It’s been a week since Sony held its press conference (or meeting as they called it) and announced that the next generation of Playstation consoles was to be released this holiday season. The conference overall has been heralded as a success for Sony by gaming industry reporters and insiders, as Sony was able to convey some very pertinent information to the masses about the upcoming Playstation 4. Yes, the tech specs were lovely; PC architecture (giving developers what they wanted but didn’t have from the Playstation 3, an easy to manipulate development platform), 8GB of DDR5 RAM, bigger and better social integration, and so on. But while we heard a lot of pretty and wonderful things about what type of system Sony will bring to the next generation of console gaming, there was a lot left missing. Of course, one shouldn’t have expected for them to show all of their cards this early in the game when it came to the Playstation 4 (and I didn’t), what with PAX East, GDC, and E3 looming beyond the horizon. It is still worth mentioning however that there were some pretty noteworthy things that remain out there that we all are just dying to know, because after all we live in a world where we want all of our information NOW NOW NOW! So with that, I’m going to go over some of the things that I personally (and hopefully you do too) want to see happen and hear about over the next few months at least at the upcoming events.
- 1. Pricing – Probably the most important element to all of us who play on any console, although it’s probably an even bigger issue with current Sony console owners. We all know how things went with the Playstation 3 lauch: $600 Sony, really? I mean, I could KIND OF understand the argument for that price since the system was released with the then innovative and new technology of Blu Ray and what not, but asking people to shell out double of what they paid for your previous console and $200 more than your competition’s high end version of their console was just insane. It would be even more ridiculous now to go beyond a certain price what with the current financial state the world is experiencing. For Sony to pull off the feat of beating out Microsoft, or at the bare minimum, patching any bridges they may have burned with the PS3 release, they’re going to have to competitively price the PS4, probably at a cost of no more than $450 (although $550 may be acceptable for a “deluxe” version of the system).
- 2. Launch Titles – While I won’t say it is definitely the most important thing when it comes to what makes or breaks my decision to buy a PS4, but it is probably as equally important in my mind. The PS3 had a few decent launch titles (Resistance probably being the most heralded from that release window) but for the most part not much that demanded you take your attention away from the Playstation 2 and drop that whooping $600 (yes, I’m still stuck on that. I mean really, Sony, that much?). While we’ve seen a few interesting titles at the meeting, Sony still needs to make sure that they’re on point in this department; not just necessarily in the amount of the games launched with the system, but in the quality as well. They have to ensure that there will be enough rich experiences to accompany the PS4 in the same way that they did with the first Playstation.
- 3. Marketing – Over the last two years or so, Sony has run a campaign entitled “Make. Believe.” Well Sony, it’s time that you truly own up to that philosophy, without the period in between the two words that make it more a smart play on words than anything. I have maintained throughout this entire generation of “console wars” that the biggest reason why Sony fell so far behind both Nintendo and Microsoft early on in sales was because of their marketing (and again…yep, you guessed it…THAT DAMN $600 price tag! *WOOSHAH* Mike). There was a point and time where Sony used to kill the competition in marketing. When the PSOne dropped they did a spectacular job of selling the console. Who could forget those crazy fun Crash Bandicoot commercials with a guy in a Crash costume constantly harassing Nintendo? Those were gold. But of course, like most businesses, once they become the top console company, the rested on their laurels and maintained a less aggressive demeanor when it came to pushing their gaming consoles. That type of slovenly behavior, along with some of the craziest marketing campaign ideas ever seen (like seriously, people, be honest, those white room commercials did little to encourage you to buy a PS3. In fact, I won’t lie, they scared me a bit) lead to Microsoft and Nintendo’s more creative and witty marketing strategies to grab a firm hold on the gaming market, one which neither let go off until the past couple of years. Sure, the Kevin Butler and PSP Marcus commercials were great, but they came at a late stage of the game where Sony was clearly trying to play catch up. Right off the bat, Sony needs to bombard consumers with advertisements, and information until we’re so punch drunk from it that we truly do believe that it is the right console for us and that all the cool kids will want it. Trust me, it works; just ask Microsoft.
Of course there is probably a lot more Sony can do to ensure that the Playstation 4 is a much more successful venture from start to finish than the Playstation 3 was, but those basic three elements probably make a greater impression and impact on gamers today. Remember, the PS3 had what most would have said was definitively better hardware but stayed relatively in third place for the majority of this generation. For Sony’s sake, they better hope that they can at least get these key elements right or be doomed to a repeat their past mistakes.
So I gave you my take on things. Feel free to hit me up and let me know what you think. And please, for the love of God, no fanboy stuff, constructive criticism only please (even though you’ll probably still act a fool over this).