An Open Letter to Sony
Hey, it's Scott, your old friend at Crispy Gamer. What up?
I'm writing because, frankly, old friend, we're more than a little concerned about you these days. We wake up at night thinking about you. OK, so it was only the one time that we woke up thinking about you. Most nights we wake up thinking about world peace, or candy, or maybe Cheryl Tiegs .
The point is this: We are officially worried. It was kind of cute at first, watching you trip over your own feet after nearly a decade of market dominance. It was endearing when you showed off that silly Batarang version of the PlayStation 3 controller at E3 2005, only to backtrack in 2006 and replace it with the tried-and-true DualShock. And when you let that Gran Turismo demo at E3 2006 run endlessly for an impatient, toe-tapping audience of 3,000 industry folks -- beep, beep! -- we thought, "Hey, isn't it kind of nice to see that Sony is human after all? Isn't it?"
And then you announced, in a take-that-Nintendo-Wii move, that the DualShock would have -- surprise! -- Sixaxis control. Tilt it this way, tilt it that way, good times ensue. We wrung our hands. We thought, "Since when does Sony retaliate? Since when do they answer to anybody?"
Yes, we all wanted PSPs. You made us want them. So sleek, and black, and shiny! And then, suddenly, we didn't want them anymore. Watching UMD movies was supposed to be cool. But it wasn't. Especially when it cost $29.99 for a f***ing copy of "Be Cool." And we could watch the same damn crappy movie on our iPod Touch for a fraction of the cost.
Ever since all of this went down, Sony, you've been stumbling around like a beered-up bar patron trying to find the light switch in the men's room before he pisses himself.
It's hard to hear, I know. The truth always is.
Don Mattrick, that Prince Valiant-haired exec at Microsoft, has very publicly said that the Xbox 360 will "kill" the PlayStation 3. We slapped our knees when he said this. We thought he was doing stand-up. Oh, ho, ho, Don! You are hilarious! Then Don said it a second time. And a third time. And you know what? A little doubt crept in around the edges. We thought, "Oh, lord. Don might be right."
We see now what Don was doing in this moment. He borrowed a page from your own playbook, Sony. He talked tough. He acted confident. And if you do that long enough, and you look people in the eye when you say something, they start believing you.
So we all went home and looked askance at our PS3s. We thought, "What exactly is this thing? How did it get in my house?" We thought, "How did so many smart, rich people make so many poor, knuckleheaded choices?" We thought, "Future-proof? This thing isn't even Thursday-proof."
And then things started going your way, Sony! HD DVD dug its own grave, got into it, and pulled dirt over itself. Blu-ray had won. The war was over! Bring on the tankards of mead! Better still, 360s began dropping dead as if a plague had swept through Game Land. Red Rings of Death were everywhere. Cardboard coffins filled with dead 360s shipped to and from Texas at an alarming rate.
We were sure of it: This was the turning of the tide. We could feel it: the old Sony confidence coming back! It was like watching Brett Favre or Cher come out of retirement; we braced ourselves for a new Golden Age. So what if a few of your tent-pole titles turned out to be duds? Warhawk and Lair? We hardly knew you. "OK, fine," we said. "Every system has its share of first-generation duds. And the PS3 is still young. It has so much potential."
And then along came those 10-, 20-, even 30-minute mandatory installs to the hard drive. A collective "WTF" was issued by the press. Developers defended themselves by proclaiming the PS3 a difficult machine to program.
The tankards of celebratory mead were hauled away. Cue: darkness and suffering.
"Home"? It was a punch line at inception. Now, years in development, it's become a reluctant metaphor for all of your woes: You've spent millions -- billions, even -- creating something that no one wants; you've conjured a world that no one with a discerning bone in his body wants to inhabit.
Your latest hotfoot: The PSP Go. Another punch line at inception. I don't even know what to say about this one, Sony. $250? For this? I mean, honestly, I'm speechless. I'm ... I'm just going to grab a pillow and punch it for the next eight minutes.
OK, back. All of this is to say, we sorely miss your old swagger. We thought we wanted Nintendo to rule again. What a mistake we made. What a terrible, terrible mistake. We can't go to a press event or industry gathering now without being overwhelmed with Nintendo's attitude. We've created a monster -- one that makes our parents buy Wiis for themselves and barrages us with charts and graphs to remind us how awesome they are.
We need you to get back on your feet, Sony; to sober up -- here, drink this strong cup of coffee -- and dust yourself off. And we need you to deliver a shoelaces-to-chin uppercut to Nintendo.
We thought we were tired of your extravagant E3 parties. Wrong again. We miss how you once threw money around like it was water and you were surrounded by many rings of fire. We miss going out to the Dodger Stadium parking lot and eating big pieces of prime rib on tiny paper plates, guzzling Patron, and then using those awesome Port-O-Potties. (The best Port-O-Potties money could buy. They even had running water. Posh.) Then, at the end of the night, you'd shuttle us back to our crappy hotels like sleepy, overfed, drunken children, our complimentary Sony duffel bags sitting in our laps.
It was like Hollywood in the '40s! Or New York in the '80s! It was an era, man. More importantly, it was an era defined by you. You owned this industry back then. PWNED it, even.
It's time to rise from your grave. Take back what is yours. Bare your fangs. We know you have them.
Fight, damn it, fight!
To quote the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet known as Megan Fox in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen": "I love you, I love you, I love you."
Scott Jones, Crispy Gamer