Saturday, March 27, 2010

Microsoft APAC - What Say You?

Sony can take the risk and release the Playstation 3 here. What about Microsoft? With all the rumors on Natal and the new 'Slim' Xbox 360, it would actually be good timing for them to unveil a new marketing strategy for Asia, and include more countries for Xbox Live.

So, is Microsoft going to let the opportunity in Asia slip by their fingers? Sony really does rule this territory; their mindshare with the Playstation brand remains very strong, and perhaps Xbox's failings in Japan even make this more evident.

Is Microsoft just focused on the western markets? Will they let possibly millions of dollars in potential profit just go to waste by continuing to ignore the Asian market?

You've really got to hand it to Sony; they've got guts to release high-end electronics like the Playstation 3 in places like the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. As income levels in these places rise, Sony is establishing their foothold as *the* console brand of choice for the mainstream.

I do like the Xbox as well and I know it has a lot to offer gamers, but as long as they make it so difficult for players like me to enjoy their product, they will never gain wider acceptance in this part of the world.

Playstation Asia Website Now Lists the Philippines! PINOY GAMERS WIN

More craziness abounds regarding official support for console gaming in the Philippines: http://asia.playstation.com now lists the Philippines as an officially supported country for the Playstation brand!

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Friday, March 26, 2010

PS3 Philippines Launch Is Serious Business: First Pics On Site and Event Schedule Details!

I was in Glorietta this evening; lo and behold...!

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It begins tomorrow! From the Facebook group page, here's the schedule of events for the PLAYSTATION 3 PHILIPPINE LAUNCH this weekend, March 27 to 28 at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati!

DAY 1: March 27, 2010

2:00pm: Official Opening of PlayStation Exhibit plus Onsite Registration for competitions (COSPLAY Fashion, COSPLAY Battlefield Competition and PlayStation Race)

3:30pm - 4:00pm: Band Performance by EEVEE

4:00 pm- 5:30 pm: COSPLAY Fashion followed by COSPLAY Battlefield

5:30pm - 6:00pm: PlayStation Race

6:00pm - 6:25: Awarding of Winners

6:00pm - 7:00pm: Band Performance by PUPIL

DAY 2: March 28, 2010

10:00am – Exhibit Opens

12:00pm – Physical Registration of contestants for PSP and PS3 Games (PS3 Ridge Racer 7 / PSP Tekken : Dark Resurrection)

2:00pm – Simultaneous Elimination Games

4:30pm – Band Performance by LETTER DAY STORY

5:00pm – Celebrity Showdown

5:30pm - Finals game for PSP

6:00pm – Finals game for PS3

6:30pm – Awarding

7:00pm – Band Performance by CALLALILY

Monday, March 22, 2010

Questions Worth Asking at the Upcoming PS3 Launch

1. Warranty Details - are units bought before the launch date covered? Or, at least, is there a repair option available?

2. Playstation Network - Will there be a 'Philippines' region? Will there be locally available PSN cards in peso denominations?

I guess the major question here is, how much of a launch will this be? Is it a...

a. Full blown launch - all features available in other countries will be available here
b. Hardware launch - The PS3, PSP and its hardware and software will be sold, and not much else.

Either of the two is possible---and to be honest, I'm keeping my expectations in check. It is still good to know this is really happening.

3. Games - will games get cheaper? Or at least, will games stay at the same prices you could get them in grey market retail shops?

What region will the games be? Personally, I hope it's Region 3, so they're the same price as the games sold in neighboring Asian countries.

4. Marketing - Is Sony going all the way with this? Will we see marketing for big name titles in newspapers, magazines and billboards? That's pretty nuts already....I guess it depends on how well they do, but we'll see if they ever answer this question.

How about promotions? Imagine bundling a PS3 with an HDTV, or getting some sort of promo when you get connected via broadband with a provider?

How about MMORPGs? If I'm not mistaken, consoles also get MMORPGs you can't get anywhere else.

5. Commitment - Is this just a test run? Will the PS3 / PSP disappear from the public eye if it doesn't do well in 3 months? [Note: that's what happened to the PSP the last time]. I hope this does not happen.

So many questions!

When Sony launches their PS3 locally this Saturday, technically they own the Philippine market. Now all they have to do is to do well in selling it. That will be a challenge, given Filipinos and their available disposable income. But Sony should think of it this way:

If Pinoys can be convinced to buy 35K+++ cellphones, iPhones, Macs and car upgrades, how could you not convince them to buy Playstation 3s? It's going to take a helluva marketing campaign to make this work.

Weak marketing will easily make the PS3 forgettable. It has already been in the market (via grey market imports) for years now. The challenge for Sony Philippines is to make gamers excited about the PS3 again, and I think they can do that by making previously unavailable opportunities in gaming easily more accessible to players everywhere.

Good luck, and I personally hope it goes well....It's for the good of every hardcore gamer out there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How To Launch A Game Console In The Philippines (Non-fanboy tips)

UPDATE: I wrote this post a few days before Sony officially announced their local launch. Sony Philippines is launching the Playstation 3 in the Philippines on March 27-28, with a launch event at the Glorietta Activity Center. It's great news for Filipino gamers everywhere! For more information, check out this page.

For a few years, me and my wife have learned a lot about gaming here in the Philippines. With the birth of our son recently, our priorities have changed. We do still love gaming but we no longer can devote that much time to promoting it as a hobby.

That said, all that wealth of experience that we learned as Xbox MVPs would just go to waste if I didn't write this post. I write this not as an Xbox fan, but as a gamer, and personally if it really does come to pass that Sony is launching a game console here, it's nothing short of a miracle, and to have it happen after we did all those things before feels like one of those 'you get what you wished for, but not exactly what you expected' type of events. It's funny, it's ironic, but I'm just glad that it actually HAPPENED.

Anyway, straight to the point.....if any hardware maker were to launch a game console locally, what points should they consider?

1. GROW THE MARKET - The reality of it is, the games market here in the Philippines is VERY SMALL. It's a niche market that only appeals to less than 1% of the country's population.

That 1% is the one with enough disposable income to actually afford buying original console games every month.

There is also a market that buys pirated games. While it is a much bigger market, it is also a niche and is not really that significant because games are just one other pastime that Filipinos enjoy playing.

That said, I think there is a significant lack of information and awareness about CONSOLE GAMES IN GENERAL with Filipinos. People may have some vague idea of what they are, but the truth is, it doesn't appeal to a lot of people because it seems there is very little in the way of social interaction when one plays games. Filipinos like to socialize and enjoy their time with other people, so a solitary activity like GAMING can come off as anti-social to most people.

2. ONLINE GAMING FAN COMMUNITIES ARE NOT ENOUGH - Reaching out to gamers here in the Philippines will take a lot more than going through online channels. I know a lot of game players who don't spend a lot of time on the Internet posting on online gaming forums. The truth is, online gaming communities comprise an even smaller segment of the gaming market, and they often send the wrong message in terms of defining who your customers are, and what they really want.

Online channels for marketing the PS3 become quite viable only after the market has grown to a significant size.

So to sell your product effectively, you have to use a combination of traditional marketing methods, in addition to just going online and talking to individual game players. Feedback from players is crucial but with the size of the gaming market here (which is very small), gaining feedback through online channels won't get you far in terms of finding who might be interested in the gaming hobby.

Basically....

3. Understand what the product is, what it can do, and who it appeals to - Let me just say that, it surprised me to meet a executive who works in a game-related field once, who didn't know what FINAL FANTASY is. You must know why your product will appeal to people, and the reason is simple - GAMES. Yes the Playstation 3 can play blu ray movies and do all sorts of other things....but at the end of the day, its ability to play games is its best selling point.

Stay in touch with what's going on in the game industry. Know what the opposition is doing, know what they're selling....and in turn, understand what YOU are selling, and how you can prove that it's better.

4. Match Grey Market Pricing - to really grow the industry, build on what was already established. I hope that Sony Philippines will match (or have competitively lower) pricing than what is already on grey market retailers in Greenhills. In a way, the grey market already understands at what price players are willing to pay to buy their games and accessories. If the officially supported Playstation games and accessories are going to be more expensive, it could send the wrong message to consumers, and it also severely lowers the potential of the (already quite small) market to grow.

That said, Sony Philippines has surprised me that they have the initiative to sell the Playstation 3 in such a challenging market environment. I do hope that they understand the sales potential of their product, and that they can only really succeed if they create the market and grow it further, beyond its current status as a niche. Their success could usher in the creation of a whole new industry in the Philippines; let's all hope for the best!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sony Playstation 3 Philippine Launch Details!

It's official - Sony is releasing the Playstation 3 officially in the Philippines! This marks an important milestone for console gaming and for gamers in our country. Finally - some official support!

http://www.sony.com.ph/microsite/PS2010/PlayStation_Mar2010_Newsletter.html


Sony Philippines, Inc. invites you to the first PlayStation Event in Philippines on March 27 and 28 at the Glorietta Activity Center. Enjoy the extensive display of the full PlayStation line-up, try out the newest game offerings and watch the hottest bands perform onstage.

Up for grabs are brand new PlayStation 3 , (PSP) PlayStation Portable and limited edition PlayStation premium items by simply joining any of the following activities:

* COSPLAY Fashion - Come in your best Anime/PS game character COSPLAY attire and strut your stuff to win a brand new PlayStation 3
* COSPLAY Battlefield - Create a 2 minute Battle/Fight Scene Simulation with 2 other friends and win 1 PSP each
* PlayStation Amazing Race - Discover the PlayStation World Amazing Race Style with a partner and win 1 PSP each
* PSP (PlayStation Portable) Tekken Network Battle - Step up to the challenge and be the best Tekken Dark Resurrection fighter to bring home a brand new PS3
* PlayStation 3 Ridge Racer 7 Competition - Are you in need of speed? Finish first in the Ridge Racer 7 Game and be an owner of a brand new PS3
* I Want A PlayStation®3 Raffle Onsite Draw - 2 brand new PlayStation®3 to be raffled out

Limited Edition PlayStation® 3 Package
Aside from the 3000 Php Software & Accessories Discount and the Premium item, be sure to also get these additional discounts:

First 5 people : Additional 3000 php Software & Accessories discount
6 – 20 people : Additional 2,500 php Software & Accessories discount
21 – 40 people : Additional 2,000 php Software & Accessories discount
41 – 60 people : Additional 1,500 php Software & Accessories discount
61 – 80 people : Additional 1,000 php Software & Accessories discount
81 – 100 people : Additional 500 php Software & Accessories discount

Congratulations to console gaming fans in the Philippines! Finally, some official support!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Philippine SONY Catalog Features Playstation 3, Launch on March 26?

Note that the date is based on an Internet rumor, and what used to be on the asia.playstation.com/ph/en site (which got pulled)

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

More on PS3 Philippine Launch: PS3 Ad in Local Sony Catalog!

Picked up the '2010 Bravia/Summer Fever 2010' local catalog from the Sony store in Park Square. It had an ad for the Playstation 3 in there....

Looks like this PS3 launch thing is really happening.

(Why no picture? I've got an important day job and I've only five minutes to blog about gaming stuff....Take my word for it, this is real. Or you can just visit the Sony store in Park Square and see for yourself....)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Playstation 3 Local Launch Imminent???

So recently I've been hearing a lot of rumors about the Playstation 3 launching officially in my corner of the globe. I'm really happy to hear this news and it's great news for all gamers here in my country, whether you prefer Xbox, Nintendo or Windows/PC -based gaming.

Why? It's a bit of recognition that games are a big deal, and the industry is here to stay.

The rumors I've read say that: