Did Sony Make The Right Call By Being First With The PS4?
Of course, the PlayStation 4 has been the buzz of the gaming industry for some time now. There are many, like myself, who are highly optimistic about the console, and many others who don’t feel the same, or still feel that Sony not showing the actual console was a very bad thing. But the topic that hasn’t been discussed all that much is, whether or not Sony made the right call to reveal the PlayStation 4 first to begin with, and that’s what I want to touch on a little bit today.
Before I get into that, I first want to say that I really enjoyed Sony’s conference, and aside from the social feature promises which we have to wait to see in action, the tech demos, developers who signed on and, most importantly, the actual games, impressed me and got me really excited. To even begin answering the question of whether Sony made the right call, we’ve got to look at the following: in recent years, what has the PlayStation 3 done extremely well? The short answer is, be a gamer’s console. Most gamers want their console dominantly for games, I know that I do, and there’s little dispute in the fact that Sony has been leading in recent years as far as high quality exclusives and variety goes.
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I hate console fanboy wars, so that’s not what I’m getting into. But if you look at the upcoming releases for this year, practically the only Xbox 360 exclusive is Gears of War: Judgement. This infograph shows how the PlayStation 3 has ten exclusives upcoming, while the Xbox 360 has just one. Now, it’s completely possible that Microsoft is going to unveil new IPs and such at its upcoming press conference, but the reason I bring this up is because, in recent years, the PlayStation 3 has been a gaming-focused console, and the success of PlayStation Plus makes that ever so apparent. It’s really an amazing service. And with Sony’s PS4 conference widely being a success (facts to come later on), they’re establishing their brand more and more as a gamer’s console, which is great.
This could mean that many gamers, who dominantly want a console for games, could be rethinking their next-gen pick, subject to Microsoft’s conference. Of course, we have to factor out the gamers who can’t lose their Gamerscore or Trophies and account progress, and would stay loyal to their console regardless. But if we look at some of the industry news, it certainly looks like Sony making the first move has already propelled its brand into ascension, no God of War pun intended.
NowGamer recently reported that pre-orders for the PlayStation 4 have seen “unprecedented demand”, and this is according to leading online games retailer ShopTo who chatted with the website. ShopTo also saw its own web traffic tripple on the night of Sony’s reveal conference, which at the very least indicates that many were excited to either see the pricing of the console, glean more information from retailers or actually pre-order. However, interestingly enough ShopTo said that the PS4 console has been the biggest pre-order success in the company’s history.
According to ShopTo’s spokesman James Rowson, Killzone and Watch Dogs are the most pre-ordered titles right now, with Driveclub also doing well:
“It’s unprecedented demand.
“It’s been the most successful console pre-order to date in our seven year history.
“It resonates with our customer base because we’re very much a hardcore gamers’ destination, so the launch of a new PlayStation or Xbox console was always going to be pretty strong for us.
“But it has been unprecedented in terms of numbers.
“On the actual reveal night our site traffic even at one in the morning was treble its usual traffic.
“We were bold and brave to put a preorder message on there, we were kind of on our own at that point.
“It also increased new registrations to our website as well as in people who’d not previously shopped with us who created an account just to place a preorder, so overall very successful and something we’ve been very pleased with.
“It’s been backed up by the various software titles, they’re doing well.
“Killzone and Watch Dogs are the two favourites but DriveClub’s been doing pretty well as well.”
Already we can see that interest in the console and brand has skyrocketed. But the other reason I feel Sony made the right call, is that right now they are effectively competing against no one. The PlayStation 4 is the only talked about console right now in the next-gen race, and even the absence of the console itself wasn’t enough to a put a damper on that.
Essentially, if Microsoft are revealing their console in April, then Sony has really given themselves over a month’s head-start, and not only showed off all the specifications, controller features and technical detail, but also brought games to the conference. Now, they’ve cleared everything off the table and if all goes well their E3 conference in June can focus entirely on software and games.
It’s remarkable how much of a turnaround Sony has done after their bad PS3 launch and dreadful marketing at times. They’ve really learned from their mistakes, and it’s all the reason to get excited about the future of PlayStation. I’m very eager to see Microsoft’s conference, but right now I’m looking forward to the PlayStation 4 with great enthusiasm, and I’m sure many fans feel the same.
So with those three essential points in mind, as in Sony establishing itself and its brand as the gamer’s home, the pre-order interest skyrocketing and them getting a head start and clearing up E3 for software and games, I think it’s safe to say that Sony definitely made the right call to take the first steps.