Disruptive Technology - PS3, the Wii, and Coasters

matt.'s avatar
So, check out this blog, folks -


I thought it was an interesting read, and has strong ties to the amusement industry as a whole.

For those that want some paraphrasing, the gist is that technology advances are almost always faster than what a basic consumer really desires to consume. Witness, for example, the general gripiness surrounding the PS3's launch, and the raves that the Wii (so far) has been garnering. Much of that has to do, I think, with the PS3's price point but also the fact that there really isn't anything terrific game-wise for the PS3, and the Wii's really clear goal of not being all about graphics, but really being about gameplay, first and foremost. And not just good gameplay, but fun, easy gameplay that even grandma might get the gist of. Just look at what the DS and DS Lite has done to the PSP.

So, coasters, yes? Easy comparison, I think. Within the world of wooden coasters alone, we can see what happened in the 80's and 90's (and, stupidly, with SOB later on). Part of the problem, obviously, was that the technology for these bigger and bigger wooden coasters *wasn't* all the way there, but even if they did work perfectly, would the benefit have gone way over the average park goer's head?

I mean, we just had a really good discussion regarding Cedar Point's installments in the past 6 or 7 years, is it stretching too far to compare TTD to the PS3 and Maverick to the Wii?

Probably kinda sorta considering Maverick is argulably just as advanced as TTD, just on a smaller scale, but the sentiment still applies, I think.

Ok, enough rambling, discuss! *** Edited 11/18/2006 5:49:49 PM UTC by matt.***

I like your comparision of the PS3 and the TTD. In the end, the PS3 will sell more because of the huge fan base, marketing and the legacy that the PS1 and PS2 had. In the end, TTD will bring more butts through the gates than Maverick because it's so colossal, and way easier to market.

On the flipside, I am a Nintendo diehard, and will proabbly get the Wii over the PS3. I have the DS lite and it has been my best gagdet investment this year.

Fate is the path of least resistance.

Hmm, interesting comparison... And a valid one... Like the gaming industry drive to have better graphics, amusement parks often strive for some aspect to be the -est, be it "highest", or "fastest," "most cross-ties of any coaster themed like a monkey this side of the Mississippi that starts with the letter 'Q'".

And I think you're right, that's exactly what CP is trying... To go in a 'different direction', realizing that biggest, fastest doesn't always equal best. Matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that say as much on their site...

btw - I just tried the PS3 at Best Buy, and it is sweet! Only played a demo of MotorStorm or whatever it's called. The motion control is really a great addition. Much more natural feel. *** Edited 11/18/2006 7:17:20 PM UTC by Gravitationally Challenged***

The PS3 has awesome games too!!!

The Wii just uses the gimmick of having motion controllers. The PS3 also uses motion controllers but not on the same level. Also coasters have used gimmicks in the last 20 years and not all of them are good or functional. (stand up, flying, 4th dimension, etc...)

Also PS3 is going to be way better than the Wii!!!

P.S. --- The PSP is also the best hand held game sytem *** Edited 11/18/2006 7:26:25 PM UTC by Hamster Boy***

Top Three Parks: 1) Islands of Adventure 2) Bucsh Gardens Europe 3) Six Flags Magic Mountain
matt.'s avatar

Gravitationally Challenged said:

And I think you're right, that's exactly what CP is trying...

And just to drive conversation a little bit here, I was just using CP as an example for the industry as a whole, of course.

I think it also applies to some extent to manufacturers as well. I think we'll always have the big guns (Intamin, B&M, etc) out there and important, but who would have thought 10 years ago that coasters like Dollywood's Mystery Mine would be so eagerly anticpiated?

Fun's avatar

Hamster Boy said:
The PS3 has awesome games too!!!

The Wii just uses the gimmick of having motion controllers... Also coasters have used gimmicks in the last 20 years and not all of them are good or functional...

I would argue that both video game systems and amusement park rides are, by their very nature, a gimmick.

*** Edited 11/18/2006 8:23:21 PM UTC by Fun***

I think it's a fair comparison,yet maybe a bit like comparing apples to oranges.
By the price differances between the two, ps3 and wii, they're targeting differant audiences, like comparing a Nissan to a BMW car purchaser. Both have good and bad sides/limitations.

I'll stick with computer games and online arenas.

Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


Lord Gonchar's avatar

...like comparing a Nissan to a BMW car purchaser

Not to go even more off topic, but:

BMW Z4 Roadster - $35,600
Nissan 350Z Roadster - $35,050

It kills me the way the 'prestige' car makers have lowered themselves to the masses.

As far as the Wii/PS3 comparison in the original post's link - I think it's a totally valid POV. Sony seems content on pushing the boundaries of the way games look (just like every system has done since the good ol' days) and Nintendo seems to be trying to change the way we play games. A total shift of the status quo. Trust me, you'll see things similar to the Wiimote for the other systems in the future.

As far as how this applies to coasters, I see the comparisons matt is trying to make. Not sure entirely of the validity of the comparisons, but I can see the angle. The idea of pushing it as far as you can just because you can vs making something more substantial that contributes of the progression of things.

What about dark rides? We've had the old 'haunted rides' with the silly stunts, then we got interactive experiences and even rides like Spidey at IOA. I'm sure someone with more time on a Saturday afternoon could draw some parallels there.

Unfortunately, that person isn't me. I'm out to snag a Wii. :)

Call me old fashioned, but I prefer pinball. Maybe that's why I usually have more fun at traditional parks like Knoebels or SCBB too.

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
matt.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
Not sure entirely of the validity of the comparisons, but I can see the angle.

Yeah, I already conceded that as an analogy it doesn't work perfectly, but conceptually, it certainly does. As in the whole "disruptive technology" concept. With this clear and concise shift in the industry towards more family friendly and more accesable attractions, I think it's definately safe to say that the technology has certainly surpassed even what the biggest parks are really looking for, at least in the thrill rides department. Even more so, if the potential technology has surpassed what the biggest parks are looking for, how many years ago did it shoot past the more average-sized parks?

Enter in Mack, Maurer-Sohne, Sally, all of those waterpark oriented companies building slides and playstructures as fast as they can, etc.

I mean, obviously none of this is groundbreaking or even original or new in the slightest but it's interesting to see the concept verbalized and outlined...and then see that it could apply to many, many industries...

Jeff's avatar
eBay hysteria aside, I'm not convinced that the PS3 is going to do as well as fanboys think it is. Where are the games? Beyond the hard core gamers that can afford it, who will buy it?

The PS3 is not disruptive at all, because slightly better graphics make not a disruption. Nintendo has been innovating with games forever. Microsoft has done it a little in the way they built their online system.

To translate to the coaster world, there have been some disruptions in the way of propulsion systems work, to offer new experiences, but honestly I think the industry has largely been evolutionary, not revolutionary in its development.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

bobthecoasterguy's avatar
I sort of see it as a comparison the fact that parks are now buying wood coasters again versus the latest and greatest steel coaster. Granted, most of these wood coasters don't have any revolutionary selling points (besides perhaps the 90 degree banking), but they're just plain old fun.

Also, I agree on the point that the PS3 isn't disruptive and the fact that most people don't own an HDTV, so why pay the $600 when you'll have to pay an extra $1000ish to get the full experience. Not to mention the $60 games plus whatever accesories you need. But I have my Wii preordered and I'll get it bright and early at the Nintendo Store. :)


The PS3 Launch and to an extent, the PS3 remind me a lot of Six Flags.

Sony didn't release enough systems, I have heard it was as low as 150,000 systems for the US launch and it has been said Sony did it intentionally to create hype and chaos. This caused ridiculous lines with people waiting 3 - 4 days and in some cases more. Six Flags has a habit of not running their coasters at capacity creating longer lines.

The price of admission is high at $600 for the PS3 which seems overpriced for a console (yeah it's powerful but no successful console has ever released above $399) and the competition is $200 - $350 less. Six Flags' gate price of $59.99 at SFMM and SFGADV are higher than the competition.

Once you are in, you are stuck with overpricing. Sony is charging $49.99 for an extra controller and $59.99 for games (I know Micrsoft is charging these amount as well). Six Flags charges $15 for parking and rips you off on food in the park.

PS3's launch had violence with shootings, and riots. You hear about those incidnets at SF parks more than any other chain (shootings at SFOG and SFA, the riot in 2004 at SFGADV).

Both companies are overconfident. Shaprio was sure he could turn the parks around Sony was sure that people wanted a PS3 and would make sacrifices in order to get the system despite the cost.

Many Six Flags parks have a lot of clones you can find in other parks (SLCs and Boomerangs in particular). Many PS3 Launch games are not console exclusive and can be found on other systems, such as almost all sports games, Tony Hawk's game etc. *** Edited 11/19/2006 4:34:20 AM UTC by YoshiFan***

PS3 = Six Flags
WII = Holiday World
Enough Said.

Yoshi just read your whole post.Onthe Cloning of other parks comparison. Sony didn't have plans forthe motion controls until Nintendo announced it either. Kinda like TTD and KK. *** Edited 11/19/2006 4:44:14 AM UTC by TonyBlackjack***

Yoshi fan...I just read your entire post and every point you made is completely and amazingly accurate. In my opinion all that sony cares about with their gaming systems is making as much money as possible, which seems similar to six flags parks in a lot of ways. I am not trying to say that nintendo is not out to make money but they actually seem to care about making the best games and systems for their fans and seem concerned about making the fans happy. This would be similar to what tonyblackjack said comparing the wii to holiday world. The only thing playstation has ever done that i found as impressive is guitar hero...everything else they release seems like some kind of rip off of something else or something just slapped together.

Ok sorry i just had to ramble for a minute and defend the wii. Yes I realize I am a big nintendo fanyboy, and have accepted that I am a dork when it comes to video games :)

I was just at the launch of Wii, I didnt pre-order a system but went with a friend. I have to agree with the store clerk. "PS3 and Xbox are basically the same machines as their procedures, but they look prettier. Nintendo's idea was fresh and new, it has limited updated graphics, but it plays different and brings fun, silliness, and excitement back to gaming, making them really the only true Next Gen system out there." I mean, the other systems look nice and realistic, but you can only go so far with that before it becomes tiresome, at least for me. The past was all about upgraded graphics, I like this new direction.

Also the Holiday World comparason to Wii and PS3/Xbox to Six Flags, suits what else he said perfectly. "Nintendo is always such a pleasure to work with, so friendly, and every system launch they do always goes smoothly. They say X ammount of systems, we get X ammount of systems, the customers get X ammount of systems and games and assesories. With Microsoft and Playstation, theres always SOMETHING wrong and always a few irritated customers, let alone the bugs that come later" *** Edited 11/19/2006 7:01:47 AM UTC by P18***

Lord Gonchar's avatar
If you want to make the park/game system comparisons, it runs even deeper.

- Even though they're (Sony/SF) more expensive and involve more hassle, they still outsell the cheaper, better valued product.

- For every PS3 that they sell Sony loses money ...just like SF! :)

I also think it's hysterical that Holiday World has become the antonym for Six Flags.


Got that Wii, by the way. :)

*** Edited 11/19/2006 9:00:59 AM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

i won't be buying any new system right away, first runs are always buggy and the price always comes down within a couple years. and by the way, i absolutly love the psp, and when i get some extra cash i'll pick up a ds as well. i travel and live on the road alot and portable is the way for me right now. i'm sure ds will be great, but man, that psp certainly makes long commutes fly by with killer games and movies. excited to pick up thrillville this week and build parks while i travel. good times
matt.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Got that Wii, by the way. :)

You're lucky this is a family friendly board because there are so many expletives I want to hurl at you right at this very moment.

I went to Best Buy at 7:30 and was 4 people short when they were handing out tickets. :( 4 PEOPLE.

YoshiFan said:

Sony didn't release enough systems, I have heard it was as low as 150,000 systems for the US launch and it has been said Sony did it intentionally to create hype and chaos.

The hype around the PS2 and Sony not having enough systems made me so mad I still haven't bought one.

I guess I'm Nintendo all the way. As long as there's some form of Mario Party and beer I'm content. ;)

Millennium Force Laps-169 **Vertigo Launches-21** Dragster Launches-53

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