Home
Twitter
RSS
Newsletter
Phil Larsen
24 Mar, 2007

Apathy dominates Australian PS3 launch

PS3 Feature | A surprisingly subdued reaction to the PS3's Aussie debut.
The festivities for the Australian launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 began late on Thursday 22nd March. Since the pre-orders started coming in, retailers all over have started setting themselves up for a midnight launch. These midnight festivities have started becoming big trends for all major console and game launches. It's the symbolism of obtaining that new piece of gaming goodness as soon as physically possible that is appealing - rather than people being physically unable to wait an extra eight or nine hours.

So, as expected, Sony threw a massive launch party to celebrate the PS3 going on sale. However, the situation wasn't nearly as glorious as was anticipated - a comparatively miniscule number of customers actually went to the effort of showing up.

The biggest event went down at the Myer's Pitt Street store in Sydney. Barricades were set up, security were on hand and the effervescent radio personality Lizzy Lovett was on stage ready to rev the crowd. At 9:30pm, only a showing of Casino Royale away from sales, noone had shown up to wait in the barricaded line. Still, the night progressed relatively steadily, and eventually the crowd rose to around 70 customers - with several hundred cash-strapped onlookers.

The first happy customer.

The first happy customer.
Close
The bigwigs of the night included Michael Ephraim, Sony Australia Managing Director, and Bernie Brooks, CEO of Myer. Their enthusiasm masked an obvious disappointment, and a few direct questions were skirted over. GameSpot AU grabbed an interview with Bernie, and asked a rather simple question concerning how the midnight launch compared to those for the Wii and 360. Bernie began with the classic diversion, "It's a fascinating question...."

It isn't really.

The PALGN staff were on hand around the country to check out various launches from assorted retailers - JB Hifi and EB Games to name just a few. The problem was, despite claiming most stores would be open at the stroke of midnight to dish out the technology, numerous locations were locked and deserted. The Brisbane CBD Harvey Norman was completely inaccessible, various Electronics Boutique stores were locked tight and - given the small number of customers who attended the biggest launch in the country - we couldn't have expected more at other locations.

Yours truly also checked in at one of the most successful EB stores in the country at midday today, and there was still a pile of unsold consoles ready to go out the back. They were selling steadily throughout the day, but the snap-it-up attitude of Aussie consumers just wasn't out in force over the last 24 hours.

Slinking in the shadows for now.

Slinking in the shadows for now.
Close
Plenty of sources have revealed their reactions to the launch, and it's a mixed bag. Danny Zarka, the first person to pick up the new console from Myer, said, "I'm surprised there aren't more people here, I thought the place would be packed." Meanwhile, The Age newspaper promptly published an article entitled, "Crowds go mild at PlayStation launch".

The reactions of retailers are seemingly bright. Brooks cited a figure of $2 million worth of pre-orders for the console for Myer alone. Harvey Norman is also expecting over $10 million worth of PS3 sales by Monday.

And from the Kotaku gaming forums, Digital_Sky's reaction was impressed. "Um, 80 people seems like a *lot* to me. Maybe not as much as hype-mongers might want you to think would come, but an 80-person turnout on launch night in one location doesn't exactly sound like total abject plummeting failure. 20 people, maybe, would."

Though many people are already condemning Sony to failure, a few are on the straight and narrow, taking it with politically correct optimism. From our very own forums, Andronicus simply noted, "When the price point has come down to a level that the average consumer thinks they can justify paying, then I'm sure things will pick up. And anyway, it's only been on sale for less than a day."

Apparently nothing can dampen their spirits!

Apparently nothing can dampen their spirits!
Close
The reaction to the PS3 launch hasn't exactly been positive, to say the least. So what does this mean for Sony? It demonstrates a lack of Australian eagerness to put down the cash for the unit, but perhaps this is not quite unexpected. The $6 million marketing campaign is now in full swing (having launched today), and the aim is to educate consumers about what the PS3 can offer beyond just gaming. The PS3 is indeed an impressive piece of technology, even touted as an investment by the Sony team, so it will take some time for Sony to pick up the consumer slack and move those units.

A Sony spokeswoman in the Sydney Morning Herald said, "The marketing tag line for PlayStation 3 is 'This is Living' and you'll see this develop with time to include broader messaging beyond gaming enthusiasts; after launch we will begin our approach to communicate with entertainment enthusiasts and beyond."

Compared to Microsoft's $1 million marketing campaign for the 360, Sony are really looking to spend money in order to make money. They have some catching up to do, and the poor reaction to the launch did little to hit the accelerator. Still, the black box is out right now, so check out our official PS3 Launch Hub for all the details on the when, where, why and how of Sony's console for 2007.

------------------------------------
PS3 Launch Hub

Related Content

Genji: Days of the Blade Review
22 Mar, 2007 Days of the 1996 camera.
PlayStation 3: Wait & See
21 Mar, 2007 The logical, conservative side of the story. How boring, right?
PSP Extras Feature
19 Nov, 2006 A look at the new Media Manager and more extras for your PSP.
57 Comments
7 years ago
Price is one of the major issues, and maybe the gizillian PS2 owners don't want to "jump in" yet. But for a launch day, it was very underwhelming.
7 years ago
Part of the issue is that most "hardcore gamers" have already bought a 360, and they probably aren't in a hurry to get another "HD" console. The PS3 will have to prove itself first.

And the casual "Buzz, EyeToy and Singstar" gamers that drove the PS2's growth over the last few years aren't likely to spend $1000 on a console.

So, really, who is the PS3 for (at the moment)?
7 years ago
^Sony fanboys and tech heads. Of which I definitely thought there would have been much more than there were.
7 years ago
Quote
The largest event was held at Sydney's Pitt St mall, where retail store Myer and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia teamed up to present launch-night activities, which included prize giveaways, live demonstrations, and a screening of Casino Royale on the big screen. Approximately 70 people lined up to grab their consoles at the Myer Pitt St store, with a hundred-strong crowd looking on. The PS3's arrival comes exactly one year after Microsoft's Xbox 360 launched in Australia. Microsoft's launch event for the 360--which was also held in Sydney's Pitt St mall--drew a crowd of close to 1,000 people.
Thats taken from one of Gamespots articles.... strange there was such a large gap between the two consoles at launch. Price seems to be hurting the PS3, but maybe it will just take time before it gets into a stride.

Do launches really mean that much in the long run?
7 years ago
Beepos wrote
Do launches really mean that much in the long run?
No, but a console should get a good boost at the start. I remember crowds racing in to get a 360, strangely not for PS3.
7 years ago
Well in some cases lauches and the few months after will make or break a console.

Like the PS3 is only selling 20K units a week in japan. If this keeps up for the next few months, then the PS3 will be dead.

It really depends on how well a console does in the first year; which either makes or breaks it.
7 years ago
sephiaya wrote
It really depends on how well a console does in the first year; which either makes or breaks it.
The main reason for this is that developers will generally target the console with the largest marketshare (for obvious reasons - they can sell more games if they do).

So, if a console lags behind, developers will get scared off. This means that gamers will see a "drought", and won't buy the console. Which will in-turn scare developers away even more.

It's a negative-feedback loop. A death spiral. Once it begins, it is virtually impossible to break out of it.
7 years ago
DancesInUnderwear wrote
^Sony fanboys and tech heads. Of which I definitely thought there would have been much more than there were.
True, aside from families who have decided to make the investment/have been nagged by their kids. I can't see many causal gamers picking one up.

I think you should factor in the remaining "hardcore gamers" who didn't buy a 360 (such as myself), people like me are helping to sell units as well.
7 years ago
admeister wrote
I think you should factor in the remaining "hardcore gamers" who didn't buy a 360 (such as myself), people like me are helping to sell units as well.
But you're not helping local sales numbers, which is what we're talking about here icon_razz.gif

I'm waiting for the sales figured after a week or so - I reckon that'll be interesting to see how much sales have picked up.
7 years ago
Karai Pantsu wrote
admeister wrote
I think you should factor in the remaining "hardcore gamers" who didn't buy a 360 (such as myself), people like me are helping to sell units as well.
But you're not helping local sales numbers, which is what we're talking about here icon_razz.gif
Yeah, yeah. icon_lol.gif I know that, but I was really trying to mention people like me, not necessarily myself. icon_razz.gif
7 years ago
Yeah, just taking the piss a bit icon_wink.gif

What's the next Big game for the PS3? A GeoW type system seller is what they really need right now - something to sell the console to gamers, and force their hands to their wallets.


A price cut would work too, I guess icon_razz.gif
7 years ago
Karai Pantsu wrote
Yeah, just taking the piss a bit icon_wink.gif

What's the next Big game for the PS3? A GeoW type system seller is what they really need right now - something to sell the console to gamers, and force their hands to their wallets.
Resistance has often been quoted as the PS3's "GoW", and I suppose it is for now. As for the price cut, sure they could use it, but keep dreaming, especially after the poor launch reception here. They're already losing money on every console, I doubt they can go any lower.
7 years ago
Resistance may be a great game, but its a modest achiever. It hasn't caused a whirlwind comparable to GeoW.
7 years ago
If Metal Gear Solid 4 were released at PS3 launch, they would have been doing much better.
7 years ago
rodvcpetrie wrote
If Metal Gear Solid 4 were released at PS3 launch, they would have been doing much better.
And the PS3 would have retailed for $500. icon_rolleyes.gif If MGS4 had been a launch title, I would have been shocked.
7 years ago
Short term; Easter break is a good focal point.

As far as attacking the market, I'd say MGS 4 is their next opportunity to go on the offensive. Until then, they will focus connecting Bluray with films such as Spiderman 3. In my humble opinion - this will not yield results. PS3 needs games not movies.
7 years ago
The main people who go to midnight launches (massive fans) are the only thing pushing the system at the moment. Maybe Sony will have better luck once they drop the price.
7 years ago
^ As if they'll be dropping the price anytime soon. 2009 would probably be the earliest.
7 years ago
Here's an alternate intro I was writing for this article. I couldn't really tie it together at the end, so gave up, but it does give a bit more additional info, so I might as well post it here.

-----------------------
The Xbox 360 launched in Australia on March 23rd 2006. Despite the several launch delays and a relatively high local price, the event was considered by many to be a massive success with over 1000 faithful braving the rain to attend. The reaction by both the media and public was almost unanimously positive.

Precisely 12 months later, the PS3 has reached Australian shores. The events surrounding the launch were surprisingly familiar. Once again, the launch has been twice delayed and once again PAL gamers are faced with high retail prices. Even the official PS3 launch was held on the same street as the Xbox 360 launch (although this time in a Myer store,
instead of an EB). Despite the similarities, there was one major difference; the turnout. At its peak, only 300 people were milling around to watch Casino Royal on the big screen – and only 60 of those made the plunge to purchase the console at once midnight arrived.


Reactions from both the public and media have been far more mixed this time around.

The Sydney Morning Herald published a rather scathing report on the launch entitled Crowds go mild at PlayStation launch.

"The launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 games console got off to a feeble start last night with officials, media and security outnumbering customers for most of the evening."

"At midnight, about 40 PS3 buyers had arrived to collect their consoles, causing distress for the army of camera crews who turned up expecting to capture launch mayhem. Desperate producers unashamedly asked the crowd to fake excitement when the cameras were rolling, while a team from 2Day FM let out bogus cheers to convince their radio listeners that a launch extravaganza was underway."

"Danny Zarka, 31, was first in line to collect his PS3 … "I'm surprised there aren't more people here, I thought the place would be packed," he said."
7 years ago
icon_lol_old.gif 'Crowds go mild'. I love it. So simple yet so good.

This whole thing makes me very happy, I was worried PS3 would have a fairly successful launch. Sony truly deserves to lose this generation (though I can barely remember why any more, does that make me a Sony anti-fanboy? icon_smile.gif), and it really looks like they could now.
7 years ago
Karai Pantsu wrote
Yeah, just taking the piss a bit icon_wink.gif

What's the next Big game for the PS3? A GeoW type system seller is what they really need right now - something to sell the console to gamers, and force their hands to their wallets.
Isn't GTA 4 out soon? Or is it multiplatform? That would be a huge system seller, especially with the new graphics engine.

IRT Nova Prime:
I would be pro-Sony if it launched for the same price as the XBox360. When I heard the $1000 price tag I dropped any idea of owning a PS3 in the near future.
7 years ago
InvivnI wrote
Isn't GTA 4 out soon? Or is it multiplatform? That would be a huge system seller, especially with the new graphics engine.
It's multiplatform, and it's out in October (in the US).

MGS and Final Fantasy are the two big franchises that will possibly sell the PS3, but I doubt they will be enough to justify the price.

Plus, either or both could end up cross-platform yet.
7 years ago
Maybe exclusives will be eliminated altogether, or at least only exclusive for short periods before going multiplatform.

I'd say that a production company would want their product to be experienced by all gamers regardless of the console they own. It ensures more $$$.
7 years ago
why all b negative? have u used the ps3? online is better & free? i got my ps3 at midnight and it is a great console. 360 has been disappointing except 4 gears. not 1 decent car racing game.
Add Comment
Like this feature?
Share it with this tiny url: http://palg.nu/1nn

N4G : News for Gamers         Twitter This!

Digg!     Stumble This!

| More
Currently Popular on PALGN
Australian Gaming Bargains - 08/12/11
'Tis the season to be bargaining.
R18+ Legislation
R18+ Legislation
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Preview
Hands on time with the game. Chat time with the CEO of CyberConnect 2.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2007
24 titles to keep an eye on during 2007.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2008
And you thought 2007 was populated.