Posts Tagged ‘PlayStation Move’

Strategic Choices

Nintendo has positioned itself to employ an emergent strategy process.  The business has been built to learn and adapt to markets as opposed to resisting change.  The designer of the Wii stated that the Nintendo DS influenced the design of the Wii, stating they wanted to focus on player interaction. Nintendo simply took the player interaction found on a smaller scale with the DS and applied to the larger Wii console.  The Nintendo Wii is also the most profitable home based game console on the market, giving Nintendo more flexibility in the short run than Microsoft and Sony.  According to Forbes Magazine, Nintendo reportedly makes a $6 operating profit per Wii unit sold.  This financial cushion gives Nintendo the flexibility to seek out new markets, while Microsoft and Sony have to worry about fixed costs.

Microsoft and Sony have taken a different road than Nintendo.  The choices made in getting the Kinect and PlayStation Move to market are not as difficult to point out.  Both Sony and Microsoft waited four years to release their take on motion technology, probably waiting to see how the Nintendo Wii performed.  The only problem with this strategy is that they gave up market share in the process.  Had they been forward thinking like Nintendo, they could have capitalized on this new-market innovation. Microsoft and Sony have released their own add ons so late because they figured they couldn’t compete with Nintendo, so they might as well as capture the remaining market share before the other does. They may have also had delayed entrance into the motion technology market because of financial reasons. Due to the higher fixed costs of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Sony and Microsoft have to rely on software sales to make up for the costs. These high fixed costs will limit the investments that the companies will be able to invest in.  They will not be able to take the chances on emerging technologies that Nintendo can.

Future Outlook

The use of motion technology in video games isn’t going anywhere.  It provides an enhanced user experience, and has created an entirely new market of consumers and games.  Nintendo has already stated that it plans to keep developing the Wii and has plans to unveil new features in the near future. Microsoft and Sony will be releasing their motion sensing add ons this year, showing their commitment to the technology.  Both companies have a decent amount of game titles to release with their new products as well. Motion technology is here to stay in the video game industry.  And it appears that there is nowhere for this new-market disruptive innovation to go but up.

Here is an analysis of each company’s resources, processes, and values.  Or as Christensen calls it, The Tale of the Tape.

Nintendo

Sony

Microsoft

The Sword and the Shield

Identifying Asymmetries of Motivation and Skills

Identifying Incumbent Response Strategies

Who Is It Made For?

The PlayStation Move was made for undershot consumers.  Undershot consumers are consumers “for whom existing products are not good enough.”  They will “consume a product but are frustrated with its limitations.”  Customers who purchased a PlayStation 3 wanted powerful hardware and top notch graphics.  The Nintendo Wii, released in 2006, provided a new experience but not enough power and capability.  The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 also failed to provide the motion technology utilized by the Wii, limiting the user experience to traditional button controllers.

These undershot customers may have wanted the motion capability provided by the Wii, but not enough to sacrifice hardware performance.  These consumers had no options under these circumstances.  Now that the PlayStation Move has been released, these undershot customers can have the motion sensing technology of the Wii and the hardware performance of the PlayStation 3.  These customers don’t mind paying the $99.99 on top of however much they paid for the console for the added features.

Signals of Change

The signals of change listed by Christensen for sustaining up-market innovations are: 1) New, improved products and services introduced to existing customers; 2) Integrated companies thrive; specialist companies struggle.  The PlayStation Move easily fits the first signal of change listed by Christensen. The Move is a new and improved product introduced to existing PlayStation 3 customers.  The Move is not a standalone console like the Nintendo Wii, but an add on.  Therefore, only existing PlayStation 3 users can utilize the Move’s added features.

The second signal of change focuses more on the company as opposed to the product.  Sony struggled initially after its launch of the PlayStation 3 due to its extremely high price point and limited game selection. Many customers simply opted to buy the Xbox 360 since it was considerably cheaper, had nearly the same performance and features, and had a much larger game selection.  The Xbox Live feature did not do Sony any favors either.  Microsoft had a better idea of how to handle the software and internet aspects of the console because they are a software company.  Sony, on the other hand, is a hardware company. It’s online community is still not as competitive with the Xbox’s, but it’s better than what it was the first few years of its release.  The online network is less buggy and offers more downloadable content.  Now that Sony has cut its prices significantly and upgraded its online offerings Sony has become a more integrated company, and has positioned itself to better compete upon the release of the next round of next generation consoles.

Overview

PlayStation Move is a motion-sensing game controller for the Playstation 3 video game console by Sony. The Move functions much like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.  Whereas the Wii uses a sensor bar to track the movement of the Remote and Nunchuk, the Move uses the PlayStation Eye camera to track the controller’s position.  You simply move the controller within range of the PlayStation Eye camera to control the action onscreen.

What Kind of Innovation Is It?

I have chosen to separate the Sony PlayStation Move from the Nintendo Wii with good reason.  The Nintendo Wii was the first console of kind upon its introduction in 2006.  The PlayStation Move, however, was just released this year, a full four years after the Wii.  The Move is different from the Wii in the sense that it is an add on, where as the Wii is fully powered by motion technology.  Therefore, the Sony PlayStation Move cannot be classified as a new-market disruption like the Nintendo Wii.  The Move is simply a sustaining up-market innovation.  Christensen classifies sustaining up-market innovations as those that “make good products better.”  As an add on to an already powerful piece of hardware in the PlayStation 3, the Move adds another dimension to the user experience.  This addition caters to consumers who wanted the power of the PlayStation 3, but liked the use of motion technology on the Nintendo Wii.  For these users, the Wii did not provide enough power, high quality graphics, or game selection that the PlayStation did.

Christensen also states that “incremental sustaining innovations tend to influence an industry less dramatically” than their new-market innovation counterparts.  This holds true for the PlayStation Move. It has not implemented anything not seen from the Nintendo Wii, but it does improve on the accuracy of the motion sensing technology.  Sony knows that it will not be able to compete with Nintendo on party games and the casual gaming experience.  But Sony can succeed by expanding on the experience its powerful hardware already provides with the PlayStation Move.  Nintendo may have invented the wheel with the Wii. But Sony can certainly improve it with the Move.