Electronic Entertainment Expo 1999
"I'll Be Back"
by Jim Bennett (May 1999)
From my viewpoint, Sony's PlayStation II created the most show floor buzz, even though there was only one, modest, public display of the unit. It is scheduled for U.S. release in 2000 and this informal preview certainly generated a lot of interest. Selected developers and retailers were shown special demonstrations in Sony's VIP area -- their reaction was very positive.
Sony's huge exhibit focused on existing and evolutionary products. And it should since Sony has over 60 percent of the TV game market, with products like PlayStation. Currently more than 12 million PlayStations are sold per year and has an installed base of about 60 million units worldwide. Over 3500 software titles are currently available and sales are strong.
One of those titles shown was the beta version of Grand Turismo 2 which boast more than 400 vehicle models which can run on a variety of tracks, including off-road courses. The ever popular Crash Bandicoot was showcased, along with other music enhanced characters. Additionally, audience kudos go to Um Jammer Lammy, as a potential follow-up hit to the original Parappa the Rapper. I wonder if Sony music can be far behind with even more music influencing gaming releases.
Again, the Sony branding and the multiple use of entertainment talent under the Sony corporate umbrella can only lead to even higher gross margins and returns to shareholders. These combination game, movie and soundtrack hybrids seem to be a trend to create larger markets and greater revenues.
© 1999 Jim Bennett All rights reserved.