February 19, 2012
Musings on why the 3DS and Playstation Vita will fail

I’m predicting Playstation Vita will be a relative failure despite the large advertising blitz by Sony.  It suffers from the same flaw as the Nintendo 3DS, the flaw being battery life.  The console gaming engineers at both Sony and Nintendo are spending too much effort focusing on the problem of maxing out graphical capacity.  What they should be spending R&D on is providing a longer battery life (so people can play without bringing an electrical cord to constantly charge their gaming devices.)

June 26, 2011
"Sony laid off a number of employees responsible for network security, two weeks before attacks brought down the PlayStation Network."

Sony cut online security staff two weeks before it was hacked (via thenextweb)

This probably wasn’t a good move.

(via thenextweb)

June 12, 2011
I had a random thought about why Nintendo and Apple are both successful for a similar reason.  Namely, that reason is a focus on user interface.  Both companies have a strong focus on UI, although they don’t necessarily share the same UI philosophies.

There’s also a reason why both Nintendo and Apple started becoming very successful from 2005 onwards.  I think that reason is because technology reached an inflection point where the average consumer could no longer differentiate between the raw power of hardware products between products made one year versus the next.  If users can no longer intuitively tell the difference between technology products through general use, then specs become relatively less important.  Instead, user experience derived through a user interface begins to carry more weight.  If you are a company that spends resources towards thinking about UI, the benefits grow exponentially as the relative advantages of raw processing power become less noticeable.

Sony has historically favored raw technological superiority as their calling.  This served them well in the 80s and 90s when strong raw tech specs had easily discernible advantages to consumers.  The same goes for Microsoft based PCs which were stronger and cheaper than Apple computers for the same price points.   However as technology reaches a point where processing power differences between different companies reduce, so to does the relative importance.  If everyone’s computers feel as fast through praticial usage - if all games handle similar graphics, then UI takes greater importance.

An Apple computer with the same specs as a PC might be more expensive, but people are more willing to pay for those extra dollars in exchange for a more pleasant user experience.  I think this is going to be a general theme going forward in general though in the entire technology universe.

I had a random thought about why Nintendo and Apple are both successful for a similar reason. Namely, that reason is a focus on user interface. Both companies have a strong focus on UI, although they don’t necessarily share the same UI philosophies.

There’s also a reason why both Nintendo and Apple started becoming very successful from 2005 onwards. I think that reason is because technology reached an inflection point where the average consumer could no longer differentiate between the raw power of hardware products between products made one year versus the next. If users can no longer intuitively tell the difference between technology products through general use, then specs become relatively less important. Instead, user experience derived through a user interface begins to carry more weight. If you are a company that spends resources towards thinking about UI, the benefits grow exponentially as the relative advantages of raw processing power become less noticeable.

Sony has historically favored raw technological superiority as their calling. This served them well in the 80s and 90s when strong raw tech specs had easily discernible advantages to consumers. The same goes for Microsoft based PCs which were stronger and cheaper than Apple computers for the same price points. However as technology reaches a point where processing power differences between different companies reduce, so to does the relative importance. If everyone’s computers feel as fast through praticial usage - if all games handle similar graphics, then UI takes greater importance.

An Apple computer with the same specs as a PC might be more expensive, but people are more willing to pay for those extra dollars in exchange for a more pleasant user experience. I think this is going to be a general theme going forward in general though in the entire technology universe.

May 21, 2011
Digithoughts: In-app payments is the new black

digithoughts:

App and game stat trackers Distimo and Newzoo have just released new numbers on iOS gaming. The shift towards free games with in-app purchases is strong. Really strong.

  • 88% of downloaded top 300 iOS games are now offered for free
  • In-game purchases (within both free and paid games)…

It’s going to be interesting to see how much phones and tablets affect next generation portable gaming console offerings from Nintendo and Sony.

I’m really surprised Nintendo hasn’t made a phone offering yet.  I think they could get a lot of the boys to teen-male market.  Gaming based phones would offer significantly more competitive gaming options for multiplayer focused games.  If Nintendo isn’t careful, they are going to lose their biggest cash cow (portable gaming devices).

May 18, 2011
A case study of Sony and PSN attacks: How to avoid hackers

Howard Stringer (CEO of Sony) is bringing up doomsday scenarios regarding hacking.

He said the security breach at PSN, Sony Online Entertainment, an online game service for personal-computer users, and its Qriocity streaming video and music network his company could lead the way to bigger problems well beyond Sony, or the gaming industry. He warned hackers may one day target the global financial system, the power grid or air-traffic control systems.

"It’s the beginning, unfortunately, or the shape of things to come," said Mr. Stringer. "It’s not a brave new world; it’s a bad new world," he said.


Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703421204576328982377107892.html#ixzz1MhiwHDZF

Using Sony’s Playstation Network debacle as an example, here are some things companies can do to avoid being hacked:

  • Don’t remove key features with new iterations: The PS2 was the most successful gaming console ever.  So when the PS3 came out, they had decent backward compatibility.  So what did Sony do?  With the new edition of PS3 slim they removed backward compatibility.
  • Don’t Offer a service in your product and then disable the said service after your customers spend a small fortune buying your product.  Sony advertises OtherOS heavily as a feature of PlayStation 3.  Then it disables it.  This generally creates bad PR.
  • Don’t sue your customers and have them arrested for re-enabling services that you advertise.  After a small group of tech enthusiasts who bought PlayStation 3’s found a way to re-enable the heavily advertised OtherOS functionality, they had lawsuits brought against them.  One person had his house raided of everything in it.
  • Don’t install things that pose security threats to people’s computers without letting them know.  Sony installed DRM using a hidden rootkit.  This ended up posing a large security threat to anyone using their music CDs.  So in a way, downloaded music ended up being safer than Sony’s actual store bought CDs, great job team!

The furor over Sony’s DRM software began at the end of October when a U.S. programmer discovered that XCP software on a Sony music CD had installed copy-restriction software on his computer that was hidden using a rootkit. Antivirus companies later discovered Trojan horses that exploited this software to avoid detection and found that another type of Sony DRM, MediaMax, also posed a security risk.
Read more: http://news.cnet.com/Sony-settles-rootkit-class-action-lawsuit/2100-1002_3-6012173.html#ixzz1MhmjleOF

All these things in conjunction lead members of the technology community to generally dislike Sony.  So there you have it, a list of simple things to do if you don’t want to be targeted by hacking.  For the most part, it involves common sense and doing things that make customers like you instead of hate you.