At the last Sony strategy meeting, held in Tokyo this June, one of the audience members picked Sir Howard Stringer up on his progress in breaking down the 'silos' within Sony.
A year before, Sir Howard had vowed to bring down the silo mentality within Sony Corporation. And to be fair to him, much of the strategy meeting was based around the new integrations between products across different divisions - for example, bringing together products from SCEI, Sony Ericsson and Sony Electronics.
As time goes on, Sir Howard and Sony want to break down the walls and marry more of their products up with each other.
But there is one wall that refuses to fall, no matter how many people appear to trumpet their voices at it.
The geographical split within SCEI.
There are now far too many examples of this silo attitude. The latest regional issue, US exclusivity until 2009 for the new PS Video Store, has been worsened by David Reeves comments from E3 today.
He states that Sony believes "local content is important" which is what Sony are "working on right now. The dates for video content will come later this year."
Local content. Schmocal content!
At what point are movies like Cloverfield, The Bank Job and Rambo 'local'? They have all been distributed globally. They are all global movie brands.
Yes - they may have been released at different times, but timing can be handled through IP location and hardware information without issue.
Yes - Sony may want to play different trailers ahead of the feature, but that can be handled through location-based advertising too.
We also understand that Home is going to be region locked. I won't be able to virtually meet my US friends unless I explicitly invite them to my private Home space. And I won't be able to sit in the public areas and play a game of chess with them. The reason?
Sony don't want you to be watching US adverts if you're in Europe.
Is it really beyond the wit of Sony to feed the right adverts to the right place by using location-aware advertising? I think not.
Whenever I visit other countries and I open up a website, I get local banner advertising on the same sites I visit every day from the UK. Why can't Sony do the same?
The PlayStation Store in Europe is another cause for concern. Did SCEE and SCEA put their heads together when they created the new PS Store categories. No. Apart from a core understanding of the new update process, SCEE went their own way and didn't collaborate with SCEA.
They say it is because they have dozens of sites to update, whereas SCEA only has one. I say it's because they just didn't talk.
Result? We end up with an inferior PS Store with categories that don't make sense.
Silo mentality rules.
What else shows the huge gap in best-practise marketing processes between SCEA and SCEE?
How about Qore - US only; despite being a joint effort with a global media company, Future Publishing. Official PlayStation Blog - US only; despite the fact that the content there is as relevant to Europe as it is to the US.
So whilst Sir Howard may be doing a good job in bringing different Sony divisions together, we would ask him, David Reeves, Kaz Hirai and others to take a look at the geographical silos that still exist within SCEI alone.
Europe - one of the stand-out regions for PS3 sales - is depending on them to deliver, and we see no good reason for the gulf between SCEI's companies to exist.
'Local content' is not a good enough argument.
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