Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Can A Company Itself Suffer From Stress? A Sony Concern

Since E3 2005, there has been a slow but gradual increase in associated problems within the Sony Corporation. Hundred million dollar fines, lawsuits, loans, marked decrease in profits, technical problems and delays with the PS3, Cell, and Blu-Ray, as well as mounting negative press and doubts raised from developers/analysts (and some ex-Sony insiders) of Sony's abilities and next-gen gaming strategy. People like Phil Harrison, Ken Kutaragi, and Kaz Hirai have all steadily grown bitter towards other companies, have snapped at reporters asking regular tough questions, and dropped bitchy remarks here and there. Given the increasing popularity of Nintendo's Wii and MS' Xbox 360, given all the PS3 problems and delays, and given all the day-to-day pressures and deadlines and 16 hour work days being put in, it would seem to me that Sony Corp itself is literally suffering from Stress. Top managers in all companies know that they always walk the plank when it comes to their own job security. Shareholders literally hire and fire at a whim. Their jobs are always under regular scrutiny from month to month, performance-based contract structure. Meanwhile, obviously Nintendo and MS still have their high-doses of pressures, demands, and problems related to their services. MS has taken on a whole load of weight in planning for Vista, Live Anywhere, Zune, the 360, MS Gaming Division, and the rumored hand-held. Nintendo has no doubt had a huge amount of exhaustive work put in towards making the revolutionary technology of the Wii functional and bug-free. Not to mention their almost paranoid levels of ensuring secrets remain secrets. However, despite all that, Nintendo and MS seem to be a lot more casual and fun in their ad campaigns and conferences. E3 2005 and E3 2006 demonstrated this clearly. A lot more humor, fun, casual dress, stunts and gags shown by MS and Nintendo. While Sony's two E3 conferences were almost soulless in being over-professional and focused on boasting about technical specifications. I think that Sony Corp is literally suffering from Corp-wide stress from the topmost levels all the way down to the factory floor. More than ever before, the well-being of Sony itself hinges on the success or failure of Blu-Ray, the Cell, and the PS3. Aware of this, and facing escalating technical problems/delays, it would seem it's all taking its toll on their three most visual spokespersons - Kutaragi, Hirai and Harrison. Perhaps this stress is not going to dissipate once the PS3 launches either. As a lot will still be going on behind the scenes thruout 2007 to ensure the PS3, the Cell, and the Blu-Ray are successful. My take on all this is that it would surely affect the launch of the PS3 and the desirability of the PS3 itself. Sony have before offended people in their ad campaigns, have put people offside in attempting to place their brand as far more high-class than it ever used to be, and their oft-times arrogance or bitchiness could also alter the way many consumers perceive Sony or the PS3. A swell of support for the more laid-back and consumer-friendly Xbox360 and Wii is not a coincidence when compared to the way Sony has been behaving the last two years. Stress sufferers will tell you that they're in control. But ex-stress sufferers will tell you how they couldn't see the forest from the trees in their stressful days, how they made many mistakes while thinking they were good moves, etc. Hopefully, Sony can somehow find a soul again. However, just when this may occur is uncertain, as a long hard road still awaits them not only in the hectic lead-up to launch day 2006, but thruout 2007 when all three consoles are officially 'live' and the console wars will move into trench-warfare.


Blogger Zucas said...

Well as you said all companies undergo stress and I have no clue whether any company is breaking under it. But all 3 companies have to do things in things that just may seem impossible. Like the stress for MS to try to get out a good console a year before the comp must have been a load of pressure. But I think you just have to be confident in everything you do and not show disapproval of anything you do.

Look at Nintendo with all the hate for doing things such as changing the name, not going the same route as others, changing the controller design, ect they haven't once said that they don't think it's a good idea. They kept up with their plan and they stuck to it and they have confidence in what they are doing. That's just strong confidnence. MS had strong confidence in their early release and stuck to it and didn't once say that they maybe they shouldn't have done it due to shortages. Even with all the hate that came from doing it they stuck with it. But I'm starting to see that confidence barrier run out on Sony and frustration is kicking in. Like maybe blu-ray was a bad idea or maybe selling it off as a PC is the wrong way to go and as you said you are seeing that in interviews the frustration. I think if Sony wants to be successful they need to have no second thoughts and just say we made a gaming machine that will replace your PC and it's going to have the revolutionary blu-ray. It'll be a little more pricey but that's what we are doing and we are confident you'll jump in on it. If Sony gets that attitude they'll start getting much better press and hype.

7/25/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger gg said...

Indeed, a tinge of self-doubt is starting to creep into Sony, while at the same time an almost offended sense of self-justification is also being shown, especially by Kutaragi - whose shoulders I think everything PS3 rests upon. While Harrison and Hirai have shown at times to talk about Sony/PS3 from a distance - during those times a little bit of dissension can actually be seen in some of the things Hirai says. Perhaps there's been some major arguments or disagreements between those three men during the last two years about the direction of the PS3. Is a public spat or parting of ways perhaps on the cards in 2007?

7/25/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger SUPRAMAN84 said...

Serenity Now!!!!!!

7/25/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger PS3 Fan said...

M$ has had its share of lawsuits,fines etc,bad press & Image.They all go thru it.M$ had its fair share of bad press at X360 launch and thru it,when gamers got really pissed off at M$ for not having enuff consoles to meet demand.

7/26/2006 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger SUPRAMAN84 said...

Sony's getting sued as we speak. hahahahah

7/26/2006 06:52:00 AM  
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