“The next generation doesn’t start until we say it does.” This classic quote from former Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai shortly before the PlayStation 3’s launch summarised the platform holder’s corporate attitude in 2006. Riding high off the sensational success of the PlayStation 2, the firm felt that the strength of its brand alone would allow it to overcome the popularity of the burgeoning Xbox 360 – even though its console commanded an embarrassing price point and an unconventional architecture. Despite its current generation console coming good in the end, though, there’s no doubt that the firm was humbled during the device’s formative years – and yet, it’s not necessarily shying too far away from the sentiment of the abovementioned quote at the present.
Undoubtedly, the hubris has been drained out of the manufacturer’s public figures, but that desire to dictate the pace of the next generation has been surging through the company since its surprise PlayStation Meeting announcement back at the tail end of January. It may be approaching the sound bite from a more agreeable perspective these days, but there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s had its nose in front of Microsoft all year long. And it’s continuing to maintain that advantage in the days leading up to launch, as it begins to furnish store shelves with the impending platform’s various peripherals and accessories.
If you’ve been following this website over the past few days, you’ll have spotted that items such as the DualShock 4 and revamped PlayStation Camera are already being stocked in most major retailers across North America. If you happen to stumble upon a fitting laced with PS4 goodies – or already have a pre-order for various bits-and-bobs – there’s a very high chance that your chosen store will allow you to take the items home today. It’s even started selling first-party games such as Killzone: Shadow Fall, which is being put on display in GameStop outlets around the nation as we type. But with the system’s release still several weeks away, why is it bothering shipping these items so early?
Until we reach the vaunted digital age, the popularity of products will always be determined by shop visibility, and we reckon that Sony’s eager to command some serious shelf space ahead of the Xbox One. We’re currently slap bang in the centre of the busiest time for current generation retail releases, with heavy-hitters such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, and Call of Duty: Ghosts all due out within a hectic seven day window. That’s resulting in a lot of foot traffic through game stores, and we daresay that a few heads are being turned by the aisles of pre-prepared PS4 accessories, as well as the demo pods which are being installed in stores nationwide. It’s not marketing in a traditional sense, but the appearance of these products carries much more impact than the odd Xbox One poster. It makes it all feel real, doesn’t it?
There are other more practical advantages, of course. Anyone that’s ever worked in retail will know that preparation is a good thing, and the ability to setup display stands prior to release will come as a welcome relief to managers and store clerks. Meanwhile, on the platform holder’s side, with an absolutely enormous catalogue of console pre-orders to fulfil, shipping these products early will allow it to concentrate on the most pivotal part of the operation in less than a fortnight’s time. And then there’s the social network buzz. In addition to the unboxing videos that we – and many other sites – have been posting, there are enormous threads on forums such as NeoGAF and Reddit dedicated to discussing the improvements to Sony’s latest input device. You can’t really buy that kind of word of mouth.
Perhaps the best of all, though, is that it all shows a sense of eagerness. You really get the impression that the platform holder can’t wait for the next generation to start, and that’s imbued its product with an infectious confidence. The days of defensive press quotes and disastrous interviews are over, and they have been replaced by a much more motivated organisation. The next generation is still starting when Sony says so – it’s just had the good sense to actually act upon Hirai's quote this time, rather than merely pay it lip service.
Do you agree that Sony’s been smart to stock stores with PS4 peripherals early? What does the next generation section in your local shop look like at the moment? Add us to your basket in the comments section below.
Have you managed to purchase any PS4 accessories yet? (46 votes)
Yes, I’ve already picked up a DualShock 4 and/or PlayStation Camera
I’ve seen them in shops, but not bought anything yet
No, my local stores aren’t stocking any next generation peripherals yet
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