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Shoot From the Lip: Humble Pie

When Jose Mourinho joined Chelsea a few years ago, English football looked set to be shaken up from the same old, same old arguments between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. For the purposes of this article, let’s say that the low-cost nature of Arsenal best suits the style of Nintendo, and that the multi-title winning Manchester United represent Sony. When Chelsea appointed the self-proclaimed “Special One”, for the next three years the blues dominated the game and were suddenly the biggest thing around. The owner, however, was unimpressed with their playing style and, after a season of loggerheads between the owner and manager, Jose Mourinho parted company. Just before, Manchester United pipped the Blues to the title, and since October Manchester United have been pretty much back to their best.

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The similarities between events in football and the video-games industry are rather striking; Sony, coming off the back of two dominant machines and slowly developing their third are seemingly trumped by a fast and plucky (and rich) company called Microsoft, who release their system a full year before the opposition and command a strong place in the market. Beset with problems, Sony appears to be losing ground as Nintendo release their Wii, which is still out of stock pretty much everywhere over a year after launching. A year later, and the PS3 has established itself in this generation of gaming, installed a new format of media in homes and successfully killed off the competing format. Given Sony’s pedigree, I didn’t want to write them off, but it was hard to see where they could come back given their hardware problems, reliance on a format that hadn’t yet been launched and a stinking attitude.

Nethertheless, Sony has thumped a rather large stake into the heart of Microsoft with Toshiba announcing their intentions to close out production of HD-DVD players and recorders. When the PS2 was launched, DVD had already been released and was making steady progress, but as everyone bought the second incarnation of the Playstation, it was also installing the new format in homes. A genius plan I think you’ll find. But to think that Blu Ray hadn’t even seen the light of day when Sony announced that the PS3 would be built around this futuristic format, suddenly every gamer that had a blog to hand was spelling out a bleak situation. Even at £425, the PS3 was the cheapest Blu Ray player around but was also the most expensive video-games console, and despite questionable sales figures it can’t be denied that this incredibly risky plan has taken off; gamers have bought into the Playstation brand and in-turn have built the foundations for Blu Ray.

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So there we have it, the slower loading Blu “VHS” Ray appears to have trumped the faster reading HD “Beatamax” DVD, only with the video-games industry and not the porn one choosing sides. I suppose it goes to show that despite going against what appears to be logical, businessmen have it figured out and just have to sit back and wait for Joe Public to fall into their little trap. Just as Manchester United took advantage of the turmoil at Chelsea after a few years of being told that their time was over, Sony has come from the back of the grid and made their mark known with the death of HD-DVD.

Now, where’s that recipe for humble pie…

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in June 2002.

Gentle persuasion

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