With the much anticipated launch of PlayStation 4 will Sony not only regain ground it has lost in the gaming world but capture a new demographic of players who are hooked on instant downloads to their smartphones or tablets?
At a time when the sales of boxed games have fallen to the bottom of the gaming world, Sony’s launch of the next generation of video game consoles in New York next week is as anticipated as the Oscars. New gaming platforms are generally welcomed with great excitement by gamers and techies the world over, but things are different this time around. Since PlayStation 2 hit the shelves nearly a decade ago, the competition has changed with the arrival of Kinect, Wii and the arrival of tablets and smartphones. Not only has how gamers play changed but the way they purchase games as well. Gone are the days of sitting in front of the TV for hours in marathon gaming sessions.
With downloadable games going for $10 and under for a mobile device download, why pay upwards of $60 for a game that often doesn’t come with regular updates? What can possibly draw gamers back to sitting in front of a box hooked up to the TV? Market analysts state that the sales of boxed games fell over 20% in the past year and the sales of gaming consoles fell over 35%. So what makes Sony think they can revive the market?
Sony is bringing new weapons to the battle by creating a cross-platform ecosystem. This newly developed platform is likely to integrate with the company’s Xperia smartphone and the less than stellar Vita handheld console. Also, Sony’s recent purchase of Gaikai, the company that developed a cloud-based technology that gives gamers the ability to play games streamed via the internet may be just what the doctor ordered. There is also the possibility that Sony will give the PS4 programming that allows users to stream or download new game titles with a monthly subscription. A move such as this would also help keep the cost of the system a bit lower.
While all these changes aren’t the greatest news for boxed game retailers, it does fit in with the new gamer purchasing habits. That’s why market analysts believe that the smart, cloud based technology that Sony supposedly has in development is so critical to the PS4’s success. It’s something the other systems will never see coming.