Sony PS4 Will Continue To Dominate

Posted: Apr 17 2014, 1:45pm CDT | by , Updated: Apr 17 2014, 5:35pm CDT, in News | Gaming

Why The PS4 Continues To Dominate
Photo Credit: Forbes

At a certain point, probably around E3 last summer, the stars began to align for Sony's PS4. While that cosmic description in some ways elides the impressive work from everyone at Sony, it’s hard to look at it any other way. Sony rode a massive wave of approval from the core gaming fanbase, all the way to the most successful console launch in history. Now, five months out, the console continues to sell close to the limits of production: the company just announced 7 million units sold. What happened?

Really, it comes down to one simple, very complicated idea: they didn’t screw it up.

Consider other recent console releases. Let’s go back to Microsoft's Xbox 360, a still-excellent console that, at the time, heralded a similarly new era in gaming. The first wave of the Xbox was hampered by crippled consoles and the red ring of death, taking the wind out of what was otherwise a very promising launch. After that, we had the Nintendo Wii, which, despite an excellent launch, found itself working with different metrics due to a low price and attach rate (Nintendo bundled Wii sports with the console, and many customers didn’t feel compelled to buy any other games). Right after that we had the PS3, which was crippled right off the bat due to a massive price point. After that, the Wii U struggled with confusing marketing and bad timing.

Most recently, of course, we have the Xbox One, which despite being an objective success in any terms, still finds itself facing one major hurdle: the existence of the $100 cheaper PS4.

Compared to all those other consoles, the PS4 had a sterling launch. The hardware has, so far, worked perfectly, save some early issues with the HDMI cable that turned out to be easy to fix. The price point was reasonable from a historical perspective, even becoming an asset when compared to the Xbox One. Sony saw the backlash against the entertainment-focused Xbox One, evaluated its own strategy and doubled back on its strengths.

Sony did something that, while simple, feels like a titanic accomplishment: it made an easy to understand product, marketed it clearly, and delivered it to the intended demographic. We had a feeling that launch sales would be impressive due to pent-up demand. What’s really striking is how that demand continues.

The one major flaw is arguably the lack of compelling exclusive content, but nearly every other console in history had faced a similar problem and the gaming community has (for some reason) come to accept that as part of the package. In some ways, it makes current sales even more impressive: I can’t yet give the PS4 a full-throated recommendation without games to make it worth it, and yet it continues to sell.

I still wonder about the future of this console generation — the wide range of options for gaming now available to the public is an issue, whether the gaming community wants to believe it or not, and I still don’t think that the PS4 will hit the PS2′s lifetime sales. But we’re set up for a very strong start, and I’m excited to see how long this wave continues. If the Vita is any indication, Sony fans buy a lot of games, which is good for everyone involved.

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