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Talking Point: Why Sony Was Smart to Announce the PS4 First

Posted by Sammy Barker

Playing its cards right

Current Sony CEO, former PlayStation president, and lifelong Ridge Racer superfan Kaz Hirai is a smart man. In an interview with British newspaper The Times in late January, the executive offered a tidbit regarding the PlayStation 4 that threw everyone – including ourselves – off the scent. "Why go first when your competitors can look at your specifications and come up with something better?” he pondered. Just over a week later, the platform holder promised to show us a glimpse of the future.

Nobody really expected Sony to announce the PS4 so early. Cast your mind back a couple of months, and it was widely assumed that Microsoft would move first. It didn’t, and while the world waits for official details regarding the next Xbox, the PlayStation manufacturer finds itself in a comfortable position. What Hirai failed to mention in his interview with The Times is that announcing early actually makes a lot of sense.

Ever since Sony’s big PS4 coming out party on 20th February, there have been a slew of next generation game reveals. The likes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Destiny have all been confirmed for the platform holder’s impending machine. It’s pretty clear that they’re coming to the Xbox 360’s successor, too, but with Microsoft keeping schtum for the time being, it’s the PS4 that’s hogging all of the headlines.

But that’s not the only advantage that the platform holder currently holds. With the system out in the open, Sony has been able to dispel a number of myths surrounding its upcoming console. One of the first questions pointed at Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida following last month’s press conference was whether the PS4 will block used games. “Do you want us to do that?” he joked with journalists, before confirming that you’ll be able to play resold software on the system.

Microsoft, however, finds itself in a much more nebulous position. Earlier today, a slew of rumours suggested that the manufacturer’s next console will force you to be connected to Xbox Live, will insist that the Kinect camera is hooked up at all times, and will require you to install every game. The information is apparently a year old, and is probably out of date by now, but with the company unable to clarify things, an unnecessary backlash is building around the unannounced machine.

And that only plays into the hands of Sony, who is currently filling stores with promotional materials designed to ensure that you register your interest in the PS4 early. According to UK retailer GAME – who is currently taking £20 deposits on the next generation system – pre-orders for the platform have been strong. Meanwhile, North American outlet GameStop has seen more than 600,000 gamers sign up to its ‘First to Know’ information service about the machine. Microsoft is giving its competitor time to stamp its system into the subconscious of consumers.

As a result, there’s a chance that the Xbox 360’s successor could end up looking like it’s behind the curve. Features that were given a rapturous reception at the PS4’s reveal – such as the ability to play games while they download or pause your progress practically anywhere – may be met with rolled eyes when they’re inevitably announced for Microsoft’s next generation system, too. The impetus is on the manufacturer to not only match Sony’s offering, but also better it.

Of course, we daresay that it will be more than up to the challenge, and will have plenty of interesting things to say about its own upcoming machine – but it’s clear that the PS4 is in the driver's seat for the time being. Its position could easily change in the coming weeks, but for now the pressure is on Sony's competitors to chip away its early lead.


Do you think that Sony was right to announce the PS4 first? What does Microsoft need to do to extinguish your hype for the upcoming console? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.

Do you think that Sony was right to announce the PS4 first? (44 votes)

Yes, now Microsoft is playing catch-up

82%

I don't think that it really matters

16%

No, it should have waited a little longer

  2%

Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (14)

Zombie_Barioth

#1

Zombie_Barioth said:

I think both consoles are too far enough along for Microsoft to decide to beef up the Xbox in response to Sony's announcements regarding the PS4, so this was a good time to get the drop on them.

Announcing early allows Sony to dispel rumors and get people excited about their console, and even set peoples' expectations of what the next gen consoles should be able to do. They're essentially setting themselves up to appear as the good guys.

JavierYHL

#2

JavierYHL said:

i think its hitting on the wii u more,got lots of friends holding off buying the wii u after they know about the ps4...

hamispink

#3

hamispink said:

@Zombie_Barioth That's a good point of dispelling rumors. Just today there's a new set of rumors about the Nextbox requiring a constant online connection and blocking used games. Whether they will happen or not, Microsoft will be feeling that bad press until it announces.

TrollCraftTales

#4

TrollCraftTales said:

This could only be good for Sony, Announcing the Ps4 before Xbox, especially this early, allows them to dispel rumors, allow game manufacturers to jump on the boat, and leave them in a comfortable spot to idle and watch Xbox struggle to catch up, I don't think Sony is smarter to announce early as much as I think Xbox is stupid for not announcing yet, if your biggest competitor announces their brand new device, then you should announce yours instead of keeping it a secret, unless Xbox just doesn't have much new stuff and they are trying to hold out as long as they can so they don't run out of information to give, but in either case, they are screwed. As long as Ps4 keeps announcing things the fans want to hear and they wait until later to announce the boring or bad things (as much as I would hate to buy the Ps4 just to find out the bad things myself), Sony will have a STRONG advantage over Microsoft. I think Ps4 will come out on top this time. I know I will still be getting the Ps4 based SOLELY off of Xbox stupidity of not announcing.

Squiggle55

#5

Squiggle55 said:

I think Sony was right to announce first. With the general perception that Xbox "won" in the west, they certainly didn't need to be the ones playing catch up again.

hydeks

#6

hydeks said:

I think it was smart of them to reveal the controller and some of the games so people have an idea what the PS4 will be. As for the systems look, more games, and other features, they can wait till E3 :)

charlesnarles

#7

charlesnarles said:

If the GPUs are comparable, which they probably will be, then nothing else matters (except maybe PS4's GDDR5 mem, but probably not even)

Gamer83

#9

Gamer83 said:

Sony needed to do whatever it could here in North America to gain back public mindshare and announcing PS4 first was one of the steps it had to take. The pressure is on MS to deliver big time and it had better do so soon if it wants a chance of competing.

belmont

#10

belmont said:

Semi-unreleated: I hope they stop the strange updates that add nothing and frustrate. I had the day off today so I went to play and I unstalled the latest update that seemed to add nothing.

On topic: Since MS does not have the time to make the next X-Box better Sony was right. It created a hype and they did it clever this time. Everyone knows and waits for PS4 while most are unaware of Wii U for example.

rjejr

#11

rjejr said:

Seems like the PS4 and KinecXbox are going to be different enough (the PS4 coming with a Kinect not withstanding) that I don't think it really matters who was first.

BTW, Nintendo was first, but it isn't helping them any, b/c they don't have a good enough game line-up. I thought it was the price holding them back, but it's on sale this week and I'm still not buying 1. How 1 company can hold the rights to so many must have game titles and then release their own console without those games being ready is beyond me.

hydeks

#12

hydeks said:

@belmont agreed, alot of people have been asking about the PS4 and when it's coming and such at my local GameStop, but the Wii U isn't getting ANY love at all. People have come in and asked about the Wii U knowing nothing about the system, and didn't even know it was released! Even sader, there's still no section for Wii U games, you have to ask the clerk what they have in the back. Very sad, PS4 is obviously gonna rule this time around.

artemisthemp

#13

artemisthemp said:

The only Microsoft E3 conferns was interesting was first year I watch AKA the release of Xbox 360 Slim <-- PPL wasn't happy.

Unless Microsoft show some good games to this E3/Gamescon... well no reason to even bother with a Atari Jaguar

Sirriana

#14

Sirriana said:

They were so right to announce it first just wish we could have seen the system itself but either way i'm excited but speaking of bad press they should have amazon take down there "price place holders" for the ps4 and games because $999.99 for ps4 and $99.99 is off putting even though we know it isn't the correct price

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