Microsoft: There Are "Cautionary Tales" to be Learned From PSP
The Zune has a long way to go before it can really challenge the iPod. It’s not yet profitable, but with things like the recently launched Zune Social, Microsoft is hoping their angle of being a portable entertainment device — not a portable music player — will give them an edge against Apple. With the way Microsoft’s Robbie Bach talks about the Zune, you could say they treat it almost like the PlayStation Portable, seeing as they both play music, video, and — as shown recently — play games. Bach, however, doesn’t see it like that.
“The PSP is a reasonably successful product at the profit-and-loss level,” said Bach, according to VentureBeat. “But as a product concept, there are cautionary tales to learn from it. While it is good at producing audio, it’s not a good music player because it doesn’t have local storage (except for flash memory slots). You can’t keep your music there. It has a beautiful screen, but you can only get the video under the Universal Media Disc format. That format hasn’t been successful.”
He continued, “On a game level, it has done well. But even there, it is mostly PlayStation 2 ports. There isn’t much original content. When you do these devices, they can’t be pretty good at a lot of things. They need to be great at what they do. Zune is a great music player. We have local storage, a marketplace, the social network.
“We didn’t do video right out of the gate because you want to do those things in a high-quality way. Same thing in the gaming space. It is technically possible to do games on there. But you aren’t going to see a broad gaming effort from us until we sort that through and have it figured out. I don’t think of Zune like the PSP. The PSP is a game player that also does video and music. We think of Zune as a broad-based entertainment device.”
His assessment that the PSP is a “game player that also does video and music” is right, but you could really turn around a comment like that on the Zune and say it’s a “music player that also does video and maybe, some day, games.” For my sanity’s sake, I hope the Zune does continue to evolve; I don’t want to think I wasted my money on something that’s going to end up dead.