It’s been almost two years after the shaky launch of eighth generation video game consoles and it’s easy to say that Sony had gotten their footing and are currently the top dog in this never-ending home entertainment conflict know as the “Console Wars!” At this point the proof is in the pudding, over 20 million PS4’s have been firmly placed in households across the world and consistently outperforms the Xbox One in sales on it’s homeland turf. Each PS4 purchased is a solid commitment to Sony, drafting consumers to pledge their loyalty to the future of next-gen video gaming.
The question remains, will Sony be able to keep this lead in sales as well as their growing army of fans entertained?
It’s no secret that problems have been steadily bearing down on this legendary electronics manufacturer. Problems like Uncharted 4 being delayed to 2016, a small PS4 exclusive lineup that shows no growth and successful company hacking occurring on a almost annual cycle has many fans growing worried that Sony might not be able to deliver the gaming goods.
We here at ThisGenGaming have a few recommendations for Sony on how to keep the PS4 in consumer’s good books while continuing to outsell the Xbox One in every store.
Find that Special 1st Party Title that will Define the PS4
Sony has always brought amazing exclusive gaming franchises to the PlayStation across several generations. From the visceral God of War series to the critically acclaimed survival drama known as the Last of Us, we’ve seen the best of the best that the Sony has to offer but something is missing. Microsoft has Master Chief, Nintendo has Mario, but has Sony ever come close to finding an official mascot? It seems that for both the PS3 and PS4 there have been no 1st party games that embodied the identity of said consoles. What Sony needs to do at this point to remedy this large branding problem would be to throw their PS marketing behind one video game series that would make the PS4 and this mystery game synonymous in consumer minds. Sony has been taking the right steps in this regard with their recent release of Bloodborne, a grueling Victorian horror themed RPG that has PS4’s flying off the shelves. However, unlike the other flagship franchises of rival consoles, the PS4 cannot rely on annual sequels of Bloodborne or Dark Souls to sustain the market. Since Sony has yet to find their quintessential console selling video game, we can only wait and see how Sony will solve this gaming identity crisis.
When in Rome…Cut $50 off the Retail Price
Microsoft has made some very smart yet delayed decisions on how to sell their Xbox One system, a console with a confusing name, removed features and a lack luster library of exclusive titles. After the DRM fiasco of 2013, in which Microsoft thought it was a good idea to have their star gaming console update on a daily basis to make sure that fans were not sharing discs with friends or pirating games. Clearly they have listened to consumers after they unilaterally hated the DRM feature as well as the blocky Kinect packaged with the Xbox One like a unwelcome house guest. Cue Sony’s entrance with the PS4, they did everything right by not including a DRM policy and leaving their camera out of the box to be sold separately. Fast forward to 2015, the Xbox One is now Kinectless and at a $350 price-point that was so alluring last year, that Microsoft reported that it was their best month ever in sales since the console’s initial release. The best course of action for Sony this year, would be to overstock retailers with plenty of PS4’s and when the iron is hot this November during Black Friday, they should announce a $50 price cut, making the Xbox One and PS4 on equal footing. With the growing list of exclusive games and features that the PlaysStation 4 has offer, the fight for consumers will be determined not with price but substance.
If VR is the Future, Invest in a Strong Launch Library
The track record for Sony has not been very good when it comes to peripheral gaming products that’s for sure. With the disastrous launches of the EyeToy and PlayStation Move, it came down to the fact that both ideas did not have a strong set of games for to back up the hardware. Now we enter the next console generation and Sony already has their VR technology up and running. Project Morpheus is an ambitious project no doubt and with other companies coming out with VR products, this could be the next arms race in the console wars. At this point we have only seen working prototypes of Project Morpheus at trade shows and the demo games look promising. Some games shown are people playing with mini robots, seen in the PS4 Playroom to having a shoot out with bad guys while manually reloading your handgun. Hopes are high for Project Morpheus but in order to make it a retail success and keep its longevity, Sony needs to focus on two main aspects. The first thing to focus on would be to make Project Morpheus affordable to casual consumers, somewhere around the $75 range and bundled with 2 full VR games that will blow people away. Table tennis, bowling and/or a playful first person shooter that is not gory would be a good start. Lastly, Sony should make sure that if they are going all in on Project Morpheus, they need to provide top-notch support for developers to keep their VR games fresh and interesting, otherwise this will just be another Playstation Move and nobody is going to want that.