Wii is SONY down

wii.jpgFresh from CNBC Asia , “Sony is no longer one of the Top 10 Japanese companies by market cap” . Meanwhile , Nintendo has unveiled bumper profits . There is more to Nintendo’s success than the much talked about Wii gaming console.

Wii is no doubt a breakthrough product . A console which has taken gaming to the masses. While SONY and Microsoft slugged it out over offering better and better technology to the hard core gamer , Nintendo simply expanded the market by attracting non-gamers into the category .

However , Nintendo has been quietly winning in the gaming console battle even before the Wii. Its handheld console DS Lite outsells the portable playstation (PSP) by 2 to 1. Part of the success is driven by the kind of titles/games it offers . There are tons of games which  go beyond the traditional genres of  violence, racing , sports . These games help consumers to learn to cook, invest , learn languages etc . Its interactive and fun learning ( not just gaming). Obviously there is a much bigger market /consumer base for learning than just gaming .

Sony has struggled for some time now to find a mega-hit . It was late for the flat screen TV party and is still trying to make headway( via the BRAVIA range). It lost out to Apple in the portable digital music player. There are few categories now where it is No.1 . Also there are issues with the corporate culture ( eg divisional silos) and structure . These have been covered extensively in the business press .

As I see, part of the problem is their  obsession with “superior” technology as opposed to “relevant” user-friendly technology . This is demonstrated by the current battle for HD- DVD format . Are we going to see a repeat of Betamax losing to VHS ? I wrote earlier about “collobarative Innovation” and how companies like P&G ( which was also a superior technology seeking company till 3-4 years back) are benfitting from it . Sony perhaps needs to go beyond its own R&D labs to reclaim its aura in consumer electronics. This is obviously not the only solution . Action is needed on several fronts but clearly time is running out .

C’mon SONY , its high time . Raise your game ( pun un-intended).

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