Market research could have improved PS3's image

Justin Murray
J. Murray|12.19.06

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Few people hate Sony as a company; it is just the PS3 -- as well as the DRM and exploding batteries -- that pull the brunt of the ire. In fact, many of their other products are beloved by consumers worldwide and aren't decried by the media. The biggest reason is Sony's Electronic Division's strong consumer research practices.

Sony's television and digital camera lines garner much consumer approval. This is helped in part by the creation of focus groups and people who actually listen to customer feedback. For example, when developing the Mylo device (a handheld WiFi device that allows chat-functions, Internet connectivity, music and a full QWERTY keyboard) they sent 850 of the devices out to determine the who, what, where, when, why and how the product would be used and made changes around the feedback gained; as such, the Mylo is poised to be another well-received Sony product.

The PS3 is a device that appears to have been developed in a vacuum; one where only the engineers built what they thought was the ultimate console. This is shown by the general user unfriendly environment the PS3 has built; symptoms of which are seen in major media publications. While most of the problems can easily be fixed with firmware upgrades over time, there are still aspects that cannot be fixed -- such as the lack of a scaler chip to allow for a simple one-and-done resolution setting when using various features -- without angering earlier adopters or alienating customers with confusing redesigns so early in the life-cycle. How different would the PS3 be today if the PlayStation Division took the same consumer research approach the Electronics Division does?

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