COMMENT: PS3 slips into top gear

This week’s show in the Indigo Room at the O2 was, in many ways, similar to what we’ve seen at Tokyo Games Show and Leipzig; stylish, confident and packed full of real sales stats.

No amount of fanboy blustering can argue with the installed bases revealed by Sony this week; PS3 has overtaken Xbox 360’s sales in Europe despite being launched a full year and a half after its main rival.

Tracking just above sales of the now-legendary PS2, it has proved to be a solid seller, despite a lack of fanfare from its creators over its sales – that’s just not Sony’s style.

The games on show were equally impressive; MotorStorm, Killzone 2 and EA’s Mirror’s Edge will all cater nicely for that well-established Sony fanbase in search of cutting-edge gaming.

Similarly, the online communities Sony pushed heavily are highly intruiging. My SingStar, even though it’s in its infancy, is beginning to hint at what might be achieved with Home later this year.

But despite all the announcements, there can be no doubt that Sony’s attitude is different this time.

While the presentations were slick and the decor oh-so-trendy, the plush surroundings couldn’t capture Sony’s new-found sense of humility. It’s an attitude that indicates that while Nintendo and Microsoft have been playing second fiddle to Sony in the past, the game has changed.

We had admissions from Hirai that third parties were sceptical when PS3 launched; we even had a full and frank apology over Home’s delay.

Hirai also emphasised the importance of Sony’s third party partners – the same people discussing a re-assessment of their platform priorities when the PS3 price was announced.

It was almost apologetic; Sony has learnt several lessons over the last few years. Nevertheless,

the tone of Hirai’s comments to MCV

suggest that the confidence of old hasn’t disappeared completely.

After a few tweaks to its strategy – and its rhetoric – Sony has got the balance right. The games are coming, the online communities are growing, and Sony’s lofty ambitions remain intact.

PS3 has stepped up its game – and I can’t help but wonder what Microsoft’s next move will be…

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