Activision CEO Steps Up His Calls For PS3 Price Cut

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Posted by Jeff (3662 posts) -
Kotick, Robert A.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick hasn't exactly been subtle about his desire to see Sony cut the price of the PlayStation 3. Today, he's trying to take that public prodding to a new level by telling UK-based Times Online that if Sony doesn't cut the price of its hardware, Activision may have to reconsider its support for the console.

Here are the relevant bits:
“They have to cut the price, because if they don't, the attach rates [the number of games each console owner buys] are likely to slow. If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony.” Ask when and he says: “When we look at 2010 and 2011, we might want to consider if we support the console — and the PSP [portable] too.”
He also states that games on the Wii and Xbox platforms are providing a better return on Activision's development investments.

So where does this grandstanding actually lead? I'm willing to bet that it's not going to change a thing when it comes to Activision's future lineup. Even if the entire company starts to collectively view the PlayStation 3 as an afterthought (though some might argue that they already do), they're still going to be dumping money into Xbox 360 and PC development. And they'll still want to maximize the return on that investment... by porting those games to as many different platforms as possible. The relatively lower costs of porting that code to make it run on a PlayStation 3 probably aren't as harsh as Kotick's quotes make it sound, because it's not like Activision is out there making games exclusively for the PS3 or anything like that.

Put another way, they're already doing most of the work when they develop a game for other modern platforms. Not putting it on the PlayStation 3 probably isn't the huge cost-cutter that he's making it out to be.

Even if carried out to its fullest tantrum-like potential, the most you'd probably see would be a drop in quality on the PS3 versions of some Activision games, sort of like they were back at the platform's launch. It might also impact Activision's peripheral game market, since they have to go and produce PS3-specific versions of turntables, guitars, and skateboards. But even though Activision's PS2 games brought in more money than its PS3 games last year, it's not likely to want to toss out all of the $241 million that it brought in from PS3 game sales last year.

So he's bluffing.

Sony's been passing around a comment in response to the story. Here's Gamasutra's version of said comment, attributed to Sony's Patrick Seybold:
"PlayStation has tremendous momentum coming out of E3, and we are seeing positive growth with more than 350 titles slated to hit across all our platforms, including many anticipated games from our publishing partners. We enjoy healthy business relationships with and greatly value our publishing partners and are working closely with them to deliver the best entertainment experience."
What, you were expecting some kind of "we don't want Activision's money-making music garbage on our platform anyway" retort?
#1 Posted by Jeff (3662 posts) -
Kotick, Robert A.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick hasn't exactly been subtle about his desire to see Sony cut the price of the PlayStation 3. Today, he's trying to take that public prodding to a new level by telling UK-based Times Online that if Sony doesn't cut the price of its hardware, Activision may have to reconsider its support for the console.

Here are the relevant bits:
“They have to cut the price, because if they don't, the attach rates [the number of games each console owner buys] are likely to slow. If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony.” Ask when and he says: “When we look at 2010 and 2011, we might want to consider if we support the console — and the PSP [portable] too.”
He also states that games on the Wii and Xbox platforms are providing a better return on Activision's development investments.

So where does this grandstanding actually lead? I'm willing to bet that it's not going to change a thing when it comes to Activision's future lineup. Even if the entire company starts to collectively view the PlayStation 3 as an afterthought (though some might argue that they already do), they're still going to be dumping money into Xbox 360 and PC development. And they'll still want to maximize the return on that investment... by porting those games to as many different platforms as possible. The relatively lower costs of porting that code to make it run on a PlayStation 3 probably aren't as harsh as Kotick's quotes make it sound, because it's not like Activision is out there making games exclusively for the PS3 or anything like that.

Put another way, they're already doing most of the work when they develop a game for other modern platforms. Not putting it on the PlayStation 3 probably isn't the huge cost-cutter that he's making it out to be.

Even if carried out to its fullest tantrum-like potential, the most you'd probably see would be a drop in quality on the PS3 versions of some Activision games, sort of like they were back at the platform's launch. It might also impact Activision's peripheral game market, since they have to go and produce PS3-specific versions of turntables, guitars, and skateboards. But even though Activision's PS2 games brought in more money than its PS3 games last year, it's not likely to want to toss out all of the $241 million that it brought in from PS3 game sales last year.

So he's bluffing.

Sony's been passing around a comment in response to the story. Here's Gamasutra's version of said comment, attributed to Sony's Patrick Seybold:
"PlayStation has tremendous momentum coming out of E3, and we are seeing positive growth with more than 350 titles slated to hit across all our platforms, including many anticipated games from our publishing partners. We enjoy healthy business relationships with and greatly value our publishing partners and are working closely with them to deliver the best entertainment experience."
What, you were expecting some kind of "we don't want Activision's money-making music garbage on our platform anyway" retort?
#2 Posted by Death_Unicorn (2838 posts) -

Gawsh, I wish Sony's comment would have been more along the lines of "PRICE CUT!"
Sadly, it wasn't

#3 Posted by get2sammyb (6412 posts) -

I've said all I have to say on this subject. I just think it's ironic that a company who earn their money extorting consumers over expensive peripherals finds himself telling another company not only how to run their company, but also to lower their costs.

Perhaps you make Band Hero less than $200 huh Bobby?

#4 Posted by Ouroboros (344 posts) -

Main reason why I dont have a PS3 is exactly that - the price of the system and that most games that come out for the PS3 and XBOX, the Xbox has always looked better - you can trace this back to last generation as well, the Xbox 1 ports were always superior.  I still have my PS2 and play it constantly but I dont think I could ever get a PS3 until the price comes down 100 dollars and they stop getting shoddy ports.

#5 Posted by mook201 (64 posts) -

It's funny to hear Activision ask for a price cut, when with titles like Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk: Ride, and DJ Hero they have no qualms about charging you over $100 for a videogame.

#6 Posted by Champy (533 posts) -

yeah, i wish the ps3 was 300 or 250 here in canada, then i would maybe get it.

#7 Posted by Crono (2707 posts) -
"What, you were expecting some kind of "we don't want Activision's money-making music garbage on our platform anyway" retort?"

You know us all too well lol
#8 Edited by Ouroboros (344 posts) -
@mook201: Its also the developing curve and costs of the system as well.  Developing on the PS3 is much more difficult alltogether which prompts a lot of developers to half ass it or not do anything at all, like Valve who doesnt develop for the PS3.  It may be a stronger system, or may not be - it is at least more complicated and frustrating that pushes a lot of developers away when using it.
#9 Posted by Cerza (1653 posts) -

It would be bad for Sony if Activision stopped supporting them, but on the other hand would a PS3 price cut really do anything? Almost everything is multiplatform today so for those who already own a 360 what is the point of getting a PS3? They can already play pretty much everything on the console they already have.

#10 Posted by ChickenPants (934 posts) -

People fail to realise that 400euro for an 80gig ps3 is pretty good value.

#11 Posted by GodzillaVsJapan (104 posts) -

Ps3's price point is why it is struggling as a gaming console compared to last generation which was a huge success. I myself bought a ps2 like many people when GTA: SA came out. At the time I believe the ps2 was only $200 now GTA is multiplat and the console is still ridiculously overpriced. Its hard to create a market for it when you don't have big selling exclusives and have a price which is substatially higher than all other gaming consoles

#12 Posted by Ouroboros (344 posts) -
@ChickenPants: That's about 631 dollars Canada or 556 American - that's way too expensive even if you want to watch your Blueray movies.  I dont want a Blueray player - I want a gaming machine with a Blueray player on the side as an extra, not the other way around.
#13 Edited by Jeust (10858 posts) -
@Ouroboros said:
" @mook201: Its also the developing curve and costs of the system as well.  Developing on the PS3 is much more diffulcult alltogether which prompts a lot of developers to half ass it or not do anything at all, like Valve who doesnt develop for the PS3.  It may be a stronger system, or may not be - it is at least more complicated and frustrating that pushes a lot of developers away when using it. "

True... and honestly comparing the great deal of overwork with the the profits, it gets a little complicated to bet strong on it.

#14 Posted by clintlandon (62 posts) -

Is the word "momentum" Sony's safety word or something? I'm getting tired of them whipping that out every time their place in the game race is questioned. I want you to do well, Sony, but come up with something new to say. It's feeling stale.

#15 Posted by Scooper (7881 posts) -

I agree that Sony's gathered alot of momentum from E3.

#16 Edited by ssjviviano (10 posts) -

Hey, isn't the PS3 the same price as the Xbox 360 Elite? (the only worthwhile SKU)  And I'm with the other peeps when it comes to Activision's overpriced peripherals+game.  Bobby Kotick needs to take his own advice.

#17 Posted by TheHBK (5563 posts) -

It just seems weird this guy is telling sony to lower the price when Sony is already losing money on Each ps3 sold, you cant just tell them to take a bigger hit.  Also, he needs to shut the fuck up when he is increasing the cost for the band version of GH5 to 200 bucks now.  There has to be something deeper to this because porting games is not that hard and always brings in a good ammount of revenue.  So why is this an issue?  Sony must have pissed them off somehow and pointing out low sales is a way to get back at them.  But if Activision were to pull out, that would be a big blow to the PS3.

#18 Posted by baller23 (31 posts) -

Sony should have just knee'd Kotick in the crotch for making an absurd, sensationalist comment.

#19 Posted by Ouroboros (344 posts) -
@ssjviviano: The 60 gig version for 299.99 is a much better deal IMO - but yeah, if you want another 60 gigs and your HDMI cables that's the way to go I guess, oh and a cool black case - yeah.  but nothings wrong with the 299.99 SKU
#20 Edited by Jeust (10858 posts) -
@ssjviviano said:
" Hey, isn't the PS3 the same price as the Xbox 360 Elite? (the only worthwhile SKU)  And I'm with the other peeps when it comes to Activision's overpriced peripherals+game.  Bobby Kotick needs to take his own advice. "

In europe the ps3 80gigs is 100 euros more expensive than the elite version of the xbox360, as 400 > 300.
#21 Posted by Sin4profit (3003 posts) -

After E3 my interest in getting a PS3 has climbed ever so slightly from "you couldn't pay me to want this thing" to "i'm not gonna buy it at that price" ...it's a step up.

#22 Posted by grasslunatic (82 posts) -

Honestly Bobby Kotick is such a turd. Why can't he stop Activision bundling all of their games with bullshit peripherals. He needs to shut his face about this.

#23 Posted by DragoonKain1687 (702 posts) -

I think Activision is just angry because Prototype is a sinking ship. If it wasnt for Infinity Ward, Activision would be just a mediocre developer.  CoD 4 sold 4.3 million units on PS3, and CoD 5 sold 3.3 million units. Thats not even bad. Now seriously, I just think he is looking for attention. Besides, Activision is really a fucking idiotic group, I mean, look at what they did with Brutal Legend?

#24 Posted by Godlovesugly (276 posts) -
@Ouroboros said:
" @ChickenPants: That's about 631 dollars Canada or 556 American - that's way too expensive even if you want to watch your Blueray movies.  I dont want a Blueray player - I want a gaming machine with a Blueray player on the side as an extra, not the other way around. "
It's not as simple as converting the cost here to the cost over there, there's other things to take into consideration like minimum wage and the cost of living.
Also it's "Blu-ray".
#25 Posted by RHCPfan24 (8609 posts) -

Money, money, money.

It's all about the money isn't it? Well, this threat won't be followed through but it is a bit selfish of a move for Kotick to do.

#26 Posted by zander1123 (95 posts) -

Umm not to say some valid points have been brought up in this article, but isnt this the same guy who wanted a price cut for the WII and XBOX 360 during E3. And he was disappointed when it didnt happen? he also said his company wasnt going to publish Ghostbusters and brutal legend because they cant be made yearly. I feel like this is a very small threat and more of just a man in a semi powerful position seeing how far he can push his power. 


Also one thing to note is that Sony was their top money maker in the last fiscal year. So i REALLY dont think anything like this will ever happen. 
#28 Posted by Out_On_Bail (1549 posts) -

The hypocrisy is sickening really.  

Here's what I read:  "Hey cut the price of your product so more people can afford to buy my overpriced products."

If this had come from anyone else I may actually buy into it, but in the end Activision is only worried about Activision.
#29 Posted by Seanakin66 (158 posts) -

Huh?  Sorry, Bob, could you repeat that?  I was too busy playing Ghostbusters to hear what you said the first time.

P.S. You are the biggest douchebag.

#30 Posted by Lowbrow (840 posts) -

" What, you were expecting some kind of "we don't want Activision's money-making music garbage on our platform anyway" retort? "

I was hoping for something along the lines of - "Alright bitch, its fucking on!!!!"

Then proceed to have Dana White host the first ever bareknuckled  CEO cagematch Bobbi Kotick vs. Jack Tretton!


#31 Posted by FCKSNAP (2299 posts) -

Logic is funny. If no one is buying your games on a certain platform, then no one will care if you stop making them. Oh Bobby, your so funny. Now stop taking credit for Guitar Hero, enough people are doing that already without giving a nod to Konami.

#32 Posted by ohms (31 posts) -

Pricecut is the only thing hurting Sony.

That, and the fact it hasn't been hacked yet!!
#33 Posted by zityz (2360 posts) -

They should just settle this like grown men. With a pair of Sockem Boppers!

#34 Edited by Radar (904 posts) -
@Snapstacle: It's not that nobody on PS platforms is buying their games but that Sony is cockblocking the possibility of new PS3 owners (and potential Activision game owners) with its high price. Putting out a portable device that's more expensive than 2/3 home consoles is just salt in the wound.
#35 Edited by TOYBOXX (310 posts) -

You can't deny that Sony needs to cut the price of the PS3, but to outright threaten Sony by saying that in the future if they don't meet Activisions' demands that they won't support the PS3? This statement is coming from a guy that, not that long ago, had this to say in regards to Brutal Legend and Ghostbusters: The Video Game: "They don't have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential". It sounds like Bobby Kotick is throwing his weight around a little too much in the industry as of late to be threatening another company like this. It's not like Activision is completely dependant on Sony to make games, as this article stated. Activision is a multiplatform company. Whatever they lose on one platform they're sure to make up for it on another. In this case the 360.

That's not to mention the games coming for the PS3 in late 2009 early '10. In my opinion Sony had a better line up of games showing at this years E3 versus Microsoft which, again in my opinion, shown features for Xbox Live. So yes that momentum for Sony will gradually begin to snow ball in the near future.

#36 Posted by fresh2deafbill (805 posts) -

good job activision

#37 Posted by VWGTI (1919 posts) -
@Lowbrow:

I'd pay to see that.
#38 Posted by RYNO9881 (625 posts) -

  @TheHBK said:

" It just seems weird this guy is telling sony to lower the price when Sony is already losing money on Each ps3 sold, you cant just tell them to take a bigger hit.  Also, he needs to shut the fuck up when he is increasing the cost for the band version of GH5 to 200 bucks now.  There has to be something deeper to this because porting games is not that hard and always brings in a good ammount of revenue.  So why is this an issue?  Sony must have pissed them off somehow and pointing out low sales is a way to get back at them.  But if Activision were to pull out, that would be a big blow to the PS3. "
Activision will never pull out because they would lose a LOT of money. So its not like Activision is calling the shots. This bob guy seems to be making empty threats.
#39 Posted by Radar (904 posts) -
@TheHBK said:
" There has to be something deeper to this because porting games is not that hard
Not to sound like a dick, but have you ever ported a game to the PS3? You sound quite sure of yourself
#40 Posted by MAST (736 posts) -
@Ouroboros said:
Developing on the PS3 is much more difficult alltogether which prompts a lot of developers to half ass it or not do anything at all.

You, and others say that, but i call bullshit. I've heard just as many developers say that it's extremely easy to develop for the PS3. I remember one developer (might have been the inFamous guys) saying that developing a game for the PS3 is a "sweet dream," referring to how easy it is to develop for.

Now, maybe it is a bit harder then the 360, but that doesn't mean it's "difficult" to develop for. It's just harder to develop stuff on an awesome system like the PS3 then it is on a basic, dumbed down console like a 360. Just like it's harder to develop a game for a 360 then it is for something basic like an iPhone. That's just the way it works.

:P Sorry, i couldn't resist.

#41 Posted by Leadcat (274 posts) -

while he is sounding crazy about it, he's right about this needing to happen.

#42 Posted by Teirdome (262 posts) -

I gotta disagree with you a little bit Jeff.  It is not a trivial task going from PC/360 to the PS3 unless you are either using the Unreal 3 engine or you want a crappy port like the earlier EA games and now Ghostbusters.  I can tell you from personal experience with each of the system's dev kits that what Sony gives to developers is overly complicated.  While art assets are a big piece of the development picture, Sony's absurd architecture makes the software component vastly more expensive in comparison to PC/360. 

This complication is cutting unnecessarily into your profit margins, combine that the extra with Blu-ray printing price and Sony's share of each game sold and suddenly you have to sell a fair number of units to make a profit.  Artificially limit the install base of the platform and the likelyhood of a title's profit (i.e. why publishers exist) will go down dramatically.  I would bet that Wolverine was not profitiable on the PS3 because of its poor sales.

Coming from Activision this is a complete bluff, but for a smaller studio this is good reasoning to ignore the PS3 altogether.

#43 Posted by chililili (1328 posts) -

Meh this is a bunch of BS also every single activision published game (except Gutiar HEro) sells more on the ps3 than the wii so it would be stupid to cut support. this guy is just talking out of his ass and is making me doubt if he should be the head of any company whatsoever.

#44 Posted by TheKidNixon (1564 posts) -

I'm torn between my desire for a cheaper PS3 (still too expensive to be all that tempting) and the fact that Bobby Kotick is a walking, talking penis. Yes, the PS3 should be less and you're right as a developer to want something like that. But there it is one thing to state your opinion on this once, and to turn it into a personal fucking crusade. I think that since Activision became the big dog in the games publishing ring that they've become more and more pushy about having their personal desires met. And of course the elephant in the room is that Activision is coming out with four different big name $100+ games this year (GH5, Band Hero, DJ Hero and Tony Hawk Ride). So them whining about other people's products being overpriced is little pot-and-kettle.

#45 Posted by crusnchill (856 posts) -

He sound's like he's had a few too many and is sprouting empty threat's, judging on how he is talking.

He probably even woke up the next morning and looked at his newspaper, slapped his forehead, groaning: "Oh noooooo! I've done it again."

#46 Posted by Doomguy (17 posts) -

Ok Activision go ahead and drop all support for the PLAYSTATION brand, I double dare you.

#47 Posted by Grilledcheez (3957 posts) -

Even if I did get a PS3 after a price drop...I wouldn't be buying activision games for it.

#48 Posted by aurahack (2289 posts) -

Yeah. That PLAYSTATION name just isn't cutting it anymore.

Let's move on to other shit.

Fucking Kotick. The only thing this guy is calling for is my foot in his mouth if ever I meet him.

#49 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2502 posts) -

Bobby Kotick chest beating, not supporting the PS3 would be like leaving money on the table.  Not going to happen, we'll still get our Soldier of Fortune 14 or whatever and whatever crappy Transformers game is based on the next movie in the franchise.

But if Sony cuts the PS3 by $50 between now and XMas, you better believe Kotick will say he had something to do with it.

#50 Posted by bulletclip6 (131 posts) -

pshhhh, Activision.

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