The parallels are starting to become eerie.
The PlayStation 3, releasing in the wake of the massively successful PlayStation 2, was a console that many gamers had issues with. Sony didn't want to focus on games, they wanted to sell their console as a multimedia device.
They wanted to sell a new technology, Blu-ray, into the device. Consumers would have to pay extra for that. Some people didn't like that idea.
Sony were keen to reiterate: they would support this console. It was the console of the future. This console would remain relevant for the next 10 years.
Now fast forward. We're on the cusp of the Xbox One launch, a console being released in the wake of the successful Xbox 360 device. A package containing Kinect, a device that not everyone wants, but we have to pay extra for.
Now Microsoft has just stated that the launch of the Xbox One is the beginning of a "ten year journey". This is getting weird.
"For us, it's not just about the launch date. It is about the start of the journey where the console will be improved and will be adapted and changed," said Phil Harrison, as reported by Gamespot.
The parallels: they keep on coming.
It's insane to me just how similar the lead up to the Xbox One launch is compared with the PS3 launch. It's scarily similar. The vibe from consumers is almost precisely the same: worried about the move away from games as a primary function, worried about new tech, considering playing it safe with the cheaper, rival console. Do major companies have the ability to learn from history? It seems the answer to that question is 'no'.
It's an interesting one, because despite a shaky launch, the PlayStation 3 did end up being a relatively successful console in the end. Over the last few years in particular the PlayStation 3 really began to deliver on its initial promise and that 'ten year cycle' thing? Seven years later and the console is still going strong. I expect Sony will continue to support the console over the next three years, so that '10 year' statement has become more than bluster, it has become reality.
Looking back at those precedents, what does that mean for Microsoft and the Xbox One launch? Well, it means that I believe Phil Harrison when he says Microsoft will support the Xbox One for ten years. It means that I expect consumers will struggle in the beginning, but eventually be won over by the Xbox One. It probably means that, as bad as the lead up to the console's launch has been with regards to messaging, the Xbox One will most likely still do extremely well in the long term.
If the parallels continue, of course.