest, playstation fans of all time. I have loved the playstation brand since the day the first system was launched, but I am not here today to tell you how great I think the Playstation is. Iím here to tell you how disappointed in you I am, and to implore you to change your ways before you lose a life long customer forever. I hope you will read this letter and take what is said in it to heart, because I am looking for the video console brand I once loved so much, to retake itís rightful place as the leader of the industry
Why I am one of the first Playstation Fans of all Time
I am, probably, one of the very first playstation fans of all time. I actually bought the original Playstation the day it came out, back on September 9th, 1995. I remember going to Babbageís
with my mom and trading in my Sega Genesis and my Sega CD to pay for the system, a memory card, and a copy of Battle Arena Toshinden
. That first night I donít even think I went to bed. I just played my brand new Playstation none stop until I passed out with my controller in my hands. Yes, I think itís pretty safe to say that I am, if not the original, one of the original Playstation fans ever in existence.
Ever since the PS1 came out, I have continued to be a Playstation fan, never letting up my love for the brand. I purchased the PS2 the day it came out, which is easily my favorite video game system of all time. I remember refusing to purchase an XBOX because I wanted to stay true to my PS2 and not cheat on it behind its back with another system. I used to hold huge parties whenever I bought a new PS2 sports game, so that I could play it and show it off to all of my friends. Yes Iím pretty sure I purchased and played more games for my PS2 then every other system I have owned combined. Yes, I loved my PS2, and when Sony announced the PS3 I knew I would be one of the very first on the bandwagon.
While I didnít purchase my PS3 on the day it came out, like the other systems, I was still one of the earliest adopters, getting mine only 6 months after the system launched. I didnít mind the $600 price tag, because I knew it would be worth every penny. I remember getting the system home and being so excited. It was my first High-Definition game console and I had never seen anything so beautiful on my television in my entire life. The first game I purchased was Resistance: Fall of Man
, and I absolutely loved it. Yes I honestly thought the PS3 and I would have a beautiful relationship together. Oh how I was so wrong.
When I first realized the PS3 had Problems
As I have already mentioned, I refused to buy the original XBOX, because I refused to support Microsoft and their attempts to compete with the Playstation brand. Well unfortunately my hatred of Microsoft was not going to last. You see, none of my friends wanted to buy the PS3. Unlike me, they all thought the $600 price tag was to much, so they all went out and bought the cheaper XBOX360. Every single week I would have to listen to them all talk about how much fun they were having playing games online together on their XBOX360ís and how I should buy one. At first I refused to give in, but after a while I felt left out. Since none of my friends were buying a PS3, I had no one to play it with. I eventually gave in and got one.
The day I bought my XBOX360 changed my gaming life forever. I immediately started having so much fun playing XBOX360 games with all of my friends online. We would have Gears of War
and Forza 2
sessions that would last hours into the night. It was a sweet reminder of how incredibly fun social gaming could be, and all I wanted was more and more of it. Even when I was playing single player XBOX games, I would usually be at least talking to my friends online over my headset. That feeling of always having someone to socialize with while I was gaming was one I was not easily willing to let go of, and I soon found that I was not playing my PS3 at all.
I soon started buying all of my games on the XBOX360. Besides the social aspect of XBOX Live, I was also finding myself to be addicted to achievements. Since my PS3 did not have a robust online network like the XBOX360, none of my friends owned one, and since it didnít have anything along the lines of achievements, I quickly found no reason to buy any games on my PS3. The only games I did buy were PS3 exclusive games, like Metal Gear Solid 4
. Yes my PS3 was quickly becoming a dusty piece of electronics sitting in my entertainment system, kind of like my 5-Disc CD changer. It was then that I knew that the PS3 was having some serious problems.
My attempt to fall back in love with my PS3
About 8 months ago things started turning around for my PS3. This is mainly because all of my friends eventually ended up buying one, but also because I met a lot of new friends through the gaming website www.destructoid.com. I suddenly had a huge list of friends who all wanted to play games online. Then Firmware version 2.40 came out, which brought in-game XMB to the system, and once again my hopes were lifted that things were finally going to turn around for the PS3. Unfortunately, many months passed and I found I was still not using my PS3 hardly at all compared to my XBOX360. I also found I was still buying all of my games on my XBOX360. Everything Sony was doing to get me back into using and playing my PS3 was not working.
My problems with the PS3
While you have done so much to improve the PS3, there are still so many problems with it, that cause me, and many of my friends, to not play it at all. I would like to list some of them here.
1) I constantly get kicked offline
This is easily one of the most frustrating things about the PS3 to me. Many of the online games I attempt to play, including Street Fighter 2 HD
and High Stakes Poker
, constantly kick me offline and disconnect me from the Playstation Network when I try to play them. Itís not only games though that I have the problem with. I also get kicked offline a lot when Iím voice chatting with people. Last night I got kicked off 3 times in less then 30 minutes while trying to chat with a couple of my friends in a chat room. I eventually got so frustrated I turned my system off and gave up. It is extremely frustrating when I canít even talk to my friends online without getting kicked off for no reason. I donít have this problem at all with the XBOX360, and I shouldnít have it with my PS3. This is the year 2009, and by this point, internet connection problems on consoles should be a thing of the past. Iíve been talking on my PC with people online for over 10 years without problems. There is absolutely no reason I should have problems doing this on my PS3.
2) I can not chat with friends while playing games
I canít tell you how annoying it is to have to quit out of a game Iím playing if I want to chat with a friend, or a group of friends. The XBOX360 has had this mastered for 3 years now. There is absolutely no excuse why the PS3 canít do this yet. Being able to socialize and play games is one of the most important features I want in a video game system, and the PS3 is not providing it for me. How is it, that one of the most powerful pieces of hardware ever built canít multitask and allow a person to play games and chat at the same time?
3) I cannot easily invite people to play games with me online
This is another feature that the XBOX360 has gotten right for 3 years now, and the PS3 is still struggling with. If a friend logs onto their PS3 and I want the to join my game, it is very difficult to get this to happen. A couple of games, like Street Fighter 2 HD, are getting better at this by having an invite system, but most games still donít have any type of invite system at all. If I person wants to join my game, they have to first boot up the game, and then they have to somehow figure out which server Iím on and join that server. Many games donít even have a way of telling people what servers their friends are on, which makes things increasingly difficult. The XBOX360 makes this so easy. You simply press an ďInvite Friend to GameĒ button and it simply works, for every single game thatís out for the system. Microsoft makes this extremely simple. Why canít you?
4) The trophy system is hard to understand.
Ok, so first of all I have to give you credit for finally bringing out the trophy system, and for finally making it a required feature for games. It was something that needed to be done a long time ago. Unfortunately it just doesnít make much sense. The nice thing about the achievements system on the XBOX360 is that itís very easy to understand. Everything has a point value, and itís very easy to know where everyone stands in terms of their achievements score. The problem with the trophy system is that there are bronze trophies, and silver trophies, and gold trophies, and I there is no way to distinguish how these affect your overall ďlevelĒ. How much do bronze, silver, and gold trophies contribute to your level? Do all trophies of the same type contribute the same amount? How many trophies do you have to get to move onto the next level? How many of each type of trophy do you have to get to move onto the next level? These are all questions that I shouldn't have to ask, and all questions that make the trophy system so confusing.
5) The system costs to much money
The PS3 has been out for over 2 years now, and the global economy is in the the worst state itís been in over 60 years, yet the PS3 is still more expensive then the PS2 ever was in its entire life cycle. It is time to drop the price of the PS3 down so more people are willing to buy it. You used to be able to use the Blu-Ray player as a selling feature to convince people to buy it, but thatís not working anymore because people can now go out and buy a Blu-Ray player for under $200. There arenít many exclusive PS3 games out there, so thatís also not a big selling feature either. You have to face the facts that the PS3 is not going to sell itself just because itís a ďPlaystationĒ machine anymore. Times have changed, and the competition has changed, and itís time to cut the price to make the system more enticing to people to buy.
6) The web browser needs a complete overhaul
The PS3 is one of the most powerful pieces of computer hardware ever created. The Cell has 7 different processors which can all work in parallel, making it one of the fastest pieces of silicon ever created on this planet. However, when I attempt to use the Internet Browser built into the PS3, itís like trying to surf the web on a 10 year old computer using dial up. I mean my 8 year old computer in my office is faster at surfing the web then my PS3 is. How can such a simple piece of software, that does such a simple task, be so absolutely horrible at what itís designed to do? How is that even possible?
7) Blu-Ray drives are failing on PS3s
I didnít know this was such a big issue until the last couple of months. I know 5 different people who have all had their PS3 Blu-Ray drives fail on them in the last 3 months. Now luckily the warranty covered this and they got their system replaced. Since then we have learned that this is a known problem and that it occurs because of you leave your PS3 on with a disc in it, the drive is constantly spinning and reading the disc, which wears out the motor drives. This sounds like something that could easily be fixed with a firmware update, yet no update has arrived yet. You do NOT want to get the same reputation as the XBOX360 for having hardware that fails. This issue needs to be resolved, and fast.
8) I do not mind paying for XBOX Live
While this might not seem like itís a problem with the PS3, it most certainly is. Itís a problem because I should not want to pay for an online service on a video game console like the XBOX360, when the PS3 has a free internet service. I have already mentioned lots of problems with the Playstation Network which are not problems on the XBOX360, but the real serious issue is that Iím willing to pay for XBOX Live still. The fact of the matter is that the PS3ís networking capabilities are still not at the level that the original XBOX was in at the end of its life. That is extremely disappointing, and itís hard to get behind any system that is so stuck in the past.
9) I do not know the release date for Killzone 2
You are probably wondering why this is a problem with the PS3. Itís a problem not with the PS3, but with the PS3 marketing department. Killzone 2
is one of the biggest Sony exclusives on the PS3, and the marketing for this game should be through the roof. Every single person in America should have the release date for this game engraved in their minds. Take a look at how Microsoft handled the marketing for Gears of War
and Halo 3
. There were so many commercials, magazines ads, and product endorsements for these games, that almost every gamer out there knew exactly what the release date was. You can not simply assume that everyone knows about Killzone 2
and that people will want to buy it. You canít assume this for any game actually. You should have learned by now that marketing is key, and for the big games like Killzone 2
, the marketing needs to go into overdrive. Itís very sad that the biggest PS3 exclusive last year, Metal Gear Solid 4
, came out in June, but it didnít even sell half as many copies as Gears of War 2
, which came out in November. I donít even remember ever seeing a single advertisement on TV for Metal Gear Solid 4. 10) Game demos come out to late or not at all
Demos are out there for one reason, and one reason only, and thatís to help convince people to buy your games. However, lots of games, like Metal Gear Solid 4
are not getting demos until well after the game comes out, if they are getting one at all. Actually the MGS4
demo did not come out until 4 or 5 months after the game came out. That is extremely late, and does not help sell the game at all. Killzone 2
is another example of a game that should have a demo out well in advance of the dame. The demo will only be coming out, for the general public, 1 day before the game is released. This demo should be out a month before the game is released, not 1 day. You need to learn how to get people interested in playing your games, and getting demos out early and often will help this.
I do believe there is still hope for the PS3
While I might have just mentioned 10 problems I have with the PS3, I still honestly think that the PS3 has the chance to be a great system. I recommend starting with all the things I listed above and begin checking them off the list one at a time. You are the company who helped reinvent the gaming industry. You have hundreds of extremely intelligent people working in the Sony offices who have great ideas and who know how to solve problems. Get them to work on solving these problems.
Stop working on Playstation Home, and start working on a better Playstation Network. Stop trying to catch up with Microsoft and the XBOX360, and start trying to out do them at their own game. The XBOX360 has in-game voice chat. Well take that one step further and include in-game video chat. The XBOX360 has achievements that really mean nothing at all. Well make the PS3 trophy system actually be worth something. Make it so trophies can be used to purchase in-game merchandise like artwork and song downloads, or make new themes available to people with certain trophy levels.
What Iím saying is you need to stop trying to catch up with Microsoft, and you need to beet them at their own game, but you need to do it quick. You keep saying that PS3 has a 10 year life cycle, but at this rate the PS3 wonít even catch up with the XBOX360 before the XBOX720 is released. You keep telling the PS3 owners to be patient and that changes are coming, but we are getting sick of waiting for those changes. The industry leader should not have to catch up with anyone, and the industry leader should not have to tell itís customers to wait. The industry leader should be plunging forward with new innovations and moving the industry in new directions is has never gone before. Right now Nintendo and Microsoft are the true industry leaders, but Sony you are not out yet.
Itís time to step up to the plate and hit a home run. Itís time to remind all those playstation fans out their why the playstation brand is the best out there. Itís time to take back the industry and become the leader you once were. I know you can do it. I know you have to do it, because if you donít, I wonít be the only customer youíll lose.