Good night, Aibo
CNN posts a thoughtful article on the death of the Aibo line at Sony.
I must admit that I echo a lot of the sentiments expressed in this article. I’ve always seen Aibo and Qrio as projects that only Sony was daring enough to undertake. I thought they were very forward-looking, perhaps even a bit crazy, but they highlighted that Sony was a company led by engineers, led by risk-taking R&D. The death of Aibo and Qrio are perhaps a sign that this is shifting.
Perhaps, perhaps, this is a necessary thing. The company as a whole needs to become more profitable, that much is clear. I don’t pretend to understand the discussions that led to this decision. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling sad about it.
EDIT: I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot since originally posting it. Sony is a company that lives off its R&D; innovation is built into its DNA like the design aesthetic is at Apple – the company would not be the same entity without it. However, there are boundaries of profitability which should not be crossed, and perhaps this is the case with these products. So, I am sad to see AIBO and QRIO depart, but I’m sure that the lessons learned from their development will be rolled into other products at Sony. Perhaps, in a similar manner to the 300 people recently being let go from EA, from something which appears sad a thousand flowers will later bloom. 🙂