Sony Decides That It Too Can Compete With Free With Its Own Retro Console

from the everyone-can dept

Remember that quaint mantra from a few years back, "You can't compete with free!" The misguided idea behind the quip was that if the public could get your product for free, typically in digital form via the internet, then you were sunk. Dunzo. Kaput. The problem with this thinking is that selling a product has always had to be about more than an infinitely reproducable digital file, making any claim that "you can't compete with free" exactly two words too long. And, of course, we've seen so many counterexamples in which people and companies very much compete with free, and in fact make a killing at it, so as to make this theory essentially dead. We recently touted the fact that Nintendo is barely able to keep its Nintendo NES Mini in stock as perhaps the ultimate example of this, given how pretty much every computer and smartphone can get all those same games and functions via emulators.

Well, it looks like others noticed this success Nintendo has had competing with free and have decided that they can do so as well. Sony has decided to jump into the retro console market with its Playstation Classic console, despite that it too has emulators available roughly everywhere.

It’ll be out on December 3 in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia, and includes games like Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. There’ll be 20 bundled titles in total, but those five are the only ones announced at the moment.

The PlayStation Classic will include two original PS1 controllers and a HDMI cable, and cost US$99.99 (€99.99 in Europe, AUD$150 in Australia).

And guess what? It's going to sell like crazy. And that's because the reason for buying one goes beyond simply wanting to play a Playstation game. Anyone wanting to do that could simply download one of many emulators and game files and have at it. You know, "free." But this console will compete with free the exact same way Nintendo did: by having a small, slick console that reeks of nostalgia and serves as a conversation piece, all while having the available ports and cords for a modern day television on which to play it.

Frankly, that's not exactly a ton of work to do to compete with free. There's no secret sauce. No magic formula. Just make what people want, don't make it laughably expensive, and reap the rewards.


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    identicon
    D Bunker, 20 Sep 2018 @ 7:54pm

    ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

    You (and all of Techdirt, especially The Masnick) blithely consider hardware the same as software -- and when called on it, pretend that you don't.

    YOU CANNOT GET a "a small, slick console" FOR FREE UNLESS STEAL THE PHYSICAL DEVICE.

    You are simply wrong. Hardware is not same as digital files. You cannot compete with free when it's your own content. Similarly, PIRATES CANNOT STEAL HARDWARE THROUGH THE INTERNET.

    Sheesh. Every week you kids run yet another version of this. It's a mania. -- And by the way, AGAIN, a "mantra" is a Hindu prayer, you're still mis-using it even after correction, exactly as I said you would.

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    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 20 Sep 2018 @ 8:44pm

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

      So, they're going from not making any money (since the games haven't been sold by the publisher for 20 years) to making a whole lot of money by selling these games bundled in a nostalgia-based piece of hardware.

      And it's still not good enough for you. Whether or not those games were pirated, or bought legally second hand, the publisher/artist made the same amount of money - nothing.

      Now, they are going to make a bunch of money, by offering a product that is the same as the "free" version. That is competition, even if it isn't exactly the same thing.

      Cars are competition for taxis are competition for buses are competition for trains are competition for airlines, etc. Products don't have to be identical to compete.


      Also, you really need to stop with your crazy denial of the way words change. I know, reality is hard to deal with, but things change. In fact, a lot of things have already changed, and you really need to deal with the new reality that is kicking you in the head.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2018 @ 9:10pm

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

      I like watching you display the signs of untreated mental illness week after week.

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    • identicon
      Rocky, 20 Sep 2018 @ 9:11pm

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

      Wrong. Even you realize that since you used quotes but you are just being dishonest in your argument.

      If you can sell something even though people can get the equivalent for free you have successfully competed with free.

      No amount of handwaving and smokescreens you put up, that will always be true.

      And in levels of maturity, kids are at least not dishonest and condescending blowhards.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2018 @ 9:27pm

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

      Actually you can, its called a raspberrypi and retroArch. Not quite free but less cost then the Nintendo and Sony stuff. A the level of emulation id outstanding!

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 1:35am

        Re: Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

        "Actually you can, its called a raspberrypi and retroArch."

        There's an even cheaper way, known as using the computer you already own to run the emulator.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 4:05am

          Re: Re: Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

          Look at moneybags over here with a computer.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2018 @ 10:29pm

      YOU CANNOT GET a "a small, slick console" FOR FREE UNLESS STEAL THE PHYSICAL DEVICE.

      That is…kind of the entire point. The PS1 Classic will (presumably) be hassle-free compared to do-it-yourself emulation. It will not require anything to run correctly beyond what you bought. It will have a smaller selection of games, but that selection will have been curated by Sony so that no game is an outright stinker (by PS1 standards). Given the option of spending $100 for the retro console or going it alone with potentially buggy (and technically illegal) emulation, I would drop the dosh.

      You cannot compete with free when it's your own content.

      Sony knows people can emulate PS1 games. Sony also knows people have emulated NES games for a couple of decades now—and the NES Classic still sold out. Nintendo competed with “free” and made a shitload of money in the process. What makes you think Sony will fare any worse?

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 12:40am

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

      "blithely consider hardware the same as software:"

      Except, if you calm your rage and wipe the spittle off your monitor long enough to read what that article actually says, nobody but you is claiming that.

      "You cannot compete with free when it's your own content."

      Is that why every Blu Ray I buy has a movie that's available for free, yet they do well enough for labels I buy from to continue to make them? Hell, I've even bought Blu Rays recently that have a movie I already own on them, as in I can legally watch them without spending another penny. Yet, sometimes, I still have an incentive to upgrade...

      Strange, that, huh? People can be incentivised to pay money even if they have free options?

      "Similarly, PIRATES CANNOT STEAL HARDWARE THROUGH THE INTERNET"

      Then, maybe they should be concentrating on selling the hardware and not whining when people are purchasing other peoples' hardware to run the software they obtained for free? I mean, they could also capture that market by allowing a legal way for people to purchase games for use with emulators running on non-Sony hardware and make even more income that way, but you'd apparently rather they alienated that market and then whine that the people they refuse to sell to are getting the content by other means.

      It surely must hurt to be this wilfully stupid, shouldn't it?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

        > pirates cannot steal hardware through the Internet

        We live in an age of printable guns. When somebody figures out a way to print a functioning PlayStation I'm going to laugh my ass off.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

          Realistically you'd buy a Pi or similar small computer, 3D-print a shell for it, and paint it. Which is all fine if you enjoy model-making.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 24 Sep 2018 @ 1:56am

          Re: Re: Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

          But, even when it is possible to do such a thing, some people will still happily pay a premium to have a traditionally manufactured version from the original designers.

          Presumably, the village idiot here will still be whining about how it's somehow no longer possible for them to sell such things at the moment they're flying off the shelves, but nobody accused him of being particularly bright.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 1:17am

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

      That rant missed the point so wildly, I had to mark it as funny.

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    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 21 Sep 2018 @ 6:01am

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

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    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 1:20pm

      Re: ONLY IF get a "a small, slick console" for FREE are you "right".

      "YOU CANNOT GET a "a small, slick console" FOR FREE"

      Hey, look, the entire point just hit you smack in the face! That's pretty cool.

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  • identicon
    David, 20 Sep 2018 @ 8:06pm

    Frankly, I suspect a sinister motive

    Those retro consoles are just the simplest way to stop game ROM sites from making use of "out of print" copyright regulations.

    Bring out some kind of barely usable and barely available retro console every few decades, and the old games are not "out of print".

    They don't need to earn significant money with those consoles: it's much more important that they are a valid excuse for legally stopping the non-commercial redistribution of old game ROMs.

    Copyright tried to regulate people having to compete with copies of their own product, but the media industries have become so omnipresent that the actual competition is about the attention span of consumers. The whole superstar cult machine is based on selling stuff to people who already have enough to occupy them 24/7, so it's important to keep destroying access to stuff that's no longer marketable at premium prices.

    While we haven't yet seen arson of public libraries, DRM is trying to achieve similar aims.

    Given archival laws, one way to keep non-commercial copying in check are occasional releases of old stuff in barely accessible ways, probably with margins that make shops not wanting to actually sell them.

    Juggling ROM images is a lot more practical than juggling retro consoles, but the availability of the latter makes the former a whole lot more prosecutable.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2018 @ 9:01pm

      Re: Frankly, I suspect a sinister motive

      The number of countries with "out of print" copyright rules is very small, and does not include any really significantly sized markets for Sony or Nintendo. So that's not really a good excuse.

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      • identicon
        David, 21 Sep 2018 @ 12:30am

        Re: Re: Frankly, I suspect a sinister motive

        Does the U.S. count? "Fair Use" can trigger for educational and goals involving the public good for out of print works. That's a reasonable defense for historical ROMs on not-for-profit sites.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 7:21am

          Re: Re: Re: Frankly, I suspect a sinister motive

          The courts have already very strongly suggested that ROMs do not qualify for either of those defenses in the US, particularly when made accessible for actual use and not just archiving purposes.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 4:00am

      Re: Frankly, I suspect a sinister motive

      Sometimes I wondered if those Nintendo retro consoles gave them the backbone to go after all those emulation sites.

      To say that they *do* release old games (sometime in the last 5 or so years, no plans for re-release), might mean that it shows "good faith" on Nintendo's part to keep their old product new.

      If someone brought up those arguments in court, it would be an easy deflection of the "but you CAN'T get these games anywhere else!" argument if someone who knows nothing about emulation (ie. a judge) were in court.

      Ergo, releasing less than 1% of your archive protects 100% of the rest. Not speaking as a lawyer, but it sounds plausible.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 6:30am

        The issue of Nintendo re-releasing old games (or not) has nothing to do with copyright law. Nintendo owns the copyrights on the games it developed/published; legally, it can go after any ROM site that hosts those games regardless of whether any of those games have been republished within recent memory. Hell, Nintendo could have never re-released any of its NES or SNES games, and it would still be able to go after ROM sites. Copyright is not contingent on keeping the copyrighted material in circulation.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 9:50am

      Re: Frankly, I suspect a sinister motive

      Those retro consoles are just the simplest way to stop game ROM sites from making use of "out of print" copyright regulations.

      There's no such thing. At least, not in the US.

      "Abandonware" is not a legal concept. Distributing a work that is still under copyright is copyright infringement, period.

      The reason the "abandonware" designation exists is not that out-of-print works are legal to redistribute. It's that their rightsholders are less likely to take legal action against you for doing so.

      Rightsholders can go after, and have gone after, sites that host games that are not currently available commercially. See recent Nintendo-vs.-the-world coverage.

      Sony's not in this to protect copyrights on games that are out of print -- certainly not on games Sony doesn't own, such as Tekken 3, or games that are very much available commercially, such as Final Fantasy 7. Sony's in this to cash in on the retro console craze.

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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 20 Sep 2018 @ 8:10pm

    Out of Print

    Those retro consoles are just the simplest way to stop game ROM sites from making use of "out of print" copyright regulations.

    Although it seems logical to think that games which have been out of print for 20 years are somehow abandoned, copywrong still covers them for another 100 or so.

    Until everyone who played the original game has died and long after it will be a crime to enjoy these without Sony's permission.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 9:54am

      Re: Out of Print

      Until everyone who played the original game has died and long after it will be a crime to enjoy these without Sony's permission.

      Eh, a few nitpicks there.

      One: Sony only owns the copyright to two of these five games. Substitute "Square Enix" for FF7, and "Namco Bandai" for Tekken and Ridge Racer.

      Two: Probably not a crime; more likely a civil violation.

      Three: There is a legal way to play these games without the rightsholders' permission: buy them used.

      But your general point is correct: these games are still under copyright and will be for decades to come; there is no "out of print" exemption to US copyright law.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2018 @ 10:16pm

    we'll see

    This device seems like a ripoff to me - i own a nes classic mini and a snes classic mini, but i will not be getting one of these playstation classics.

    Overpriced, under-featured.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2018 @ 11:07pm

      I could say the same about the Nintendo consoles, too. Given the hundreds of titles released on the original consoles, having only 20 or 30 games on each retro system seems like a huge waste. But hey, nostalgia is a hell of a thing.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 1:31pm

        Re:

        20 games for $100 leaves each game costing $5. Depending on the games that's not too bad even if the selection is but a tiny fraction of the overall library for the system.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2018 @ 7:56pm

          Re: Re:

          Five dollars for a PS1 game is overpriced but still fair if you take production costs for the console into account. If Sony were to put out a PS2 Classic at a higher price, however, that would be bordering on extortion.

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    identicon
    John Smith, 20 Sep 2018 @ 10:25pm

    To which fountain is the horse being led by this article? Oh yeah, the "you don't need protection of or control over your work." Actually, a creator does.

    The "Freemuim" model can work, but the "free" is basically an extortion payment to the pirates, or a stealth marketing device (such as with "free" social media sites who sell data).

    One good example, though not "free," is Conde Nast, who publishes periodicals on just about every topic known to man, including Street & Smith's for sports, some home nad garden stuff, etc. Though the publications usually break even (or did), the massive mailing list they generate collectively makes them a juggernaut.

    As I've noted before, a creator can function under this model, and some will succeed, but why should they have to? Because some entitled thieves on the internet have to be fed? Copyright is also about control over distribution.

    What exactly is Masnick attempting to say should be free? The next bestselling book? Free is fine ro an article like his, wwhich will lose freshness before it can be pirated, but if someone spends tenyears figuring out how to save you $15 a month on your electricity bill, the only way they can make money with a book is for each reader to pay for a copy, unless some electric company wants to distribut it free, in which case it is not free, but subsidized advertising for another product 9the patronage model).

    "Free" can also be supported as a hobby by those with enough money from their day jobs to write on the side, but that results in a lack of professionalism as the best creators will not get paid unless they can find sponsorship, and sponsors control those they sponsor.

    A smart company will deal in reality and produce whatever makes the most money, though this doesn't mean that copyright should be weakened. those who produce content have every right to sell it and those who want to steal it have no right to do so. Is the author suggesting eliminating copyright proection? Exactly what does he want changed? If nothing, then what is the puporse of the article, which is clearly slanted towards the piracy/fere side of the equation.

    How about a site that gives you "free" selections for sporting events but is spo9nsored by a bookie who pays half of your LOSSES to the site giving you the "free" picks? An investment site that gives you 'free" investment advice but takes half of the commissions from the brokers to whom they send you? Would that not influence the content in a negative way? Facebook's "free" site had users paying with a loss of privacy, and giving up their valuable marketing info for "free." Should we have to do that to consume content?

    One or two success stories belies the entire print media industry, which had its guts ripped out by "free," replacing "ad dollars" with "digital dimes." Google didn't destroy them, Craigslist did, with FREE classified advertising, against which newspapers could not compete, thus losing their biggest cash cow. There are papers which survive soilely on the publication of legal notices. Make those "free" and those papers cease to exist, and since they are sponsored by something not tied to big corporations, their editors hav much more "freedom."

    I've taken issue with Amazon forcing me to give away part of my books for "free" in the form of a free sample of the book. Guess what? The first X pages of any e-book on Kindle, if the author is wise, is effectively marketing copy and a teaser for the book, where under the old model this wouldn't even be included. I even keep in mind exactly how many pages will be coughed up to the freeloaders when writing.

    I've already given up on books as a profit engine (which results in loss of jo9bs and tax dollars to those who used to make money), in favor of things like YouTube, where I know I will be paid a certain CPM. Those who detest those cellphone videos and viral videos from unknowns who now make good livings should realize that weakened copyright is why that is produced, i.e., it's inexpensive and generates more revenue.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2018 @ 10:45pm

      Re:

      Hey bro. I thought you ran away to get your big brother to beat us up. What happened? You wrote a whole bunch of bullshit but I don’t see anything about how you ran off crying to your mamas skirt. You too busy being a rock star? Or a movie producer? Or a mail order executive? Or are you now a new media darling? I do know you are farmer, because you produce bullshit in abundance.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Sep 2018 @ 11:04pm

      Re:

      Oh yeah, the "you don't need protection of or control over your work." Actually, a creator does.

      Please cite where the article says or implies this exact line of thought.

      a creator can function under this model, and some will succeed, but why should they have to? Because some entitled thieves on the internet have to be fed?

      “Freemium” models do not count on pirates. They count on people to play (potentially addictive) games and pay loads of money for premium perks. That model would work even without the existence of piracy.

      if someone spends [ten years] figuring out how to save you $15 a month on your electricity bill, the only way they can make money with a book is for each reader to pay for a copy

      If that book can be outdone by a mere blog post that can be read for free, that writer needs to write something people would prefer to buy. No one is guaranteed a living, least of all writers, and not everything they create is going to sell well (if at all).

      A smart company will deal in reality and produce whatever makes the most money, though this doesn't mean that copyright should be weakened.

      Please cite where the article or any other comment on this article says or implies this exact line of thought.

      Is the author suggesting eliminating copyright proection?

      No.

      Exactly what does he want changed?

      Hell if I know.

      If nothing, then what is the puporse of the article[?]

      The point is to show how Nintendo chose to compete with “free”—in this case, emulation of their classic games—and won big, and how Sony decided to do the same damn thing so it could make some money from gamer nostalgia.

      Google didn't destroy them, Craigslist did, with FREE classified advertising, against which newspapers could not compete, thus losing their biggest cash cow.

      That sucks for them. But if a business model can be destroyed by the Internet…

      There are papers which survive soilely on the publication of legal notices. Make those "free" and those papers cease to exist

      If those legal notices are free for people to view on and download from the Internet, for what reason should they pay for the right to read those same notices?

      I've taken issue with Amazon forcing me to give away part of my books for "free" in the form of a free sample of the book.

      No one forced you to go through Amazon, least of all Amazon. You chose to follow their rules. Only you can decide to stop playing their game.

      weakened copyright is why that is produced, i.e., it's inexpensive and generates more revenue

      Two things.

      1. Copyright law has not been “weakened” in any meaningful sense. It has drastically undercut by the Internet, sure, but not “weakened”.

      2. Copyright still applies to cellphone videos and Vines and whatnot; even if they were not, plenty of companies still make money by selling public domain material. Numerous different copies of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the earliest Sherlock Holmes books, or Night of the Living Dead are available to buy right now, even though anyone can legally download both.

      Content piracy (which is not theft, no matter how much you try to make that emotional connection) will be a thing until the Internet is destroyed. Content piracy will continue to be a thing after that. People will find ways to get the content they want without paying for it; this is a fact of life. If you refuse to adapt in the face of this knowledge, you will have no one to blame for your failures in business but yourself.

      Movie theatres adapted (well, some of them did). Nintendo and Sony adapted. Authors, illustrators, artists of all stripes have adapted (some better than others). You seem to be one of the ignorant few who continue to believe piracy can be stopped if you wish hard enough. But wishing cannot, does not, and will never stop piracy. You can, however, mitigate piracy—provided you want to do the work—and as the article implies, Sony wants to do just that.

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      • identicon
        Not Smith, 21 Sep 2018 @ 6:50am

        Re: Re:

        I've taken issue with Amazon forcing me to give away part of my books for "free" in the form of a free sample of the book.

        Instead maybe you should take the meds your doctor prescribed?

        That is like taking Barnes & Nobles to task because the books are on the shelves where anyone can read them without paying. Next stop - sue the public library.

        If all the useful information in your book can be summed up in a few paragraphs maybe your book isn't as earth shaking as you though, eh?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re:

        I'm honestly more impressed John "Steele" Smith had the guts to admit that Google wasn't at fault for once!

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 12:54am

      Re:

      "I've taken issue with Amazon forcing me to give away part of my books for "free" in the form of a free sample of the book"

      Wait till you find out that people buying the books will often give them to other people so that they can read the whole thing for free - or even sell it to them with no royalties to the original author! Hell, people open books and read a few pages all the time in book stores, libraries and supermarkets with nobody kicking them out for it!

      Although, it does figure that you'd be so stupid as to oppose free marketing for your book. Perhaps you're secretly aware that nobody who actually gets to sample the quality of your writing will ever buy a copy afterwards?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 6:32am

        Re: Re:

        Bloody Pirates!!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 7:16am

        Re: Re:

        I believe that other than being an ice-licking, possibly-paid troll he would have a hard time making money given his ideas of business strategies seem to come straight out of a Three Stooges episode.

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      • icon
        Gary (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 7:16am

        Re: Re:

        or even sell it to them with no royalties to the original author!

        Oddly, I have tried to take "Self Help" books to a used bookstore for sale/credit and they wouldn't take them, claiming the re-sale on these was negligible.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 2:56am

      Re:

      As I've noted before, a creator can function under this model, and some will succeed, but why should they have to?

      Because they want to, and because under a curated publication model, most of them will make nothing because they will not gain a publisher. Also note, that creators who put up work for free, without providing a means of direct support get requests to provide such a means, especially when their audience grows beyond a few hundred.

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    • identicon
      hegemon13, 21 Sep 2018 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      "Guess what? The first X pages of any e-book on Kindle, if the author is wise, is effectively marketing copy and a teaser for the book, where under the old model this wouldn't even be included. I even keep in mind exactly how many pages will be coughed up to the freeloaders when writing."

      Wow, you must be a really shitty writer, and good luck finding an audience if that's how you treat your fans.

      A well-written book doesn't need marketing copy to hide the content. An engaging book will include the first few pages of actual content because the reader will be drawn in and be willing to pay to read the rest. If your book provides so little value that the first few pages negate the need to purchase it, then you don't deserve to be paid for it in the first place.

      If a book hides their content behind marking fluff, I assume the author is incompetent. I guess you've proven my assumptions correct.

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  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 21 Sep 2018 @ 4:48am

    No fear

    Do not worry everyone. I am sure Nintendo filed for a patent for small retro console and will sue Sony for IP theft. Or maybe a brewery will come around and say that both Nintendo and Sony have infringed on the idea of Micro. And sue them both until it all stops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Akshay kumar, 21 Sep 2018 @ 5:27am

    No fear

    Those retro consoles are just the simplest way to stop game ROM sites from making use of "out of print" copyright regulations.

    Although it seems logical to think that games which have been out of print for 20 years are somehow abandoned, copywrong still covers them for another 100 or so.

    Until everyone who played the original game has died and long after it will be a crime to enjoy these without Sony's permission.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 8:47am

      Re: No fear

      Those retro consoles are just the simplest way to stop game ROM sites from making use of "out of print" copyright regulations.

      What regulations are those? Sony can sue ROM sites out of existence with or without this tiny console.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 5:31am

    Is it really competition?

    Sony being Sony, I just have to expect they try to crush the free sites (just like Nintendo). That doesn't sound like competition against free to me, rather to the contrary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonny, 21 Sep 2018 @ 5:53am

    But does it have internet access?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2018 @ 6:13am

    Most people do,nt want to plug a tablet or a pc into the family tv just to play 20 year old games .
    You compete with free by offering an easy to use console at a fair price.
    Most people will not bother setting up an emulator and a
    controller on a pc to play ps1 games .

    There is the nostalgia value of playing games on the console you had as a teen using real sony controllers on
    a tv .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nerd bert (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 6:54am

    Convenience

    I think what the default techie crowd here is missing is what these "classic" consoles are selling to the non-techie crowd: convenience. The hardware is there, all the software is there and known to be working, and there's no tweaking. Just plug the device in and it will work.

    While I don't mind downloading software, tweaking it for my particular adapter and monitor and whatnot, your average Joe will see what it takes to get emulators working well and walk away and gladly pay the $100 to get easy access to those games.

    In fact, that's much of the attraction for consoles in general: the games you play will work well and pretty much the same in all setups, and nobody has an advantage because of a having a better rig (in general). No, the settings won't be optimal and the controls will be such that PC players will wipe the console guys if they play in the same match, but it's easy and "good enough".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Sep 2018 @ 7:10am

      Re: Convenience

      "I think what the default techie crowd here is missing is what these "classic" consoles are selling to the non-techie crowd: convenience."

      No, I think it's you that's actually missing the actual point being discussed.

      The issue is that companies like Nintendo and Sony usually complain that they can't compete with free. That because someone *can* download (or even often will download) a copy for free, this means that they lose millions and there's no point trying to innovate in that area. Both companies have spent a lot of time and energy trying to shut down the free sources, with limited results and still no product until not for people to legally buy.

      However, items like these show that this the initial assertion is a lie. They can easily "compete with free" if they offer a reason for people to pay for the real thing. Ads you suggest, one reason here is convenience. Sure, you can get a Raspberry Pi cheaper and you can get the OS and ROMs for free, but some people would rather pay Sony to do it for them.

      That's the point. It's not that they shouldn't be offering these things to people with lower tech abilities - it's that they *should* be offering them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cyber Killer, 21 Sep 2018 @ 8:52pm

    Except

    Except it is laughably expensive, it costs a half of what a current generation console does. Plus it doesn't allow to put more games on it than the ones it comes bundled with, and doesn't run games from original media either (people do have those around).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Sep 2018 @ 1:41pm

      Kinda missing the point

      Half? A third, maybe a fourth. You can get a used current gen console for $200, but new's going to put you back just a bit more.

      Regardless, the same could be said for Nintendo's offering, yet that thing flew off the shelves, despite all the problems you noted, and importantly despite the fact that emulation and free roms have been a thing for years.

      Yes it's costly(though as I noted above depending on the games it could be a decent deal), and yes it's much more limited than the entirely library, but it's all but a given that it will sell like mad, nicely demonstrating once again that it is in fact possible to compete with free.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2018 @ 2:04pm

    Never forget Sony rootkit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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