After an entire generation spent chasing the shadows of its competitors, you could forgive Sony for being a little smug about the success of the PlayStation 4 – but the fact that it’s opting to stay laser focused on the future rather than celebrate its achievements says more about the change of attitude within the corporation than any of its comments over the past 12 months.
Speaking during organisation overlord Kaz Hirai’s keynote at CES this week, group president Andrew House announced that the company has already sold 4.2 million next generation consoles to consumers – a figure significantly higher than the three million tally currently attached to the Xbox One. But how much does that advantage really matter? Not at all, according to the platform holder.
“We look at it really just introspectively,” SCEA marketing vice president John Koller told CVG. “The '4.2 million' number is important because it gets us further towards our goal. And that goal is the largest install base that we can possibly get – to encourage publishers and developers to continue to make great game experiences for the PS4.”
The executive continued that it wants to make its system “economically viable” for third-party publishers and developers, with larger sales meaning that more content is likely to come to the console. “[We want firms to say], 'You know what, I want to be on the PS4 either first, exclusively' or whatever it is, utilise the feature set that the PS4 has, and really encourage that as a business.”
With a product as compelling as Mark Cerny’s super machine, Koller doesn’t foresee that being a problem. “I mean, sure, we all look at the competition and see where people are, but for us we've got to keep growing, getting bigger and bigger,” he continued. “I think that we've got a great opportunity specifically because we've got a great product.”
The suit makes a pertinent point. While the early sales aren’t overly important in competitive terms, publishers planning future products now know that their wares will have to be on the PS4. That’s not only imperative for ongoing support, but also the longevity of the system’s success. After all, you only need compare the PlayStation Vita’s launch slate to its current release schedule to see what impact a slow start can have.