PlayStation 4 Selling Record Numbers; Sony not Really Sure Why
Sony’ PlayStation 4 video game console has surpassed 10 million systems sold worldwide since its release less than a year ago, a record pace for the company’s gaming hardware that is leaving them slightly scratching their heads over the turnaround from the last generation. The PS4 was already profitable for Sony just half a year after its release, while it took three years for the PS3 to begun turning profit.
During an interview with Eurogamer at Gamescom in Germany last week, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida expressed incredulity over how well the PS4 was doing, and said it’s even leaving the company at somewhat of a disadvantage going forward, as they’re not entirely sure what specifically is driving sales.
Unlike the last generation of consoles, where the PS3 trailed both Microsoft and Nintendo’s consoles throughout the entirety of the generation, the PS4 has quickly built a sizable lead in this generation, having sold approximately twice as many PS4’s as Microsoft’s Xbox One, and even more impressively, already surpassing the Nintendo Wii U’s sales, despite that system being released a full year earlier.
The sales discrepancy is likely fueled in part by the mistakes of their competitors this generation as much as anything Sony has done. The Wii U hasn’t caught on with consumers like the original Wii did, with many being confused over what the system was (and thinking it only played Wii games), and others expressing disappointment that it went back to using a traditional controller (though one with a screen on it). The Xbox One meanwhile was plagued by early management decisions that seemed to kill the system’s momentum before it was ever released, including the fact that it was originally going to have to be internet-connected at all times, even to play offline games (this was eventually canceled). The Xbox One was also $100 more than the PS4 at launch, a significant disadvantage for hardware that is actually slightly underpowered compared to the PS4.
Sony meanwhile seems to have hit all the right buttons with their hardware, online features, and early game catalog, as well as making a system that is very indie-developer-friendly. After their dominating performances with the PlayStation One and 2, it was almost a shock to see the PS3 suffer under the weight of lowered expectations and uncertainty. So far this generation, Sony seems to have that mojo back, and is back on top of the gaming world once again.