business news in context, analysis with attitude

I mentioned yesterday that the rapid sales of Sony's PS4 demonstrate what seems to be a successful product introduction, which led MNB reader Jesse Ehlen to write:

Regarding the Playstation 4 launch, before you call it a successful one, keep an eye on the cost of the day one glitches, both to Sony’s pocket book and to their brand image.  This story is going to get a lot bigger and a lot more expensive as time progresses.  The blowback will be especially severe given that these day one purchasers will have to wait until February at the earliest to get a replacement console.  For historical perspective, do a Google search on what the ‘Red Ring of Death’ cost Microsoft a few years ago.

Secondly, the seven years between PS3 and PS4 is about standard in the gaming console universe (it’s been that long between Xbox versions as well).  It’s not so much about the technology not evolving as it is about giving software developers ample time to create games and get the most of out the existing architecture - development of triple-A games can take as long as two years.  The slowest-evolving part of this whole equation is probably the graphics engines (created by game developers) that power the games.  Gamers that are hung up on hardware specs are likely to prefer PC gaming over a Playstation or Xbox.

Well, I did say I know almost nothing about gaming. I guess that now has been proven out…

MNB took note yesterday about a Wired report that Costco "is joining the Google Shopping Express same-day delivery service. It’s the highest-profile new partnership for the program since Shopping Express came out of private testing and became available to the San Francisco Bay Area public in September."

I commented:

It isn't just Amazon that is being targeted here … it is virtually every retailer selling the same stuff that Target and Costco sell. Which is why every retailer that fits that definition has to either figure out a way to get into this game, or figure out what differential advantage it has that will keep people coming into the store on an ongoing basis. It seems to me that becoming a destination shopping experience with every passing day is becoming more of a price of doing business.

MNB reader Herb Sorensen responded:

Note that Costco is the #3 global retailer now, behind two behemoths who cannot move with efficiency: Walmart and Carrefour.  Costco's continuing globalization matches well with Google's already global presence and strategy.  This doesn't mean they will be able to "roll" Amazon.

The clash of the Titans continues apace!

MNB reader Joan Kelley chimed in:

There are many items I buy from Amazon that I used to purchase from Costco, even though I love shopping Costco.  Having moved to CT a few years back from Seattle the nearest Costco is over an hour away from the beautiful CT River shoreline.  I do order some items from Costco online but find the selection very limited. I  have emailed Costco many times about their online selection but always get back one of their "form" responses.  Too bad, I love Costco and am a walking advertisement for their warehouses….

Regarding Amazon, one MNB user wrote:

I know you are enamored with e-retail and often discuss that stores need to figure out how to live with e-commerce and in general I agree.  However, on Nov 11th I ordered a large screen TV from Amazon instead of going to the local electronics big box retailer.  It is now Nov 20th and I still don’t have my TV.  So much for the myth of same or second day delivery.   This a great example of the risk associated with over-promising and under delivering.  It will take a lot of soul searching before I would consider a large purchase like this from the online world again.  The physical store still offers the instant gratification and security of knowing exactly when and what you are going to get.  I still use online retailers for small items like shirts and such.

Listen, if I asked for same day or next day delivery - and paid for it - and did not get a product for nine days, I'd be ticked off, too.

Though to be fair, you don't say that you did that.

Still, nine days is a long time. I'd be curious what happened when you complained to Amazon. What was their response? Because I've always found Amazon to be fast and responsive when I've had problems, though I've never ordered a TV from the site.
KC's View: