Sony Shows How Brand Power Can’t Conquer All

Sony Corp. recently saw the coronation of Kazuo Hirai as CEO, and he promises to reform the company. However, with projected losses of $6.4 billion this year, the company is in severe trouble and its stock is now a fraction of Apple’s and Samsung’s.

“It’s almost game over at Sony,” said Yoshiaki Sakito, a former Sony executive who has worked for Walt Disney, Bain & Company, Apple and a start-up focused on innovation training. “I don’t see how Sony’s going to bounce back now.”

The company was unable to corner the digital music player market despite having resources to do so and has been unable to successfully counter Apple’s iTunes. Meanwhile, lower-cost manufacturers from South Korea, China and elsewhere have commoditized other products like televisions.

“At this point, Sony just needs some strategy, any strategy, because that is better than no strategy at all,” said Sea-Jin Chang, chairman for business policy at the National University of Singapore and author of Sony vs. Samsung: The Inside Story of the Electronics Giants’ Battle for Global Supremacy.

There’s also the issue with the PS3, which came out after the Xbox 360 and cost significantly more than the Wii to make. The more general issue with Sony Corp., however, is one that dogs many Japanese corporations these days – the lack of innovation.

“Ten years ago, these companies were major technology innovators, the creators or leading developers of many electronic products and trendsetting devices such as televisions, digital cameras, portable music players and games consoles,” said Steve Durose, head of Asia Pacific telecommunications, media and technology ratings at Fitch Ratings. “Today, however, the number of products remaining where they can boast undisputed global leadership has narrowed significantly, having being usurped or equaled by the likes of Apple and Samsung Electronics.”

There’s also an issue with brand confusion, with 10 different camcorder models and 30 different televisions. “Sony makes too many models, and for none of them can they say, ‘This contains our best, most cutting-edge technology,’ ” said Sakito. “Apple, on the other hand, makes one amazing phone in just two colors and says, ‘This is the best.’ ”

Sony recently kept services like music, movies and games on their own networks, only recently trying to unite them under the banner of the Sony Entertainment Network. An anonymous former Sony executive said these services “have different looks, feels and user-experiences” and are “super-disjointed. Sony has been talking networks for so long, but there’s really nothing very tangible,” he said.

While Hirai says that the company will focus on mobile devices, cameras and camcorders and games, he has not committed to ejecting the money-losing TV business. “The bottom line is: if you want to be perceived as a creator of cool tech, you have to create cool tech. The challenge for Sony is that those examples have not been there, and they haven’t been there now for a number of years,” said Steve Beck, founder and managing partner at cg42, a management consulting firm. “The tarnish on their brand has definitely begun.”

Source: New York Times

CTIA – Wireless Mind

CTIA-The Wireless Association is not without its own public controversies. However, they’re trying to put a better face on what they do with an ad that showcases the many uses of mobile devices these days.

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Draw A Beetle

Volkswagen invites you to test your drawing skills with this amazing site {link no longer active} launched for the Norwegian market. It starts simply: Draw a VW Beetle. Your artistic creation then trundles through various other scenes, and you’re asked to draw key parts of the story. For example, sketch a guitar and then watch a character play it, then make a bucket that will tip over and ‘paint’ your hand-drawn Beetle.

Wasteland 2 — Funding At $3 Million, Production Begins

The Wasteland 2 Kickstarter has been funded, with the total exceeding $3 million. This means that the game will have development support from developers at Obsidian and will see mod tools created during the regular development process.

“We did it!  Thanks to each and every one of you, we have completed our incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign,” wrote Brian Fargo. “It has been an amazing ride and one of the most memorable achievements I’ve ever had.  Being able to interact with you all on such a personal level has been amazing.  I can’t imagine going back to making games any other way.  With Double Fine’s success, the world was watching to see if that was an anomaly or if this fan-funded approach could be a viable means of changing the world of video games.  Together, we’ve proved that fan-funding is here to stay and we can’t wait to see where you take it next.  We are fully committed to doing whatever we can to keep this movement alive and strong.”

Everyone that had difficulties with their payments will be contacted by Kickstarter and they will have a week to correct their information or their payment will be voided. Those that have to share personal info in the Kickstarter because of their reward tier will be asked to do so via email.

“We have opened up a store at  We currently have the digital copy available for $20, and we will leave that pre-order up during production,” added Fargo. “If you have friends that missed out on the Kickstarter but still want a copy of the game, they can go there and still get it cheaper than after it is released. Also, if you forgot to add $15 for international shipping on physical rewards, we have added a PayPal option to do so in the store.  In the near future, we will open a backer-only store with some great exclusive items that won’t be available to the general public.”

“So, now we get started on the game!  We are in full production mode for the next 18 months.  Expect to see many updates as we start to shape the experience that you’ve helped create.  If you want to stay in the loop in between our Kickstarter updates, head to our blog and forums at  We will be spending a lot of time interacting with all of you there,” he concluded.


EverQuest Sees Usage Up 40 Percent After Free-To-Play

SOE has revealed some facts about EverQuest since the game switched over to free-to-play. Concurrent usage is up 40 percent since going F2P, while there’s been a 125 percent increase in Item sales.

Furthermore, unique log-ins have increased by 150 percent and EQ registrations have increased 3.5 times since F2P. In particular game stats, the most popular Races purchased are Dark Elves and Drakkin, the most popular Classes purchased are Necromancers and Shaman and the most popular Mount purchased is the Black Pegasus (AKA Onyx Skystrider).

Playfish Veteran Talks About Marketing During Gameplay

Kristian Segerstrale, founder of Playfish and now EA’s EVP of digital, says that games must properly market themselves to gamers. The switch to digital means that there has to be a more personal relationship with customers, he asserts.

“The games industry isn’t alone in this transformation we’re seeing,” said Segerstrale. “Music and movies have also made the digital switch. Sure, the business models have changed, but the consumer experience is vastly superior. We’re clearly going from boxed products to digital services. We’re going from up-front business models to games where the up-front cost is smaller and smaller, where there are free to play games out there. With this shift, our relationship with our consumer sometimes becomes more important than our relationship with the [retail] channels.”

“No longer is the event of picking up a game tied to monetization. We’re going to see a decoupling of those things. You need to think of it like a consumer internet business, where acquisition is just the beginning,” he added. “Rather than having one side of the company making games and other getting them to consumers, now the whole company needs to take part in those processes. The [promotion] outside the game is important, but what really matters is the real-estate in the games themselves.”

Players have to discover things while they are playing a game, and it’s important to have a network of cross-promotions and other interconnected social services, with games linking to each other in some way and increasing exposure. “It’s about brands across ecosystems — not isolated islands, but experiences across ecosystems,” Segerstrale said.

Source: Gamasutra

MLB 2K12 Sees Half Million Attempts At Perfection

2K Sports announced that 546,000 perfect game attempts in Major League Baseball 2K12 have been logged. 520 verified perfect games have also been confirmed since the Perfect Game Challenge began on the Opening Day of the MLB season on April 4, 2012.

“It’s been an incredible turnout for this year’s competition, but it’s not surprising how rapidly the fans have challenged themselves,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. “We expected a fierce competition and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the qualifying round reach one million attempts when it’s all over.”

The MLB 2K12 $1 Million Perfect Game Challenge will conclude on April 30, 2012, with the top eight competitors on the dynamic leaderboard receiving a trip to New York City in May to compete in a single elimination tournament at the MLB Fan Cave to determine the winner of the $1 million prize. The current standings in the competition can be viewed at