Those of you’ve who’ve subscribed to the weekly newsletter already know this (and if you haven’t, please do by clicking here), that I end each letter with some quick thoughts. More often than not, they pertain to Sony but aren’t necessarily limited to them as I’ve allowed this to have a wider scope. Even so, if I’m talking about it, it likely pertains to or affects Sony in some shape or form. In order to not let the writing be stuck in just emails, a week after the email is sent out, I’ll begin to publish them here as well.
This a bit of news I’m trying to still wrap my head around and in doing so, grow as someone who covers tech. Being on the PlayStation end of things for as long as I can remember (after NES, I’ve only purchased the GameCube and it was only for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles which turned out to be garbage), it’s easy to dismiss what Nintendo has done outside of portables.
In fact, if you actually look at their console sales and exclude the Wii, you’ll find that they’ve always been behind Sony. Even the Wii in some ways is easy to dismiss because whose console didn’t collect dust after 2 years? Hence the lack of 3rd party support.
This then brings us to the Switch. What exactly is it? A console? Yep, but it’s also portable so you can detach it and take to parties. But it also has a touch screen for mobile gaming. But it’s also iPad big so it’s not as convenient or readily accessible as your phone. But it is a console – but will it be as powerful as PS4 Pro? Will it have robust online play? Are there entertainment apps like Netflix and HBO?
There simply remains too many details not yet revealed to know if Switch is something genuine or a gimmick like Wii U. A jack of all trades strategy is a tough one to turn into success. It’s also worth noting that if Nintendo is targeting mobile with Switch’s ability to be portable, they’re in a bag of hurt. You simply can’t compete with a device that’s always with you.
Two weeks into owning PS VR and I’m still infatuated by it. I’ve yet to write an extensive review because I’m still discovering what it’s truly capable of delivering. My hopes have been that it might be the hot holiday gift to get this Christmas but I’m not sure it is. I simply need to spend more time with it and to be fair, I’ve mostly spent time with VR content and not games.
Was Sony Ahead with VAIO?
You’ve likely seen the big news around the Microsoft Surface Book and the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar this week. Without getting into details of each machine, my real takeaway from all this is that Microsoft is finally learning like Google is with Pixel that Apple has been right the whole time.
Until now, Microsoft has been unable to produce compelling computers because of their reliance on partners like Dell or HP, which only have access to hardware. With the Surface Book and their other newly announced computers, Microsoft now owns the whole stack (hardware and software) which frees them to innovate as they see fit. Technical capabilities aside, what makes this product noteworthy (as well as all the new hardware from MS) is the price tag. The Surface Book starts at $1,500 and can quickly go all the way up to $3,300, price points long associated with Mac.
For well over a decade, PCs have been dominated by garbage $600 machines and here comes Microsoft announcing premium computers like Apple who had never bothered to play the entry-level game or cater to that demographic. You know who else used to make premium computers? Sony.
The difference is that when VAIO was around, the mentality for many was that a PC (read: Windows machine) should cost between $500-$900 and Sony, like Apple, doesn’t know how to make cheap devices. When Sony did make sub-premium computers, they weren’t all that compelling and their premium Z-series catered to a small crowd. Fast forward to today and you’ll find the cheap Windows market being mostly satisfied by smartphones and tablets.
With the touchscreen revolution of the past decade, we’ve witnessed a rise in consumers’ ability to appreciate premium devices with lighter designs, better quality materials, and improved battery life – something that VAIO excelled at. In that same time, Apple has become more dominant and relevant in all categories of tech which means more people have come across Macs. Even if they don’t have one themselves, they now see what spending more than a grand gets you.
So was Sony ahead of their time with VAIO? Should they dabble back into the PC market?