Print Story Dead or alive, you're coming with me
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Dead or alive, you're coming with me | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden)
Sitting posture by gazbo (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 01:22:42 AM EST
A few years back I started getting a persistent bad back, and I figured it was fairly obviously from work.  It seemed logical that reclining would take the weight off my spine, and so I adjusted my chair (thankfully a pretty chunky management-style number) to have virtually no resistance to reclining.

After a week or so of spending my office hours reclined at the maximum of (guess) 125 degrees, my back felt better.  I've done it ever since.  It also has the bonus that anybody sitting in my chair shits themselves and flails about as they suddenly start falling backwards.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

Indeed by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:01:08 AM EST
One of my biggest pet hates is when you just get nicely relaxed into a chair and someone comes along and criticises your posture.

It's as bad as people who come along when you're lifting something and tell you not to bend your back. Especially as they're undoubtedly someone who has no callisthenics to their movements at all, which is why they haven't noticed that you've just started doing the lift with your legs. Idiots.

[ Parent ]
Try working in Germany some time by ReallyEvilCanine (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:14:11 AM EST
They send some bint calling herself an "Ergonomic specialist" or some such nonsense to each cube. She looks around and then starts telling you how everything that you've set up for your comfort is, in fact, terribly uncomfortable ass well as bad for you. It takes at least 15 minutes to get rid of her.

There was more to this comment but it's being magically changed into a blog entry.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

Reclining chairs by nebbish (4.00 / 2) #4 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:29:15 AM EST
Posture fads are the new food fads

It's political correctness gone mad!

nope, it's true by martingale (4.00 / 2) #5 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:33:50 AM EST
Pink chairs really are better, I don't really understand it, it's quantum I think, but yeah, it works.
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Kneeling chairs by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:48:54 AM EST
they're hardly new. And food fads aren't going to be disappearing any time soon.

[ Parent ]
Ergonomic seating by squigs (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 03:50:46 AM EST
My chair has been broken for a while.  The clutch for the back no longer works.  It's not too uncomfortable, and it probably does tilt at very close to 135 degrees.

It is an erganomically designed chair (even moulds to my back)  but I'm highly impressed that it even malfunctions ergonomically.

WIPO by Phage (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 04:56:09 AM EST
Can't tell the difference.

Also, Cool carpets ! by Phage (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 05:00:12 AM EST

[ Parent ]
economics by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 06:48:46 AM EST
Finally, someone with sense. Perhaps I've been spending too much time reading slashdot, but lately I've been hard pressed to find anyone who understands that market share is a means, not an end.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
depends on the economic model by theantix (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 12:38:50 PM EST
In Sony's PlayStation model where they give away the razor in order to make money on the blades, console market share is uber alles.  Without dominant market share they can't coerce 3rd party producers to develop for their platform and they make no money.  Already they are suffering from their lack of next-gen market share as they lose exclusives to Microsoft. 

If they can't get enough PS3s in the hands of consumers ASAP, things will spiral out of control for them to a point where they will have to re-evaluate their business model.  It could be that the razor model just doesn't apply well to a competitive console market, or just that Sony's repeated mistakes made them fail at it.
I'm sorry, but your facts disagree with my opinion.

[ Parent ]
Means to an end by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 01:27:27 PM EST
Market share is still just a means to an end.

You may be overestimating their "mistakes"...remember, the PS2 is the most successful console ever produced...using the exact same business model.

How, exactly, would things "spiral out of control"?
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Right by theantix (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:20:07 PM EST
Obviously the most profitable business model works out, but given that Sony is pursuing the "razor blades" business model, market share is of the utmost importance.

It spirals out of control when Sony doesn't get enough consoles into the market into the hands of gamers, so game producers like Rockstar and EA will be less likely make games for Sony's console.  Under this scenario, Sony loses money on the consoles they do sell but don't make the money back on the games as they expected.  With a declining market share and future prospects not looking good, their influence wanes even further resulting in fewer games.

With the PS2 they had the advantage of having a vastly superior platform and got a dramatically larger market share than Microsoft and Nintendo.  This meant that even with the (marginally) better performance of the original XBox, Sony still had the mass required to get games sold on their platform.  Exclusives for this platform helped spiral in a positive direction, more people bought PS2s and thus more people bought PS2 games.

My point is simply that if Sony is committed to this business model, they cannot lose the game of market share to Microsoft otherwise they will utterly fail.  Microsoft will get the exclusives and people will buy 360s, and Microsoft will get the revenue from games sold.  In this business model, market share for the consoles indicates success selling games and thus (hopefully) overall profitability.

Basically, it's a model where a winner takes all and the loser bites the dust.  When they succeed there is incredible profit as with the PS2 and of course Gillette razors.  Sony just cannot afford to fall way behind Microsoft in console market share or else they will lose their source of profitability. 

So I'm not ragging on the business model, it's great when it works.  Sony is just risking an awful lot playing catch-up when their model indicates that they need market share to sustain themselves.  Their saving grace will be that Japanese consumers are still not buying Xboxes, so to serve the Japanese market 3rd party producers will for now have to continue making games for the PS3. 

To stay alive in this market Sony needs to have their product on the shelves and get some exclusives, or offer dramatically better game quality than the Xbox.  I suspect that once they start really unlocking the power of the PS3 and utilize dramatically larger disc capacity, this will be possible.
I'm sorry, but your facts disagree with my opinion.

[ Parent ]
Well by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 04:03:11 PM EST
Microsoft is playing the same game, and yet hasn't had market share...I'm not saying that Sony can stand the device to be a flop, but the course of a couple months is fairly meaningless. Sony is as capable of taking losses for years as Microsoft is.

I honestly don't think they are "playing catch up". They're coming from a position of strength, given that their last generation console is still to this day outselling the XBox. You need to wait for Microsoft to gain market share before you can ask Sony to "catch up". (Personally I think Xbox may actually end up 3rd pretty soon.)

In the end, I doubt the troubles of these few months will mean much.

But also, look at your analogy...Gillette doesn't have a don't need to be first in market share to sell lots of razors. You just have to sell lots of units. It isn't market share that is important. It's number of units sold.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Right by theantix (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 07:18:03 PM EST
Microsoft was hurt in the last round console systems because they approached from a position of extreme weakness.  It was the strength of first-party titles alone that helped them get the mediocre share they received... and regardless they lost a pile of money trying.  My point is that without a large market share, Microsoft could not have made money selling consoles at a loss, because people have PS2s and thus buy PS2 games.

In the "next-gen" segment, the situation is completely reversed.  People have Xbox 360s but no one has a PS3 yet because they aren't available.  Thus from the perspective of game developers, they cannot produce PS3-only titles because they won't make any money that way.  Thus they will choose either Microsoft exclusives or target both platforms.  So to play the games that gamers want, they can either pay out the nose to get a PS3 or get the same game with a relatively cheap Xbox 360. 

In this scenario Sony loses, and will sell fewer consoles and be in the spiral I described earlier.  This is why the next months are important, they have to produce units and get them to consumers so that the PS3 is a viable target for game developers.  If they can do this, then you're right -- the few months will be but a blip.  But if Sony cannot produce game developers will abandon the PS3 platform because of it's relatively small size.

The difference between this and the analogous razors is that Gillette does not count on anyone else to sell the blades.  They pump those out and rake in cash, Gillete does not have to worry about not selling enough razors so that other people will bother making blades to fit as Sony and Microsoft both require for profitability.  Perhaps the lesson is that Sony needs some really kickass first-party titles that blow anything on the 360 can do out of the water, this would create demand for the PS3 and would help mitigate any market share problems.

"It isn't market share that is important. It's number of units sold."

Obviously this is true.  But without market share for the platform, 3rd party units sold will be very low.  For the business model Sony and Microsoft are using, market share and profitability are intimately connected.  For the business model that Nintendo is using, much less so.
I'm sorry, but your facts disagree with my opinion.

[ Parent ]
I think by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 07:57:41 PM EST
You overestimate the Xbox's strength and the PS3's weakness. Game developers aren't going to pass up the successer to the console that outsold it's closest competition 5-1.

Also note that the titles are still coming fast for the PSP even though it is very clearly in second place to the DS. (And note that a major developer for the PS2/PSP is a company called "Sony Online Entertainment".)

The thing you have to realize is that everything you say up there would have applied to the original XBox. The original Xbox survived despite being outsold by the PS2 by 5-1. There's nothing that Microsoft had to woo game developers that Sony does not have now, and Sony can do something Microsoft can't do, which is to say "Our last two consoles were the best selling consoles of all time".
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Yes by theantix (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 08:43:28 PM EST
The factors you mention certainly do mitigate the negative aspects of the PS3's launch.  Sony's strength as a first-party publisher and it's historical success and brand will certainly help keep it further along than it otherwise would.

"The thing you have to realize is that everything you say up there would have applied to the original XBox"

I do realize that -- it's just that I consider the original Xbox in itself to be a disastrous failure, salvaged only because that was obviously the strategy that Microsoft intended going in.  They lost a lot of money in the process but that was an investment for the future, while Sony made a lot of money on the numerous games sold for the platform which more than made up for their initial console losses.

This is why it's important to replicate its past success, Sony needs to dominate market share.  With market share come the games which bring gamers to their platform and the increasing marketshare reinforces itself positively with a degree of monopolistic benefits.  Without that dominant market share, gamers will be able to choose platforms and Sony won't be able to count on making profits from games to make up for their console losses and be screwed.

Given the strength of the PlayStation brand and the Japanese consumer's unwillingness to venture out to Microsoft, I don't think Sony will utterly "lose" this round.   But going from a 5-1 advantage to close to a tie with MS is a huge loss for Sony, especially since MS will probably launch a new console in a year or two which may outperform the PS3.
I'm sorry, but your facts disagree with my opinion.

[ Parent ]
"close tie" by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 04:58:01 AM EST
How are they in a "close tie"? I see no reason to expect that the PS3 won't outsell the XBox 360 in huge numbers once it's actually available in huge numbers.

The XBox was only a "failure" if you define market share as success. Microsoft clearly doesn't think it a failure, and neither do I. This is because market share is not the goal. Profit is the goal. The XBox 360 is only a "failure" if it doesn't lead to profits down the road. The last true failure in the console wars was the Dreamcast.

Also bear in mind that what makes a console sold at a lost make a profit is the number of games sold per console. You certainly don't need the dominant market share for this to be high. What you need is a lot of consoles sold regardless of how many the other guy sells.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
failure by theantix (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 06:27:40 AM EST
"The XBox was only a "failure" if you define market share as success. Microsoft clearly doesn't think it a failure, and neither do I."

I said it was a failure in itself, meaning if judged on its own merits it was a failure because it lost money.  And yes, since that was Microsoft's intention going in it didn't really matter, but the point I was trying to make there was that being the runner up in a market where a dominant player makes all the money from games is a losing proposition.

"How are they in a "close tie"? I see no reason to expect that the PS3 won't outsell the XBox 360 in huge numbers once it's actually available in huge numbers."

They are not a close tie right now, the 360 has games and is cheaper and is actually available in stores.  People are buying them in quantity today, and each person who buys a 360 will be less likely to buy a PS3 if games are made for both systems.  I already explained how the motivations of 3rd party publishers and gamers can act as a spiral to reinforce positive or negative sales numbers, so if Sony cannot turn this around that gives me a lot of reason to expect that the PS3 might not outsell the 360 and Microsoft's probable successor system.

"Also bear in mind that what makes a console sold at a lost make a profit is the number of games sold per console. You certainly don't need the dominant market share for this to be high. What you need is a lot of consoles sold regardless of how many the other guy sells."

Again, strictly speaking you are correct.  But it ignores the behaviour of consumers and game producers, where games not consoles are the drivers.  Gamers would prefer to not buy two console systems, and game producers would prefer to make games for consoles that people actually have.  This is why ever time someone buys a 360 Sony has to pretty much write off several years worth of potential PS3 game revenue, unless they can convince those people to buy both consoles.

A large marketshare means a healthy games ecosystems and customers wanting to share in that platform, which then provides a market that producers want to make games for.  Without this, the console business model of selling platforms at a loss and making the money back with games sold is likely not going to pay off.
I'm sorry, but your facts disagree with my opinion.

[ Parent ]
Think like a game developer by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 08:21:58 AM EST
Suppose you are a game developer who wants to maximize sales. The market for your game is the set of people who own the console(s) you develop for. The current markets stand like this:

100 million PS2s
20 million XBoxs
15 million Gamecubes
5 million XBox 360s.
3 million Wiis
200 thousand PS3s

Now obviously the most common platform is old, and that's why you see new games coming out for the PS2/Xbox despite these being "obsolete".

Of course, a game publisher will also want to look at the potential newer consoles because everyone expects people to be putting asside their old ones. So how is that market shaping up?

Well, first the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 seems to be selling at exactly the same rate that the XBox did. As such, you can probably expect around 20 million to be sold over the next few years.

For the Wii...given the initial sales surge, I'd expect a lot of these to be way to know how many, but I'd expect that 20 million or more (maybe a lot more) would be reasonable.

For the PS3...we still don't really know, but personally, I'd be shocked if we sold less than 50 million over it's lifetime. But even 20 million sold, a "massive flop", would still leave lots of consoles out there. (And, I suspect, the Japanese market alone can do that.)

Given that, all three platforms are attractive targets for developers.

The trouble is that you are looking at percentage buying console A vs. console B. That's not what you look at when determining what to develop for. What you look at is how many console As there are vs. how much it costs to develop on console A. Percentage market share means nothing. It's solely how many units are out there that is important. This is especially true given that increasingly game developers produce games for multiple consoles. If it takes $X to develop for the PS2, it takes $.1X to port. (I'm guessing.)

When games aren't ported, it's usually because they are produce by the company (Sony Online Entertainment or a game company owned by Microsoft) or where some exclusive deal has been signed. There are a lot of these, and they are often the most popular games. (You're not going to see Halo for the PS3, and you're not going to see Katamari for the XBox, no matter what.)

But anyway, the telling thing for me is that Xbox 360 sales have not picked up. There's no real market evidence that people are buying Xboxes because the PS3 is not available. It looks much more like people are replacing their Xboxes with Xbox 360s. The last time I went to BestBuy, there was a crowd of people drooling over the demo for the not-yet-available PS3 motocross game, there were a bunch of people screwing around with the Wii, there was a kid playing Guitar Hero on the PS2 and no one at all was looking at the XBox 360.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
DirectX? by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 08:46:24 PM EST
I think the think that helped Microsoft was DirectX and PC gaming though. There is already a big platform for PC gaming, and since they're both DirectX of whatever version, it's not that hard to adapt games for both platforms.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
DirectX by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #22 Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 05:09:10 AM EST
I know that was Microsoft's theory, and it does sound good, but I'm not so sure it's true in practice. Console games tend to be different from PC games in play style so the number that get ported is moderately low, and those that are ported seem to get ported to the PS2 and Xbox equally. For both PS2 and Xbox, the biggest hit games were console only.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 08:12:23 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by sasquatchan

I'd buy THAT for a dollar! by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 08:12:59 AM EST
Stupid typos

[ Parent ]
Dead or alive, you're coming with me | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden)