Sony AU Boss Reads Angry Rant, Gives Angry Rant Back

michael ephraim stock pic.jpg

The ever-quotable Michael Ephraim, head of Sony Computer Entertainment in Australia, is never afraid to speak his own mind. But what happens when he gets called up by a reporter from tech tabloid Smarthouse? His mind explodes.


    Ephraim and Kotaku should not give SmartHouse oxygen. The only people who read the site are consumer electronic industry insiders and fellow IT journos who can't help but see how low David Richards has now stooped in his desperate attempts to get hits via outrageous claims. He is also a serial plaguirist, as exposed by Media Watch early last year.

    I don't know what's worse, the quality of those pieces or the fact that they made a Sony representative hysterical enough to threaten litigation.
    My 14 year old nephew could write a more fluent critique.

    Kermit, Surely the more that know about SmartHouse and Mr Richards the better? In a thread on another board quite a few people have never heard all this, but now are aware.

    I'm not the biggest fan of Ephraim, and he probably shouldn't have snapped back like he did. But I can see his annoyance with SH.

    Oh man! I think I know one journo who isn't going to be invited to any more Sony functions.

    While journos should ask challenging questions backed by research and some respect, I don't see the benfit from slamming the product and the company with outrageous, flimsy claims. I was going to write something about the lack of balance in Richards' articles, but really they're just garbage. You're totally right, Kermit.

    What is particularly outrageous, from a "journalistic" point of view is that apparently the original article implied that games were region locked. That has since been removed - without any statement to that effect in the article. Stealth editing your mistakes is very poor form.

    The "editorial" wouldn't look out of place on an unmoderated forum or personal blog - it is embarassingly badly written. Whilst losing his cool wasn't a great idea, I don't blame Ephraim for reading the guy the riot act.

    Wow, this was one of the worst articles I have ever seen. I'm far from a fan of Sony's but I understand market conditions result in price differences among other things that should be basic knowledge. Is that guy really a journalist? I'm going to do some reading. It's a terrible site with terrible writing and spelling mistakes all through it.

    I feel very sorry for Ephraim. Back in 2007 Dave made up a quote from Ephraim stating a local price drop for the PS3 was imminent, as E3 was only two days later. Funnily enough, it didn't happen. He also got "insider info" on the 360 Blu-ray drive several years ago...nough said

    The poorly written article doesn't change the fact that Sony are still gouging the hell out of Australian consumers. Ephraim still has never been able to succinctly justify why the prices remain so high here relative to other regions.

    What Frank said.

    As ridiculous as this article might be.

    "I am fed up of Sony being bashed we are not price gouging neither do we have regional codes in our software. I am calling in our lawyers as we are not in any way price gouging Australian consumers. This is misleading. We have to factor in exchange rates etc."

    Is an absolute bullshit response.

    Whilst the article certainly could have been better written, maybe Michael Ephraim needs to pull his head in if he can't take a wee bit of heat from a low wattage publication.
    Threatening to call lawyers ? Oh please, grow a pair.
    You've got an entire Marketing & PR department at your disposal if you can't keep it together, remember ?

    Let's face it, the smarthome guy has a point, why are Aussies been charged $100 more for the same console ?
    M.E fobs it off as exchange rate mumbo-jumbo, but a simple calculation between AUD - USD & AUD - Yen (Sony, being a Japanese company will base their bottom line on their own currency) still bears out the fact that an extra $100 is topped up on the US prices.
    Assuming that US retailers have factored in their profit margins, this simply equates to profit + $100 more profit. Whilst that fact sticks in the throats of Aussie gamers, that's simply capitalism at work. So far, so good.
    So really, why the extra cost ?
    Because of exchange rates? Bzzt, no. Even when our exchange rate was very favourable to the US dollar, we were still getting sold overpriced PS3 units by $100.
    Because they have to ship the units further ? Um no, Japan is practically our neighbour.

    The answer, which M.E fully knows, is because the purchasing power of the US retail giants allows them to buy more units at a lower price. Add the fact that Sony has is deemed the Australian market to be able to support the $699 price tag and you have the situation we're in now.

    Whilst the comments about the PS3 being deliberately not backwards compatible are a bit inflammatory, they're also 100% correct.

    But for the head of SCEA to throw a tantrum when prodded shows he's either not thick skinned enough for the top position, or the remarks hit a sore spot.

    Come to think of it, sales of the Wii *are* kicking the PS3's arse... ;)

    I accept the fact that Aussies do get it bad, but I absolutely refuse to believe this is Sony's fault alone. When one considers that even Xbox 360's games are overpriced here than overseas, there's no reason to pin everything on Sony. The unfortunately single-minded mindset I think people are getting here is that just because one console is overpriced compared to another, more affordable machine, gives people the idea that, "the one that didn't follow suit is the one to blame".


    The simple fact is, you can go into any game store and the prices would START at around $90 - $120 for either Playstation 3 OR XBOX360 games. But do I hear anyone blame Micosoft? No, because their console prices are good enough apparently, which excuses them from blame.

    Not that these companies deserve all (or most of) the blame - it's the people responsible for jacking up the prices beyond the calculated exchange rate; and unless you work at Sony and handle their business plans for down under, don't act like you know their business strategies through and through.

    Complaining might eventually net you a cheaper PS3 to buy, but please for the love of all that is rational, do not go thinking this is only Sony's fault, because the reality is, is that Sony isn't the ONLY nail sticking out, it's among others, and they ALL need to be hammered in.

    WOW, that ending was corny!

    Why -did- Sony remove backwards compatibility, if not to boost PS2 sales? It was originally hardware, but then it was merely a software upgrade. How much can that cost them?

    Why did Sony spend so much money on making a kick-ass machine, and then not enough on first-party development for games that actually -use- the hardware?

    The article might be poorly written, and people need to accept that there -must- be a good reason why Sony haven't dropped the price, but the high price point isn't the only reason it isn't selling. That is an extremely shit response by Sony, and I'm glad someone in the press is asking the hard questions, albeit in a poorly constructed fashion.

    @ Kashkin

    Hardware BC was but one of a number of features removed from the initial design in an effort to get costs down. The 60GB SKU launched at $999, so they have stripped $300 off that so far. Unfortunately, as long as Sony are losing money on each PS3 sold, they're not really in a position to reduce the price further.


    People have had a go at prices for 360 games before, it's just in this case the article was about the ps3. It doesn't mean there's no attention on M$.

    Reading through the very poorly written interview/rant from Mr Ephraim sounds horribly made up to me... Did anyone check if he actually said it?

    As Matt stated above, regardless of the quality of the article, Sony are still treating Aussies badly at the checkout.

    Case in point:

    Apple iPod Touch 32GB in the US $399.
    Sony PS3 in the US $399.

    Apple iPod Touch 32GB in AU $549.
    Sony PS3 in AU $699.

    The exchange rates are the same? So how does M.E. explain that? No doubt they'll try!

    I have a relative who holds a high position at Sony. I was informed that the market in Australia is too small to pay any considerable attention to and that is the reason why Sony needs to increase the price to artificially inflate the market. There are two main factors that would make Sony sit up and listen: 1) population > 300million and 2) the country is not third-world status eg. India would be considered smaller market than Australia despite having a greater population, however the majority of Indians can barely afford such a hardware. Mr. Ephraim is fully aware of Sony price gouging Australian consumers, however he needs to stand by his employer and not allow Sony's name to be tarnished. In Japanese culture, to show anger equates to being immature, but you can't blame Mr. Ephraim for spitting the dummy, because the truth hurts. Hence the reason why I've stopped purchasing any Sony products for the last 10 years. Prior to the boycott, everything I owned was a Sony. Another reason for the boycott was due to Sony being deceitful and dismissive of MP3 technology because it was a threat to their revenue. Apple took advantage of Sony's deceit, and ever since then, Sony has consistently failed to even come close to Apples market share in the mp3 department. It's called "Karma".

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