Sony Making "Console Wars" Movie

Sony Pictures, you may have heard, has bought up a bunch of domain names relating to a movie project called “Console Wars.” Yesterday, HitFix’s Kris Tapley ambiguously tweeted that he’d heard of the project before and described it as “The Social Network” but for video-games.

So… a non-fiction drama about corporate-rivalry in the video game world? Interesting. But what would it be about – which “war” are we talking about?

It would be almost comically cynical and gauche for Sony to make a movie about a business they are one of the three major players IN – even in a “names changed” fictionalized version everyone would be able to tell which one is supposed to be Playstation, making it impossible not to be looking for moments of self-aggrandizement. Also, the movie would probably be current-gen because that’s when the mainstream audience/press started caring about the games industry… and most of the “drama” in Generation 7 has involved Sony tripping over it’s own shoes in some way.

I’ll get called “biased” for this, but the only remotely movie-worthy console-biz story of Gen7 is the Wii: a company that used to be on top, now struggling on the verge of collapse, making a hail-mary pass that everyone says is insane and will fail based largely on the ideas of it’s chief creative guy (Miyamoto as Billy Beane from “Moneyball,” basically) …only to see it become a giant restorative success. Like The Wii or not, that’s the story.

The “Great” Console War, of course, was Nintendo vs Sega in the 80s and 90s (back when consoles actually had totally different sets of games and such) but I agree with Devin at BAD that it’d be hugely unlikely for Sony Pictures to be so gun-ho to make an 80s period piece featuring almost-exclusively Japanese actors.

That said, if Sony really does want to make a movie about the game business where their brand gets to be the underdog turned conquering hero, the “birth of the Playstation” would be the way to go: Screwed-over in a VERY public and humiliating way by the industry’s top dogs, turning the remains of that screw-over into thier own brand, ultimately getting-over on aforementioned top-dog by innovating where they refused to? That’s a movie. On the down side, there’s no way Nintendo is going to agree to let their logos, names, products etc. be seen in that movie; which you’d kind of need…

12 thoughts on “Sony Making "Console Wars" Movie

  1. TheAlmightyNarf says:

    Well, I'm definitely intrigued. A movie about the “console wars” vaguely along the lines of The Social Network sounds all sorts of awesome… except that it's being made by Sony. I mean, on the one hand Sony Pictures and SCE are largely autonomous from each other (seeing how games based on Sony's movies always end up on all the consoles). But, on the other hand Sony's never seemed to have any issue using their movies to push their other products. I think there's potential for anything taking place before the late 90s, but anything taking place after that is likely to be crap.

    For now I'll just wait and see.


  2. TheAlmightyNarf says:

    After thinking about it for a bit, I think the rise of Atari and the 2600 would be the best potential (if unlikely) movie here. Not only is that story the best “rags to riches” story of any generation, but it leaves it open to sequels about later generations.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Bob,you keep saying Nintendo was on the verge of collapse after the Gamecube. The big problem with this is the fact that Nintendo kept posting profit for 30 years straight after the NES launched. This includes the Gamecube years where they had the Gameboy Advance doing the business along with the ever succesfull Pokémon.

    Even if the Wii failed, it would still have made money for Nintendo due to the succes of the DS(doing MASSIVE numbers at the time with both hardware and software) and the fact the Wii hardware was very cheap to produce.

    As for the Wii being a Hail Mary pass: have you ever read a book called 'Nintendo Magic' Bob? It's a highly informative book of which the author actually gained access to Miyamoto, Iwata and even Yamauchi to interview everybody in the lead up to the succes of the Wii. While the succes of the Wii still has a lot to do with being at the right place at the right time, the idea of a hail mary pass just doesn't fit.

    The way i'd describe their strategy would be a good educated guess thanks to them descovering two particular business books. Namely 'The Blue Ocean Strategy' and more importantly 'The Innovator's Dilemma' by Clayton Christensen. Nintendo even namedropped these books in various presentations between 2005 and 2009.

    As for console wars as a movie, I can see the following stories as noteworthy and as possible movies:

    -A movie detailing how Nolan Bushnell started up Atari and sees how his company is fucked up.

    -Nintendo starting up during a huge anti-japan wave in the 80's.

    -Sony coming into the race.

    Sorry for the longass post by the way.


  4. Aiddon says:

    I can't help but feel like this could just be Sony trying to make their version of the Wizard. They can't do it about the current gen because that would be about Sony royally screwing up ever since the PSP launch and then Nintendo making out like bandits to the point where they had so much money it was oozing out of their pores.


  5. TheAlmightyNarf says:

    @ Anon 8:44

    Why on earth would you want Bob to review that movie? I mean, even if you agreed with the craziness it presents, it does a horrible job actually making it's argument. It's as if a bunch of conservatives learned all the wrong lessons from Micheal Moore.

    If you want people to vote against Obama, that's the last movie you'd want them to see.

    Unless, of course, you're a liberal, in which case I'm shocked you even know about the movie.


  6. Anonymous says:

    @ Narf

    I consider myself an independent, I wouldn't use the word “horrible” to describe the attempt it makes to prove Obama to be an anti-colonialist.

    Slightly biased, yes, but I would pay for your ticket so that you would be pleasantly surprised on how well D'Souza presents his case.

    By using phrases like “A bunch of conservatives” instead of D'souzas name, and by dismissing the argument as “crazy” and “horrible” without mentioning what the argument actually was… It makes me assume that you haven't seen the movie, because like me, you dismissed as another Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilley circle jerk.

    I don't blame you, going into the theater I wasn't expecting much either…. but I promise you, from one independent thinker to another, that if you watch this movie, you will be pleasantly surprised.

    I want Bob to debunk/review the movie because…

    A. I honestly want to hear Bobs opinion of it

    B. It will give Bob more well deserved hits on his blog

    Don't wanna change his mind….


  7. Sanunes says:

    Unless its going to be about older generation of consoles its going to feel like a huge “feel sorry for Sony” product or an infomercial to try and sell Sony products.

    No matter what I do agree that both Nintendo and Microsoft will probably refuse to co-operate with the movie and have issues if anything looks too much like them.

    This reminds me of your Big Picture from yesterday.

    @Anonymous 9:37
    If you really want him to review the movie you will probably want to take a different approach then requesting it in every post with asking him to review it, generally people will just look past those posts.


  8. Anonymous says:

    I dont disagree with you at all Bob, in fact I completely agree. The best movie would be about the rise and fall and then the rise again of Nintendo. But I also agree that a story revolving around Sony in its early years would be awesome as well.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Why would you need a company's permission if you are making a based-on-a-true-story movie? Is it illegal to show the “Nintendo” slogan, or cast an actor to play Miyamoto without Nintendo's permission?


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