Monday, September 18, 2006

Where Sony's Priorities Lie

Feast your eyes on a mockup of the PlayStation3's box art. Just gaze upon it, let the sheer Sony-ness of it all sink into your brain: Sleekness, minimalism, brand synergy...wait--brand synergy?

Yeah, what's going on here? What's with the intrusion of Sony's different divisions on our beloved PlayStation? Let's break it down:
  • Their universally-recognized "PS" logo would easily fit behind a dime.
  • The "PlayStation 3" text is in the "Spiderman" font, made popular by Sony's trilogy of movies.
  • The whole case is blue, with a "Blu-ray Disc" bar that takes up almost as much real estate as the entire "PS" logo and "PlayStation 3" text put together.
Sony has truly reached that oft-postulated "souless conglomerate" state that your ultra-liberal philosophy professor reviled. The kind who's happy to sell you their end-all, be-all product, their crowning achievement. Just please bend over and accept all their other brands at the same time.

Maybe I'm giving Sony too much credit. After all, PSone didn't use MiniDisc. PS2 didn't use Memory Stick, although they did call their IEEE1394/FireWire port "i.Link." Perhaps Sony ran out of ideas. Maybe the launch/success of the Xbox360 and the foaming anticipation of the Nintendo Wii forced Sony's hand, before they could finish designing the public face of their future console. That was certainly my guess when the PS3 was first showed off.

"Screen captures of Spider-Man? Spider-Man font?" Surely it was all provisional, just like that boomerang controller of theirs. Something tells me it was all intended to be final, but the controller got such an acidulous reaction that they reneged on that front. Maybe this post is a couple E3s too late.

Either way, why has Sony suddenly become so insistent on cramming all their properties down our throat at once? Couldn't they have just used a clean, attractive font if they wanted to be cliché? Wouldn't it have been enough for me to buy their console? Did it have to push their next-gen DVD format? Did it have to advertise an upcoming sequel, for god's sake?

The answer, of course, is "no, they could have shown consumers some respect." However, Sony chose the other, more asinine course of action. Let's see what it gets them.

No comments: