If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If that second effort doesn’t work, than take more time and go for trial number three. There’s usually little wrong with taking the time to get a project right assuming you have the resources and luxury of time. On the other hand, as the famous quotation goes, “real artists ship.” If you’ve made a deadline, if you’re fighting for marketshare with competition, repeatedly missing the schedule you set yourself raises troubling questions about management and product development.
Tuesday, Sony’s gaming division put itself in the hot seat by announcing they will postpone the launch of their PS3 virtual world environment (called Sony “Home”) at least until the fall.
As it stands now, Home is projected to marry the kind of virtual world environment made popular in games like Second Life alongside interactive games and downloadable services similar to those offered on the rival Xbox live platform.
The delay is the second such extension for the service aimed to make the powerhouse console more connected and appealing to mass audiences. The first Home delay was announced at the Tokyo game show in September. It is now a full year off its originally announced release schedule. (Home was originally slated for a fall 2007 release)
The first delay was explained as a factor of its global footprint. Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Kazuo Hirai said at the time that, as a worldwide service, it needed “to offer a wide range of functions required in Japan, in the U.S., in Europe and in Asia.” Extra time was to get those features seamlessly in place.
This time around, little explanation beyond “quality control” has been given. CEO Kazuo Hirai’s statement simply asked Sony fans to be patient. He said, “we understand that we are asking PS3 and prospective PS3 users to wait a bit longer. But we have come to the conclusion that we need more time to refine the service to insure a more focused gaming entertainment experience than what it is today.”
To be sure, that “focused gaming experience” and a unique service will be necessary. With each delay, expectations have risen. Any offering that merely clones existing services, or mashes them up to a new composite could create customer backlash and a possible PR nightmare. (And Sony’s already earned enough bad PR with the platforms past track record of confusing model and pricing shifts).
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