As of January 2015, Sony has sold more than 18.5 million units of their PlayStation 4 game console worldwide. Released in November of 2013, Sony’s PS4 quickly established itself as the fastest selling console of all time, outpacing previous highest-selling consoles like the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo Wii. After enduring slightly troubled consumer waters with their PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Sony’s PS4 is a hit few had expected. In this article, we’ll analyze some of the reasons why the console became such a hot product.
One of the main contributing factors in the PS4’s success early on was a lack of strong competition. When Nintendo first announced the Wii U, many people believed the Wii U would build on the success and popularity of the original Wii. Unfortunately, the Wii U failed to attract an immediate audience due to Nintendo’s botched marketing efforts, which led to confusion among consumer about whether or not the Wii U was a new console, or simply an add-on to the Wii. Furthermore, the console’s hardware is significantly under-powered when compared to PS4 and the Xbox One specs, resulting in even weaker third-party support.
On the other hand, Microsoft’s Xbox One received negative press the moment it was announced. Unfriendly consumer practices such as the always-online DRM and the inability to share games with others quickly labeled the console as an unfavorable product. In addition, the console was priced higher than the PS4, making the Xbox One’s pricing beyond the budget of most gamers. Although most of these issues were eventually rectified, the damage that Microsoft had brought upon themselves was already done.
Games, of course, are a deciding factor for many people when deciding what console to purchase, and in this department the PS4 nailed it. Unlike the PS3, which required months of waiting before a batch of exciting titles would be released, Sony made certain that the PS4 would arrive with a myriad of notable indie games like Outlast, Fez, and Towerfall: Ascension fast on the heels of the console’s launch. Strong support from bigger developers also meant the PS4 saw a healthy stream of AAA game releases. While some may argue that most games coming out on the PS4 were simply ports of old games or ones already available on the PS3, the PS3 had been on the market for almost a decade and people were ready for something new. For reasons already stated, the PS4 was clearly the most favorable option.
It was obvious that the PS4 was priced lower than the Xbox One, but better hardware too? Yep, the PS4 housed a superior GPU that led to PS4 multi-platform titles that mostly trumped its Xbox One counterparts in both visuals and performance. While this would mean very little to the average consumer, hardcore gaming communities quickly took notice and comparing resolutions and frame rates became the name of the game.
In the end…
It was just that simple. With Microsoft busy playing take-backs with their console and Nintendo seemingly targeting a different demographic, all Sony had to do was flaunt their new shiny box. Better pricing, healthy game support, and superior hardware meant that advertising was all they needed to do. Once the PS4 achieved the image of a stronger brand among gamers, the sales began to flood in.
Although Microsoft’s Xbox One finally bounced back in the holiday season with stellar sales after the price cut and finally outsold the PS4 in November, Microsoft has a LOT of ground to cover, even with the momentum it has. For Sony, there is no better way to celebrate their PlayStation’s 20th anniversary than seeing its latest iteration thrive even after being two decades on the market.