Sony's got bad credit?

I stumbled across an article, here, reporting on the drop in Sony's credit rating by Moody's. With the way the technology giants of Japan have been looking lately (Sharp on the verge of collapse, Panasonic not doing so hot) is Sony truly in jeopardy?

In the same article it quotes the Japanese Economy Minister as suggesting that there would be no bail out for these companies if they should fail. What could this mean for the game industry? Will we, as gamers, be impacted in a significant way when Sony goes through a restructuring in the attempt to recover?

Rhydius wrote:

I stumbled across an article, here, reporting on the drop in Sony's credit rating by Moody's. With the way the technology giants of Japan have been looking lately (Sharp on the verge of collapse, Panasonic not doing so hot) is Sony truly in jeopardy?

Still waiting on Dubious Quality's reaction since he has followed Sony's perils for a while, but generally they are in some level of trouble right now. The best that can be said is that Sony is effectively a successful insurance company with a failing electronics business on the side.

Rhydius wrote:

Will we, as gamers, be impacted in a significant way when Sony goes through a restructuring in the attempt to recover?

Eh. Industry managed perfectly fine back when it was only Nintendo and Sega (with some minor options fighting it out for third place). The worst possible outcome is that Sony closes the Playstation division meaning everyone has to work with Nintendo or MS. Downside of that is that it would give Nintendo a lot of power back in the industry (read up on some of their business practices in the 80's/90's). On the other hand, it would cut down on Q/A costs since there's one less build to test.

I've been hoping for Sony's death for a while now. Even before the whole BluRay debacle. They have outgrown themselves and I don't think they ever were "good guys" to be able to sort of mend their ways and regain customer trust. They are a blight upon humanity these days. Good riddance. And sooner the better.

But that's just my opinion. Tell me how I'm wrong.

I think Sony's important to the ecosystem. They're Microsoft's main competitor.

MoonDragon wrote:

I've been hoping for Sony's death for a while now. Even before the whole BluRay debacle. They have outgrown themselves and I don't think they ever were "good guys" to be able to sort of mend their ways and regain customer trust. They are a blight upon humanity these days. Good riddance. And sooner the better.

But that's just my opinion. Tell me how I'm wrong. :)

Can they at least show Microsoft how to make a proper d-pad before they die?

LobsterMobster wrote:

I think Sony's important to the ecosystem. They're Microsoft's main competitor.

But Nintendo is Microsoft's main driver for innovation.

Wii mote -> Kinect
WiiU tablet -> Smartglass

OK, so it's not a huuuge list (and in my defense, it's almost 1am local time), but let's face it, last Gen was fairly light on for innovation

I think Sony dropping the Playstation Division, or just moving out of the 'non-mobile' arena would give Nintendo the kick in the arse it needs to really become a player again. The only trouble I see is it might revert to a US vs Japan style market. Maybe we've grown as a gaming collective since the '80/'90s, but I'm not holding my breathe on that one.

imbiginjapan wrote:

Can they at least show Microsoft how to make a proper d-pad before they die?

Maybe not, but they could sell them the patent

The games industry (particularly on the platform side) needs more competition, not less. And for Sony's missteps over the last few years, they are important as a games publisher in my opinion and are responsible for putting out a lot of great, unique games both from indie and AAA studios that companies like Microsoft and Nintendo laugh at. I hope they can turn it around and I hope the PS4 succeeds with a more sensible design which is seems to be getting now that Kutaragi's insanity is gone. But yeah, the entire Japanese electronics industry is in big trouble right now because TV demand fell faster than they thought and they've been counting on a cratering Yen to drive their profits for years and now that it's going up, they're screwed. Many Canadian companies have gone through this as well now that our dollar is on parity with the US again. Designing your long-term business model on your currency being low is a stupid idea.

I see Steam doing a lot for the Indie Games Industry, and the Humble crew too.

Apple could provide competition through the mobile device market to Nintendo's mobile market.

PCs will 'hopefully' continue to create competition with the 'higher spec consoles' with them coming back into some sort of parity (at least for the first 12-18 months post launch) from a technical point of view.

I agree competition is important, I just don't think it needs to come from 'another' console as the consumers' willingness to eat up playtime from new sources expands.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

The games industry (particularly on the platform side) needs more competition, not less.

So why not have this competition from a company that values customers? Why have it from a company that insists on anti-competitive practices; customer hostile practices; repeated attempts over many decades to lock the whole world into their proprietary non-standard formats, that they then do not stick with? What good has Sony delivered that we could not get elsewhere? And just maybe, when this giant competition killer dies, a new healthier eco-system can be developed.

Seems like somebody would cash in on Playstation, especially at a discount price. That's still a valuable brand in a billion dollar market.

MoonDragon wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

The games industry (particularly on the platform side) needs more competition, not less.

So why not have this competition from a company that values customers? Why have it from a company that insists on anti-competitive practices; customer hostile practices; repeated attempts over many decades to lock the whole world into their proprietary non-standard formats, that they then do not stick with? What good has Sony delivered that we could not get elsewhere? And just maybe, when this giant competition killer dies, a new healthier eco-system can be developed.

Look, I came into the PS2 generation with as much dislike for Sony as anyone. As a former Sega fanboy I felt like their strange devotion killed the Dreamcast early and I was not a big fan of Sony. But Sony won me over. Here's how and here's why they're vital, IMO.

Sony provided a platform for small Japanese developers to innovate on games that didn't fit with Nintendo and didn't fit with Microsoft. There are numerous innovative games that I adore (Disgaea, Shadow of the Colossus, Lumines, Jeanne D'Arc, Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, everything PixelJunk) that I just don't see arriving without Sony as a platform. Sony not only incubates that kind of creativity in second parties, but they also provide a platform where it isn't going to be censored like it would be with Nintendo and where it has a chance of getting localized for the US.

Do we see half of those games without Sony? Would Microsoft have taken them on? Would Nintendo? Monster Hunter is big on other platforms now, but would it be where it was without someone developing a handheld like the PSP?

I feel like Sony fills the second most vital niche in the market next to Nintendo. Most of what's being done on the XBox (outside of XBLA) was either done previously on PCs or was done on Sony and Nintendo platforms. But Sony allows small studios with small runs of games to get a foothold and maybe run with it.

MoonDragon wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

The games industry (particularly on the platform side) needs more competition, not less.

So why not have this competition from a company that values customers? Why have it from a company that insists on anti-competitive practices; customer hostile practices; repeated attempts over many decades to lock the whole world into their proprietary non-standard formats, that they then do not stick with? What good has Sony delivered that we could not get elsewhere? And just maybe, when this giant competition killer dies, a new healthier eco-system can be developed.

That's an argument that can be made about Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple and Google as well in different ways. The only companies that can make a viable platform in this market are massive ones. Massive companies inherently fight against their customers because ultimately, being consumer focused always loses against being investor focused because the investors are what keep your executives employed. That's not a Sony problem, it's a big business problem.

Sony's gaming division was doing well, last I heard; its problem is that it's attached to a giant, failing behemoth. I think the worst that happens to Sony's gaming division is that they get cut off to be an independent entity or are bought by a competitor. I have a hard time seeing them folding entirely and shuttering the still incredibly successful PlayStation brand.

Sony is about as critical as Sega.. in fact.. none of these companies is critical.. the gaming industry would survive Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft all going away.. since in essence if they all did go away with NO ONE replacing them.. then the games industry has gone away.

If there is demand someone will meet it and in theory be successful. When there isn't demand or "enough" demand.. then some companies will have to fail.. or get smaller.

edit.. talking console.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Sony's gaming division was doing well, last I heard; its problem is that it's attached to a giant, failing behemoth. I think the worst that happens to Sony's gaming division is that they get cut off to be an independent entity or are bought by a competitor. I have a hard time seeing them folding entirely and shuttering the still incredibly successful PlayStation brand.

Are they reporting separately or are they lumped in with a failing division.. I'm not reading that the Games Division is doing anything but falling off a cliff.. unless Sony lumps them into something else that is dragging them down.. I'm not sure this statement is that true.

I'm totally willing to accept that my information is out of date or that I'm simply misinformed.

From
http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/fina...

Billions of yen, millions of U.S. dollars
2011 2012 2012
Sales and operating revenue ¥176.0 ¥148.2 -15.8% $1,899
Operating income 3.0 2.3 -23.8 29

Sales decreased 15.8% year-on-year (a 14% decrease on a constant currency basis) to 148.2 billion yen (1,899
million U.S. dollars). This decrease was primarily due to lower sales of hardware and software of the
PlayStation®3 (“PS3”) and PSP® (PlayStation Portable) (“PSP”), partially offset by the contribution of the
PlayStation®Vita (“PS Vita”) introduced in December 2011.
Operating income decreased 0.7 billion yen year-on-year to 2.3 billion yen (29 million U.S. dollars). This
decrease was due to the impact of the above-mentioned decrease in sales, as well as unfavorable foreign exchange
rates, partially offset by a decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses.

edit.. so its still profitable...but dropping down.. granted its the end of their lifecycle on the PS3 so one would expect a surge if/when the PS4 is released.. but with $29M coming from games that isnt a whole lot to devote to R&D and more notably risk and selling consoles at a loss.

Yea, Sony's problems aren't gaming related. It has to do with other stuff. Have you looked at Sony laptop or desktop lately? They used to be quite good, but now they're just overpriced. The televisions are not what they used to be, either, and the company's efforts in the smartphone and tablet spaces have fallen flat.

How does Sony hate customers? I'm talking about the games and Playstation divisions. From what I've read, the are easier to work with than Microsoft, Playstation Plus is a solid deal, doesn't cost any money to play online, and are the biggest player for 3rd party Japanese games. I'm aware and understand the security breach but applaud the compensation awarded.

I dunno if I love Sony as a company but I prefer PS3 over 360/Wii, PSP over DS, Vita over 3DS etc. etc. So I can't see how I could possible be better off if they went away. My Sony TV is pretty nice too.

And, yes, Playstation Plus is an awesome deal that makes XBL Gold look like a sick joke. And I would rather buy $5 PS1 games on PSN than $5 NES games on Virtual Console.

As long as Sony doesn't answer the phone when they see the caller ID is a creditor, and maybe they can hop from trailer park to trailer park and have hilarious adventures avoiding lawyers trying to serve them, this could be fun

IMAGE(http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mrshow_l_9209.jpg)

But without BluRay we'd all be using HD-DVD :C

They have outgrown themselves and I don't think they ever were "good guys" to be able to sort of mend their ways and regain customer trust.

Sony has two sides. They have their hardware division, which has always been capable of making amazing consumer electronic devices. And they have their media division, which demands that anything the hardware people do be suited to their interests, not the interests of customers.

Media is a tiny business compared to hardware, and Sony chose to follow the demands of the wrong part of the company. They have absolutely crippled their own ability to compete. If they had simply shed their media portion, and had stuck to hardware, at this point they'd probably make Apple look like an afterthought.

Basically, their media division prospers from making digital bits hard to copy. Since bits are not hard to copy, this business model, in the long run, is doomed. Making a copy of something has very little inherent value, since everyone who's a customer also has a specialized machine that can copy bits for free.

Making personal devices that make copying and sharing bits easier? That has very tangible, real value. The real value provided by Sony's hardware has been emasculated, chasing after the phony value of their media side. Thus, they are dying, because their devices are deliberately crippled, much less attractive to customers than they should be.

kazooka wrote:

Seems like somebody would cash in on Playstation, especially at a discount price. That's still a valuable brand in a billion dollar market.

Lenovo.
They picked up IBMs failing ThinkPad product line and have miraculously returned it to solvency.
The PlayStation brand is a very different beast, but I see Lenovo picking up the pieces quickly.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

That's an argument that can be made about Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple and Google as well in different ways. The only companies that can make a viable platform in this market are massive ones. Massive companies inherently fight against their customers because ultimately, being consumer focused always loses against being investor focused because the investors are what keep your executives employed. That's not a Sony problem, it's a big business problem.

I'll say that's the typical problem of the public company. Investor's ROI trumps everything else in the company's agenda.

Beating the "Valve is an awesome company" horse to a pulp here, but they have become the poster boy for putting customer experience first, and the profits will follow.

Vector wrote:

How does Sony hate customers? I'm talking about the games and Playstation divisions. From what I've read, the are easier to work with than Microsoft, Playstation Plus is a solid deal, doesn't cost any money to play online, and are the biggest player for 3rd party Japanese games. I'm aware and understand the security breach but applaud the compensation awarded.

They made their platform purposely more difficult to program for. I don't see that as easier to work with than MS.

PSN+ is a good deal if you find $50 a year for for "free" games that you have no choice in choosing, and disappear if you stop paying $50 a year.

Their online is free, but sucks compared to XBL, which forced Sony to sell their "good deal" to gamers in order to try to monetize their online service in some way. Their free online service did way more harm to gamers than it did to benefit them.

Competition is good, but I'd rather see Sega try to jump back in and provide a legitimate competitor to Microsoft in addition to Nintendo. Valve would be an even better choice to join this market.

Vector wrote:

How does Sony hate customers? I'm talking about the games and Playstation divisions. From what I've read, the are easier to work with than Microsoft, Playstation Plus is a solid deal, doesn't cost any money to play online, and are the biggest player for 3rd party Japanese games. I'm aware and understand the security breach but applaud the compensation awarded.

The PS3 has always been the hardest console to develop for, and there's plenty of articles out there. Hell, Kaz Hirai nearly got laughed off the stage when he insisted that it was a good thing at one point.

As for the Japanese market: Living there, I'd think you'd be more aware of this than most, but well, they're xenophobic. Exceptionally xenophobic. They don't like other people. Can't say I blame them, given the number of times they've been invaded and been put boot to neck in the last hundred years, but that drives a dislike and minimization of things which are not Japanese. Microsoft, Sharp, Samsung, etc, don't do terribly well as a result of this.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

I dunno if I love Sony as a company but I prefer PS3 over 360/Wii, PSP over DS, Vita over 3DS etc. etc. So I can't see how I could possible be better off if they went away. My Sony TV is pretty nice too.

And, yes, Playstation Plus is an awesome deal that makes XBL Gold look like a sick joke. And I would rather buy $5 PS1 games on PSN than $5 NES games on Virtual Console.

To each their own, but it's a different deal than XBL Gold is. XBL Gold is aimed(and extraordinarily successful) at being a premium online service for multiplayer and media consumption. Plus, on the other hand may want that, but doesn't do a fantastic, or even acceptable job by any measurable standard that I'm aware of. Multiplayer on the PSN is horrific.

Malor wrote:

Making personal devices that make copying and sharing bits easier? That has very tangible, real value. The real value provided by Sony's hardware has been emasculated, chasing after the phony value of their media side. Thus, they are dying, because their devices are deliberately crippled, much less attractive to customers than they should be.

In addition to that, the fact that as a rule, they're much pricier without being equally superior quality wise doesn't exactly make them appealing to consumers. The last time I'd considered buying a Sony set was probably 8 years ago. I looked at it sitting in a store next to a Sharp screen, and while the Sony set looked a touch better, it was also nearly double the price of the Sharp set. Two guesses as to what I walked out with. That's something I see a lot of in the HDTV thread; Sony does make good sets, but priced out of being competitive, because they want to be a premium brand in a market that doesn't value them as premium any more.

Hobbes2099 wrote:

Beating the "Valve is an awesome company" horse to a pulp here, but they have become the poster boy for putting customer experience first, and the profits will follow.

True, but Valve also isn't a public company (and supposedly has no interest in becoming one) which allows them to prioritize their customers.

AnimeJ wrote:

To each their own, but it's a different deal than XBL Gold is. XBL Gold is aimed(and extraordinarily successful) at being a premium online service for multiplayer and media consumption. Plus, on the other hand may want that, but doesn't do a fantastic, or even acceptable job by any measurable standard that I'm aware of. Multiplayer on the PSN is horrific.

I don't necessarily disagree with your first point but the problem is that I'm a casual multiplayer person at best, and so are many others. So the idea that I should pay just so I can dip in once or twice a month is pretty ridiculous. Really, the MS model of Gold/Silver is appropriate for hardcore online gamers and completely offline gamers. There is no in between. Also, they seem to understand that the value proposition of XBL Gold is sketchy at best so every update they try and shoehorn more stuff onto Gold, like Twitter, Facebook, ESPN, Netflix, Hulu, etc. The problem is, not only is that stuff freely available on PSN, much of the best stuff is North America only. So, as a subscriber in Asia, the value proposition of XBL Gold has not really improved for me since launch. Meanwhile, PSN has improved leaps and bounds. To say multiplayer on PSN is horrific is just hyperbole and that's all that needs to be said about that.

Jayhawker wrote:
Vector wrote:

How does Sony hate customers? I'm talking about the games and Playstation divisions. From what I've read, the are easier to work with than Microsoft, Playstation Plus is a solid deal, doesn't cost any money to play online, and are the biggest player for 3rd party Japanese games. I'm aware and understand the security breach but applaud the compensation awarded.

They made their platform purposely more difficult to program for. I don't see that as easier to work with than MS.

AnimeJ wrote:

The PS3 has always been the hardest console to develop for, and there's plenty of articles out there. Hell, Kaz Hirai nearly got laughed off the stage when he insisted that it was a good thing at one point.

To clarify, I meant the people and policies at Sony are much easier to deal with. I'm aware how difficult it is to code for it. A lot of independent developers prefer Sony because they are less strict. I'm not sure entirely what they are less strict about but I believe it has to do with file size and content releases.

Mr GT Chris wrote:
AnimeJ wrote:

To each their own, but it's a different deal than XBL Gold is. XBL Gold is aimed(and extraordinarily successful) at being a premium online service for multiplayer and media consumption. Plus, on the other hand may want that, but doesn't do a fantastic, or even acceptable job by any measurable standard that I'm aware of. Multiplayer on the PSN is horrific.

I don't necessarily disagree with your first point but the problem is that I'm a casual multiplayer person at best, and so are many others. So the idea that I should pay just so I can dip in once or twice a month is pretty ridiculous. Really, the MS model of Gold/Silver is appropriate for hardcore online gamers and completely offline gamers. There is no in between. Also, they seem to understand that the value proposition of XBL Gold is sketchy at best so every update they try and shoehorn more stuff onto Gold, like Twitter, Facebook, ESPN, Netflix, Hulu, etc. The problem is, not only is that stuff freely available on PSN, much of the best stuff is North America only. So, as a subscriber in Asia, the value proposition of XBL Gold has not really improved for me since launch. Meanwhile, PSN has improved leaps and bounds. To say multiplayer on PSN is horrific is just hyperbole and that's all that needs to be said about that.

Given that I've not heard anything good about PSN multiplayer from anyone who's used it, that's hardly hyperbole. The common descriptors are laggy, unreliable, non-intuitive, and variants thereof. Given that with XBL Gold, multiplayer is intuitive, reliable and generally lag free(provided the host connection is decent), horrific is about the best adjective I can think of.

That said, you're right about XBL being less attractive outside North America. But that's a regional issue; the service is fantastic, so if you want to throw hyperbole around, calling it a "sick joke" meets that bar more than calling PSN's multiplayer "horrific".

Vector wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Vector wrote:

How does Sony hate customers? I'm talking about the games and Playstation divisions. From what I've read, the are easier to work with than Microsoft, Playstation Plus is a solid deal, doesn't cost any money to play online, and are the biggest player for 3rd party Japanese games. I'm aware and understand the security breach but applaud the compensation awarded.

They made their platform purposely more difficult to program for. I don't see that as easier to work with than MS.

AnimeJ wrote:

The PS3 has always been the hardest console to develop for, and there's plenty of articles out there. Hell, Kaz Hirai nearly got laughed off the stage when he insisted that it was a good thing at one point.

To clarify, I meant the people and policies at Sony are much easier to deal with. I'm aware how difficult it is to code for it. A lot of independent developers prefer Sony because they are less strict. I'm not sure entirely what they are less strict about but I believe it has to do with file size and content releases.

My understanding is that it's more about certification, same deal with why historically it's such a pain in the tail to get DLC out.