80 million consoles sold may sound like a huge number to Xbox, but to PlayStation it is just not good enough.
Xbox 360 and PS3 have both sold 80m worldwide so far. But for Sony that’s a disappointing figure having come off the back of PS2, which went on to sell 150m consoles around the world.
Speaking to MCV, PlayStation CEO Andrew House says the aim for PS4 is to sell far more units than its predecessor.
“It has an opportunity to significantly exceed what we’ve been able to achieve with PS3 and there’s a couple of reasons for that,” he said. “We start off with a price point that is much more consumer friendly than was there for the PS3.
“Also, one of the success stories for the business as a whole has been our ability to open up new geographies for video games over the last five years. You are seeing opportunities for new markets that we haven’t tapped into.
“The other point is that we took several years to take PS3 from being a dual function device to a multi-functional entertainment device. PS4 arrives with a full suite of those non-game entertainment services right from day one.
“And that’s important because there will be someone who wants this as a games device, but the fact it is a great place to view BBC iPlayer, for example, gives other family members reason to use it. That is crucial in broadening what the console’s reach could be.”
“It has an opportunity to significantly
exceed what we’ve been able to achieve
with PS3. We start off with a price point
that is much more consumer friendly
than was there for the PS3."
Andrew House, PlayStation
The PS4 story has been a good one for Sony. Unveiled in February in New York, the firm unleashed its secret weapon in system creator Mark Cerny. who won over attendees with his presentation that rumours claim he memorised in its entirity. “We knew Mark was a talented system architect and developer, but who knew he was such a great presenter as well?” said House.
What followed was a surprising move by Xbox to potentially block pre-owned and game lending, which gifted PlayStation an easy PR victory at E3 2013.
“It surprised me that we were required to make such a clear statement that we were going to maintain status quo in areas that we took for granted,” he added.
“That wasn’t dictated by us, that was by the moves the competition was making. That remains the largest surprise for me – how visceral that reaction was. But the fact that we had to put a stake in the ground, in an area that we felt was just common sense, still has me quite literally scratching my head.”
But the biggest victory for Sony came last week when it released PS4, complete with launch event in Covent Garden. What followed was 250,000 sales in 48 hours, forcing it to ship extra consoles for Christmas.
Yet the real battle for Sony is only just beginning. PS4 started well, but then so did PS3, which had a strong debut but sales soon fell away. So does this launch hype even matter?
House concluded:?“When two consoles of this scale launch almost simultaneously, it seems to have put games back into the mainstream, so the launches are important from that point of view.
“It also sets the tone for how momentum is going to be for a platform’s lifecycle. The contradictory other side to that, is the old: ‘It is a marathon not a sprint.’ It is not just about one night. But it is an important start in terms of staking out the road you’re going to try and follow.”