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PlayStation bets the farm that 'true gamers' are enough to sell its new machine
PlayStation bets the farm that 'true gamers' are enough to sell its new machine
February 22, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi

February 22, 2013 | By Frank Cifaldi
Comments
    145 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Business/Marketing



"We'll justify that $60 price point. We'll give people hours and hours of gameplay on a daily basis for months and years to come, and that's still where the heat is for the true gamer."
- Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton tells CNBC that the reason people will upgrade to its PlayStation 4 is because "there are more gamers than there have ever been before," and those gamers want triple-A titles enough that they'll justify buying a new console to play them.

"I think people are willing to pay if they see the value there, and I think there's more choice than ever before for consumers," he said.

Tretton's comments left us scratching our heads and wondering if he's living in some parallel universe where the retail video game console business is thriving. Wasn't it just last year that we saw a 24 percent decline in retail video game sales in the U.S. (and numbers even worse in the UK)? Wasn't it last month that the Wii U saw a performance so miserable that its third month sales (when averaged per week) were worse than what any of the previous generation's machines had ever seen in the eighty-six months since its first machine, the Xbox 360, debuted?

And what of Sony's own Vita? If players purchased expensive machines based on games with high production value alone, why did Sony have to reduce its sales forecast twice since launch?

Consumer habits are changing. The NPD Group's annual report shows that in the United States, money is shifting away from retail and toward digital as Americans continue to embrace smaller, cheaper digital content. According to a recent report by SuperData, the money spent on microtransactions of free-to-play games in the United States rose 42 percent last year.

And yet, when confronted with this, Tretton seems to see these games as little more than a distraction.

"I think those are additive experiences. They demystify gaming. They bring people in with a bite-sized experience. But ultimately I think people migrate up the food chain," he said, though he did admit that the PlayStation 4 will support free-to-play games.

"Conversely, if you're someone who considers themselves a true gamer, and wants to play the most powerful devices and the most deep enriching gaming experiences, you're not going to find yourself migrating down the food chain, other than to maybe kill some time or to complement that core gaming experience."

Tretton's comments echo those made by Sony's Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with Gamasutra Thursday morning. According to Yoshida, "Once we provide something great, there will be more and more people who are willing to spend money."

It would appear, then, that Sony is banking its future as a console maker on the notion that big, triple-A content alone is enough to convince enough people to buy a PlayStation 4 to make it a worthwhile business. When confronted with the thought that smaller games are taking market share away from consoles, two Sony executives have gone on record now to say that the quality of its new console games alone will, somehow, reverse that trend.

And according to Tretton, the expanded video game market (he says there are now "a billion gamers worldwide") that is now spending money on games thanks to the accessibility and appeal of smartphone titles will, eventually, "migrate up the food chain" to become traditional triple-A console game players. They will, according to his logic, purchase expensive new machines (Tretton didn't even flinch when a CNBC reporter suggested the PlayStation 4 might be $600) in order to graduate from Angry Birds to Killzone.

And with its PlayStation division's operating income down 86 percent last quarter, we're not sure that's a gamble Sony can afford to make.


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Comments


Ian Fisch
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So what if retail game sales declined 24%? We're at the end of a very long console lifecycle, and the growth of digital sales has been huge.

As for the Wii U, why spend $350 to play the same games you can already play on your Xbox 360?

Also, if Gakai is everything that Sony is promising, who's to say that PS4 games won't soon be playable on PC's, android tablets, and other gadgets consumers already own? So no big console investment required.

Frank Cifaldi
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Except that Tretton is responding to questions about why people will buy the PlayStation 4 console.

Jimmy Albright
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Did you really just come to an article about the PS4 and immediately begin ripping on the WiiU?

Why stop at playing multiplatform games on a WiiU? Why not just get a PC and never buy multiplatform titles ever again? Why do you let the purchases of other people affect you so much?

Ian Fisch
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@Jimmy

Read the article Jimmy my man.

It specifically mentions the lackluster Wii U sales as evidence that gamers won't be interested in the PS4. I'm responding to that.

Ian Fisch
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@Frank

I'm responding to the idea that Sony is "betting the farm" on the PS4.

If they can just stream the games to other devices, why should they care how many actual PS4 hardware units they sell? They'll likely lose money on hardware sales anyway.

Jimmy Albright
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@Ian Fisch I read the article, I just find the point really irrelevant. Lackluster Vita sales would be more relevant, as it's apparent Sony thinks mimicking Nintendo is going to get sales.



In regards to your response to Frank, Sony NEEDS sales. They need high sales. The company hasn't been doing well and I'd go as far as saying if they botch this they'll be in dire straits. Nintendo made a disgusting amount of money in the last generation, and with the success of the 3DS i'd say they have quite a bit more room for error. MS has a monopoly on money trees, and can even afford to shell out millions just to secure DLC priority.

Sony needs to make a profit on the hardware, I don't see this ending well for them if they don't.

Ian Fisch
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@Jimmy

Sony needs to make a profit on the hardware? I'd say it's very unlikely they'd sell it for anything but a loss. That's just the console business.

You seem like a bright guy, but you also seem like you have a vested interest in Nintendo. Do you work for them in some capacity?

If you don't think the performance of the Wii U is relevant, talk to the article's author.

Jimmy Albright
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@Ian Fisch

For as long as I can remember, people have been claiming that consoles are dying and PC's are taking over. Now it's not PC's it's mobile phones, and tablets. I don't have an allegiance to Nintendo, or Sony or Microsoft or PC.

I think we have similar feelings about each other. Generally in the past week or two if I look at an article at the top is a comment from my good buddy Ian Fisch on how the WiiU is dead and he doesn't understand why people would buy it etc etc.

If you lived near me, I would invite you over to my house (at the risk you being an axe murderer or rapist, as all nintendo haters are) and we could play some WiiU and you would see what it's all about.

All joking aside, I just honestly find Sony in a lot more danger than Nintendo, that's all. People were saying the same things about the 3DS a few months after release, with many sites like Kotaku and IGN saying the declining sales mean an early death for handhelds. I supposed I've just heard the same things so much over the years it's impossible for me to take it seriously. I mean what, in 20+ years we've had one platform (Sega) die, and that was after several generations of failures, including one of the biggest failures in the handheld market. Even then you could argue that they might have pulled through if it wasn't for Microsoft.

Oh, and my initial comment was a bit kneejerk, sorry about that. 10 hours of putting out fires at work (metaphorical fires) today does not make me a happy camper.

Johan Wendin
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"As for the Wii U, why spend $350 to play the same games you can already play on your Xbox 360?"

That right there tells me you haven't played WiiU and have *no* idea what it can do. (or just played ports)

Ian Fisch
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@Jimmy and Johan

I have played the Wii U. I found New Super Mario Bros Wii U to be gorgeous and a joy to play.

The tablet controller functionality was interesting but, in my opinion, not an essential feature of the game. Same for the Rayman Legends demo.

So please tell me what game really justifies the $350 purchase. Zombie U?

When Nintendo released the Nintendo 64, it launched with a game that completely realized the incredible gaming potential of the analog joystick. Mario 64 was revolutionary. Where's the tablet gamepad equivalent?

Harlan Sumgui
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too many fanboys, reading comments is now like wading though muck...bleh. (Not you Ian, btw)

Johan Wendin
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I will agree Ian that they should've released more games focused on assymetry than just a second screen. So far, I'd say NintendoLand does it best with the likes of Yoshi and the hide-n-seek.

I guess it comes down to different views on potential. Graphics vs gameplay. And that is OK, there is certainly room for both camps.

Glenn Sturgeon
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Almost as long as i can remember it was pc is dying consoles are taking over. Thus the rush of big PC developers doing console titles then porting to the pc or parallel developement for both.
See titles as recent as rage, borderlands 2, BF2...

imo Only over the past year or so has the Indie movement really made a differance in the perseption that the PC is a "fading platform for gaming."

Brad Borne
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Ugh, the 'miserable sales' chart in the article is #$(&ing worthless, though, since the Wii U has actually sold more than the 360 and PS3 3 months in. Why does one month have any significance whatsoever, especially before the system, hyperbolically, hasn't gotten any games yet? See: 3DS launch.

I think the Gakai thing is a huge mistake on Sony's part, too. You know that Sony's not going to let you get away with playing PS4 games without buying a PS4, but consumers are still going to ask why they can't stream PS4 games to their PS3 if they can stream PS3 games to a PS4. Actually letting them stream PS4 games to anything but a PS4 would be suicide, it would cheapen Sony's hardware considerably.

The whole Gakai thing just smells wrong to me, the last thing a manufacturer wants to do is prove and reinforce the fact that their product is just a dumb box of parts.

Ian Fisch
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@Brad

Why would streaming PS4 games without buying PS4 hardware be suicide?

It's the games that make them money, not the hardware. I'm sure if they could somehow get PS4 games to run on a PS3, Sony would jump at the chance.

Scott Reiling
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Hey, I am no "fanboy" (and with my age, it would be "geriatric" fanboy), but I'd like to chime in here, without addressing any specific comment.

I never bought the PS3; I intended to do so over the past four years, but kept finding reasons to not spend the minimum $200+ to do so. Why? Primarily because of services such as Steam and WiiWare, and my joyful "discovery" of indie gaming.

It's not that there are a lack of "must-play" titles on the PS3, or Wii U.. indeed, I have to eventually play the new Mario games, MGSs and Final Fantasy titles whose previous iterations I so enjoyed on previous consoles. But, I have a very hard time justifying paying so much money to buy a console, and then buying retail (or even used) price console games, when I get much more value from my selection on Steam.

The gaming purist in me gravitates towards the plethora of creative titles offered on Steam, for so little money. And even if a game starts off being expensive, all I have to do is wait a few months for a Steam sale, to get it at a bargain. Indeed, I would posit that there are at least five titles anyone here could savor, in that library, for under $10.

My opinions lead me to believe that if the gaming gods of yester-year, such as Miyamoto, Suzuki, Perry and so-on, had to compete in this type of environment, their titles wouldn't be iconic. Note, I am not saying their titles would not be recognized as being great games. Rather, I doubt they would hold the power to literally sell consoles and enchant successive generations into buying sequels. I surmise there are many indie titles today that would hold similar status as Mario, if they had been made on (for example) PS1, back when there was far less competition for the gamer's eye.

Leon T
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People already pay up to $50 for 10 hours of gameplay and sometimes less and now they know those games can't be played on the new PS4. Unless they are added to the streaming service that is. So at least the low userbase of that one gaming streaming service that went out of business will be happy.

"And what of Sony's own Vita? If players purchased expensive machines based on games with high production value alone, why did Sony have to reduce its sales forecast twice since launch?"

To this point I hope that Sony is smart enough to set the price low. The 3DS, Vita, and now Wii U has had rough starts and the only device that is turing that around so far is the 3DS after a big price drop.

Ian Fisch
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I literally have no idea what you're saying here Leon. I read that first paragraph 3 times, and I just don't know.

Jonathan Jennings
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Leon is Alluding to the streaming service that used Gakai , he's basically saying we pay a nice chunk of of chnage for our new games and now we get to discover chances are all previous copies of playstation games will be rendered useless due to them most likely being hosted on the streaming service. people who were members of the service before the company collapsed may be happy if there purchases still qualify but thats still a small demographic...hence why the company failed in the first place. or that's what I got at least .

Jimmy Albright
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The 3DS had a big price drop almost a year ago, right? I'd argue that the boost in 3DS sales is due to a number of great games coming out, which weren't available at launch. I expect a similar boost in WiiU sales after the ball gets rolling.

I'm not saying the price drop didn't help, but I'm a firm believer in that games sell consoles.

Leon T
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Jonathan said it much better...

@jimmy

Of course software is key, but I just think people would be more willing to jump in early and wait for that for that software if the price was closer to what the consumer value is. Games add the most value but they are usually not going to be that great at launch and the
hardware is almost always missing features and/or has problems too.

Toby Grierson
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This argument bugs me.

Surely you realize the release of the PS4 does not instantly vaporized all PS3s, right?

Look at how Sony does things. Look at the PS2. The PS2 only just went off the market. Or did it? I'm 80% sure I saw one last time I was in Tesco.

In any case it was certainly around for 10 years, and the fact that you can't play Final Fantasy X on later PS3s, a PS4, a Commodore 64, or a jackolantern cut up to look like Spock is of no concern because it plays on a PS2 and there's countless PS2s and there will be countless PS2s around for years to come.

Backwards compatibility is a nicety. It saves some shelf space around your television. Is that worth the cost?

Brad Borne
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I love the assumption that the PS4 is being bought to play PS1, 2, or 3 games.

Yeah, you paid 50 bucks for 10 hours of gameplay. Play those 10 hours on a PS3, then buy a PS4, heh.

And come on, every single company out there strives to make the previous year's game obsolete. Who's going to be thinking about playing Black Ops II on a PS4 when MW4 comes out and it's the same game but shinier?

Oh, and HD bundles, all the rage right now.

Leon T
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You know some people actually skip a console doing a generation but will buy the next gen console and play previous and next gen games on it. Some have the old console but would love to trade in for the new one if it still played the games they have. Don't pretend that these gamers don't exist.

People also said it wasn't such a big deal that the Vita didn't play PSP games. Maybe you fail to realize that lacking that feature gives gamers one more reason to not buy it.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Leon T - "You know some people actually skip a console doing a generation but will buy the next gen console and play previous and next gen games on it. Some have the old console but would love to trade in for the new one if it still played the games they have. Don't pretend that these gamers don't exist."

I'm one of the proofs that this type of game player exists. I never bought a Gamecube (and I slightly regret not doing so), so when the original Wii came out with its backwards comparability with Gamecube games and certain peripherals, I had no problems with getting the Wii for that function as well as for the Wii games (especially the ones that use motion controls). With the exception of the Nintendo portable systems (GBA, DS, and 3DS), I hadn't bought a Nintendo system since the SNES era, so the Wii was the first Nintendo console that I bought since that time. By the way, the Virtual Console is a nice bonus, in my opinion.

Luis Guimaraes
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Yes and No.

God Of Was, Uncharted, Killzone and the Resistance collection would really add to the PS4 for somebody that never had a PS3 (had an XBox360 and a gaming PC instead, or any other gaming combinations).

At the same time, sequelitis happens and all those games will have shinier new versions for the new system. Buy the console, the new games and the old games takes a big sum of money, and then playing all takes a bug sum of time.

For those with a PS3 and many games, trading the entire pack (as used consoles sell better with a big bundle of games for a good price) ensures a good third or more of the price of the new one.

kevin Williams
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Each division of Sony has bet on the premiss that they understand their CORE audience and still can create product for them! If they are wrong this empire comes down! And already they have dropped the ball on cameras and phones!

Jacob Germany
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Except the Playstation division delivers a solid product with solid third party software exclusives. But, yeah, cameras and phones, I guess?

Leon T
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The Playstation division is not exactly riding high when the PS3 is a decline from the PS2 and the Vita is looking to be same for the PSP only much worst.

Jacob Germany
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I'm sorry, but wasn't everything a decline from the PS2?

And what does the Vita have to do with the PS4?

Marvin Papin
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The start of the console could be a little bit lower. Even if there's more gamers, they are awaiting gameplay and play pleasure. to many games today are not worth buying and speaking is not enough. Show us thing like portal, journey, the unfinished swan, alan wake, zelda, rayman... new cool stuff with story or gameplay or both and ensure a lifetime. But if we look at the actual game base, sick*'`°`"'. Moreover, if you say to the player that he will "just" stream games, arghhhh'''.

The retail market and so the used market brought us to the "giant industry" video games are and that not for nothing(?!).

Will player will see in that incoming generation the experiences we actually lack from.
or
Will they take a look at what will come to decide if they'll jump in.


Sincerely when i see killzone, this is not the kind of game i expect. It's just a shooter with some QTE and specific actions, not even a cinematic in the demo, the CoD way :'-|. I hope they'll be smarter than nintendo and the -40yo housewife's dusty wii who don't care about a new one- player base (ok a little bit strong, but sincerly... look at the game announcement while releasing 3DS xl... :''''-| ).

Dennis Crow
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Why is this article in the "News" section? Since the author makes his opinion clear, shouldn't this be in an editorial section?

Amir Sharar
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The juxtaposition of Sony's position with the sales statistics is not an opinion. In fact, it's actually newsworthy.

Sony is clearly attempting to build a market here rather than catering to one, and this newspiece makes that clear. I think what Sony is attempting is admirable. It's risky, but sometimes risks can have big payoffs.

What makes it admirable is that they are pushing hardware technology (found in high end PCs that they're making affordable for the general public), to the point where the hope is that these fantastic new visuals can now finally compare to real life recordings such as TV shows and movies. That "Deep Down" demo really drives that point home.

I'm getting off topic here, so I'll re-iterate, to call this an opinion piece would be grossly inaccurate. Sony certainly has a specific gameplan here by selling a high priced console packed with the latest technology. There are inherent risks in that, as well as risks in developing multi-million dollar games and expecting them all to do well. This isn't merely an opinion, it's a demonstrable fact.

Pointing out that contrast doesn't make this an editorial.

Jacob Germany
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Except it isn't "pointing out that contrast". It is specifically taking a rather condescending at best, antagonistic at worst stance while illuminating "facts" that are stated in such a way as to imply without directly stating their direct correlation despite not giving much reason this is the case.

The note about the success of the WiiU in regards to the potential success of the PS4 is especially silly, and clearly not strict journalism.

Carlos Rocha
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@Dennis and @Jacob

Completely agreed.

@Amir

" Tretton's comments left us scratching our heads and wondering if he's living in some parallel universe where the retail video game console business is thriving. Wasn't it just last year that we saw a 24 percent decline in retail video game sales in the U.S. (and numbers even worse in the UK)? Wasn't it last month that the Wii U saw a performance so miserable that its third month sales (when averaged per week) were worse than what any of the previous generation's machines had ever seen in the eighty-six months since its first machine, the Xbox 360, debuted?"

Who does the author refer to as "us" at the beginning, because I can tell you it isn't me. You could even argue that 8 year old consoles are still selling to this day, as it was never seen in previous generations.

Also, what part of "wondering if he's living in some parallel universe" seems like fact to you? He clearly points out that the WiiU isn't selling because the market is changing, and even if that is (partially) true, I think the WiiU isn't doing well because THERE AREN'T (enough) GOOD GAMES TO PLAY ON THE MACHINE!

I own the three consoles of last gen, and I can tell you I'm not nearly interested on the WiiU. I may get a 3DS now because it finally has some good games on it.

Pointing a fact is saying the WiiU is not selling well. Pointing an opinion is saying it is BECAUSE the market is changing and prefers "other" types of experiences.

Amir Sharar
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@Jacob & Carlos:

Isn't it a bit selective to point out the Wii U statement, and disregarding the other statements such as the Vita and general games retail doing poorly?

I think you're missing the overall picture here. The claim is that people will buy $300+ hardware for AAA experiences.

As it stands, gaming-focused hardware isn't moving. The value proposition of these machines have clearly changed over the years. I almost get the impression that you two don't want to accept that. Am I wrong?

The Vita shares a similar vision to the PS4, where high priced hardware was supposed to attract traditional gamers.

I've argued back then, prior to the launch of the Vita, that the current market pointed to a different direction. I'm sure you two would have argued with me back then, and I don't think my statements would have been as much opinion as much as it is stating the obvious.

To see a similar contrast here is, again, not the divulging of an opinion but pointing out something that should be obvious (that should have been obvious to Sony when they released the Vita).

Carlos Rocha
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@Amir

Actually Amir, with the Vita I would have argued but not the way you think. I don't like the Vita, but neither did I like the PSP. Aside of some GoW games, the PSP never had something that really stood out to me. The DS on the other hand was an awesome experience in which I enjoy very creative games. To me, it's the games I want, and the console is the medium.

The point is, I still think it's not that obvious. The DS was a success because it had a TON of games to play. The 3DS is starting to have some gems on it. I never owned a PSP and probably will never own a Vita. The WiiU just doesn't have good games on it, and worst of all, I'm a bit skeptical with Nintendo after the Wii, a lot of promise, but few really good games.

I'm saying this not as an analyst but as a consumer, I truly disagree because I am part of the market, and the views of this article don't resonate with my reasons not to own the cited hardware at all. I don't own either a WiiU or a Vita because the games for both consoles seem... not very appealing to me.

In the end you could be right about the general games sales, I might be in the minority that still wants the experiences I get from consoles, and the 60$ games I enjoy (although I can tell you I've really enjoyed some truly great DLG on the Xbox live arcade). But this isn't about me, and it's about the market, I speak from what I think and what I see my friends into, but I can't speak for the whole community, and even if I keep on buying games like I've always done the general retail keeps going down. So I keep an open mind as to whether the writer is right to point out the reasons for the market behavior with so confidence, while I will be first in line to buy a PS4 (not the day it comes out, that's a bit too obsessive to me).

Jacob Germany
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"As it stands, gaming-focused hardware isn't moving. The value proposition of these machines have clearly changed over the years. I almost get the impression that you two don't want to accept that. Am I wrong?"

What? First, I'm not even sure what you're saying. The market is changing, so hardware will never be successful again? Or never again if it focuses on AAA games on peak hardware? Quite a claim you have, there. One I personally wouldn't bet on.

Second, where in what I said do you get some impression that I "refuse to accept the change" or whatever you're mentioning? I am simply pointing out that you are wrong in saying this article is "news" and not an "editorial".

It really doesn't matter how much you, personally, think the article is so very true. It's still not a piece of journalistic impartiality. It's still clearly speaking in a very biased way, pointing out loose connections and random "facts", while only offering what was said as news, right before tearing into it with claims of Wii U sales and Vita sales and whatever else. It's not a journalistic news article because it isn't. No matter how much a single individual may agree with the opinions expressed therein.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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Yep, I agree Carlos & Jacob...

Moreover, I'd say that for the first time in any announcement press conference of this sort, there has been a decent "indie" participation, even with the mention of self publishing in the console.
Of course it seemed like a crowd pleaser, but the call out to developers is actually trying to achieve this, to attract production of GAMES to get produced for this platform.

IE: The iphone, is a "cheap" platform to develop for, although an iphone / ipad and a Mac pc to actually do anything would probably amount to over 3000 dollars. This is clearly not a "more accessible" platform. But it does have the strongest online casual game store. Along with many other factors, such as the status that the device itself brings to the consumer.
You may doubt that people would spend $300++ for AAA experiences, but the same data also shows that some consumers will pay $600++ for no particular experience at all. Ok, the iPad is not a gaming platform, but honestly, it doesn't really serve any particular purpose.
Comparing, $500 for a high end media center is not a bad offer, if that's all it was.

So we can see that the shift in buying trends responds to several different indicators, not just HARDWARE IS DED! I would had assumed that by now, we all agreed that the quality of a platform comes from the media available on it (even though the article clearly overlooks this slight detail). This lack of interesting content is exactly what the PS4 seems to be trying to remedy, but there is no acknowledgement of this very clear intention.
In this point, the article is only a very oppinionated and rather lacking piece.

Benjamin Quintero
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It's hard to say what the future holds. Maybe they are right to assume that things have slowed because people are frankly just bored with where the bar is. Film is in a constant cycle of trying to 1-up themselves in each crazy action movie that comes out and that same audience is likely expecting the same from video games. Granted, that is not everyone, but it's a pretty big friggin chunk of them.

Cinema 4k quality BluRay and video game content is the future of entertainment now that they've finally realized 3D was (yet again) just a brief fart in the wind. Now it's time to get back to what matters, using the hardware to make the software better. Less gimmicks, more games. Hard to argue with that.

With the path that Microsoft has been painting (the all-in-wonder media center; advertisements on the front page) I think I may save my pennies for a PS4 this generation, especially if Microsoft plans to continue monthly fees to use FREE apps like Netflix, and focus their development efforts on what amounts to All Kinect + Halo as their first-party push. That is not a broad portfolio and to be honest I just can't take another Halo...

Mike Griffin
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I admit I tend to own Sony consoles for the 1st/2nd party studio stuff. Sort of like most people's relationship with Nintendo consoles. Sort of like owning a Sega machine back in the day for the great Sega-produced titles.

There's enough of a history there now with Sony, a game development culture going back to PS1, that I've come to sort of need a PlayStation console for just a handful of franchises, often from the Sony-owned or exclusive studios.
And I'll probably want a PS4 for those games. A lot of them will likely be bloated $60 monsters.
But I'll want to see those franchises/studios re-emerge on that new hardware.

So, Jack, you got me there.

Jay Anne
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Yes, costs are going up while sales are going down. How is it that nobody is presenting any serious solutions to this?

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Tools, tools, tools. Controlling cost is all about the tools.

Jay Anne
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@Mathieu
Were studios not creating proper tools while ballooning to 150-300 person teams and $50-$100 million development budgets for this generation? Will good tools shrink budgets back? What tools can remove the need to outsource to 4 external studios in different countries?

Jeremy Reaban
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Hollywood faced/faces a similar problem. Blockbuster movies cost more and more money.

Their solution seems to be aiming at a world wide audience, not just "1st world" like consoles currently do.

Jay Anne
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@Jeremy
Good point. There are game companies trying to do this too. I assume that it's unlikely that the PS4 will get much traction in China or Korea.

Marvin Papin
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@Jay

Games do not fit to players expectations. Solution ? Make good innovating games or at least with a design and lifetime that worth paying 60€.

Johnathon Swift
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"Trends" trends are always, questionable.

Surely cheaper, free to play content has become big. But the biggest titles, Call of Duty excepted, are selling more than ever. Borderlands, Assassin's Creed, The Elderscrolls, and etc. are all bigger than they've ever been. That's not a decline, what's declined is the middle stuff.

The things in between Triple A big budget games like Watchdogs and small grossly popular games like Temple Run and Angry birds is in a big muddle. Minecraft and etc. Sometimes they hit it huge, often times they don't. And they all seem to be made by indie guys with maybe a bit more money/time/experience than the average mobile game.

And since they're indie, and get funded via Kickstarter or something, they end up on the PC. Right this second that's half the top 20 bestselling on Steam, with the other half being Big Triple A stuff. Chivalry, Kentucky Route Zero, Garry's Mod, Euro Truck Simulator 2. All of this "niche" stuff, bigger than you'd want to play on a tablet, much smaller than your latest Bioshock or GTA, is sitting on the PC, on Steam. If Sony can bring that stuff to console gamers, if they can make development for the PS4 easy and accessible enough, then they'll do well. Maybe great.

Jay Anne
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Most of those niche titles don't stay on charts very long, bring in tiny amounts of overall money relative to AA and AAA, and are difficult to market through existing channels. They are often only on Steam's charts when they're on sale at large percentages off, and I assume that chart is based on copies sold, not grossing. Unless there are hundreds of such titles, it does not appear to be much of a factor.

GameViewPoint Developer
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These are very strange comments. As the article suggests it's almost as if they just don't see what's been happening in the mobile game space over the past 5 years. For example I won't be surprised if some of the big AAA development studio's get bought by big mobile publishers.

Doesn't feel me with confidence for the PS4, but as with the Wii U I wish it success.

Bob Johnson
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I think Tretton is right. Smartphone and tablet gaming isn't replacing console gaming. I mean come on. Anyone thinking that is smoking something. The experiences aren't comparable.

People will pay $60 for great experiences. IF they are crap they won't pay.

Katie Chironis
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"Ff you're someone who considers themselves a true gamer, and wants to play the most powerful devices and the most deep enriching gaming experiences, you're not going to find yourself migrating down the food chain, other than to maybe kill some time or to complement that core gaming experience."

I'm not sure if it's even possible to be more condescending. "True gamer?" what even is a "true gamer" to Sony? A male exclusively-console gamer age 16-30?

John Flush
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And I read it to think, well I guess I'm not a true gamer... I would rather pick up smaller games these days. Games I can finish in a weekend or two. I have enough work all week I don't want to sit down and chore through a huge game too often anymore.

I want streamlined games that get to the point and then get done. I feel like I accomplished something while still getting a release from the day to day.

GameViewPoint Developer
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Exactly, his thinking seems to be stuck in the 90's.

Hey I'm all for AAA titles with amazing visuals, just like I love to enjoy the spectacle of a Hollywood blockbuster, but in this gaming environment you can't build your platform around it. Everything's moved on.

Someone somewhere, sooner or later is going to create a tablet/console. They would of realised that mobile is not a fringe event but actually the next stage in gaming. They will equally realise that the one thing you can't do with mobile (even though some of the games are already more than good enough for the experience) is enjoy it on the big screen (don't get me started on OUYA). And they will make this happen. I know who my "money" is on to realise this, and it's not MS, Sony or Nintendo.

Jay Anne
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People who pay more than $0 for their games and actually purchase a dedicated gaming device. It's condescending, but they have a point.

Katie Chironis
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^ But see, even that doesn't make any sense to me. By that logic, some demographics who apparently don't count as "true gamers":

- Women of all ages who put 20+ hours per week into mobile games like Words with Friends/Draw Something and social games like Gardens of Time

- Former core gamers who don't have the time to play console games these days and now play mobile games like Infinity Blade and Minecraft iOS on their lunchbreak / while watching the kids, because it fits their lifestyle

- College PC gamers who use Steam, and who -- due to budget concerns -- only play from the F2P section or Humble Bundle games

- MMO gamers who prefer the F2P monetization model over a WoW subscription model

If you cut out all those demographics, Sony's available base of "true gamers" to target seems really small and kind of narrow.

Ian Fisch
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@Katie

The games you're describing (words with friends, draw something, etc) are just not complex interactive experiences in the same way games like Fallout 3 and Red Dead Redemption are.

If you don't see the difference between the two, then I'm sorry.

Jimmy Albright
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I had a frustrating conversation with this on another site recently.

I can't stand how people think they speak on behalf of the gaming community and how someone needs to play x amount of hours or a certain genre to be a gamer. For how long gamers have fought against labels and stereotypes they're very eager to dish them out.

Jay Anne
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@Katie
Yes, and all of that works for ubiquitous non-gaming platforms. But console makers need gamers who purchase lots of different games at high prices. You can call it an obsolete business model, but that is the customer that makes their business work. People who mostly want to play free games do not purchase expensive gaming consoles.

If the only thing that irks you is feeling insulted for being called a non-true gamer, ignore that. It's just a business thing.

Harlan Sumgui
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True gamer isn't a compliment, its a descriptive term allowing classification certain types of consumers, like how cocacola people use the term 'heavy user' to describe people who consume more than 1 liter of soda per day. Are they being condescending to those who only drink 750mls? Or those who drink fruit drinks? No, they are chopping up the market into chunks in order to be able to sell stuff more effectively to segments of that market.

"True Gamer" can be defined by how much a person spends on gaming per year, how much time they devote to the activity, how much attention they pay to the hobby (reading reviews, news, forums, etc which allows advertising to work), and finally how sticky they are. They are the game industry equivalent of the soda heavy user. And yes, the demo skews male and under 30, and that demo will be the one buying $400 consoles in the first year along with $60/$70 full retail price games.

Jacob Germany
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@Katie What? In the very words being quoted, the "true gamer" phrase is self-applied by individuals, not a term Sony is using itself. "Someone who considers themselves a true gamer" is referring to a specific mindset, a specific demographic. A mindset that exists, mind you, as there are many that would use the term for themselves, right or wrong.

The quote isn't saying what many in these comments think it's saying.

Katie Chironis
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@Ian Your comment seems really strange considering you just wrote an article about how there are many "deep, critically-acclaimed" experiences for hardcore gamers on iOS and that peripheral controllers to play them via HDMI are the way of the future.

@Harlan if you're arguing that it's a consumer classification based on profit expectations, I urge you to look at the profit numbers the social and mobile markets are pulling these days versus retail AAA. As the original article states: "The NPD Group's annual report shows that in the United States, money is shifting away from retail and toward digital as Americans continue to embrace smaller, cheaper digital content."

@Jay Anne: You're right, that's what they need to make their business work, and I agree. I don't think it's the smartest move for them to label all gamers outside their ecosystem as "lower on the food chain" and be smug. Right now, Sony needs all the friends it can get.

Ok, I'm out now. I've got some Sword & Sworcery to catch up on. :)

Carlos Rocha
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Well Katie, to me, the author was way more condescending with the way he wrote this article.

And that "really small and kind of narrow" market keeps on making Activision Blizzard a ton of money each year.

By the way, I consider myself a "true gamer", while my female friends that enjoy their facebook and mobile games don't.

Although to be fair, yes, it is a stupid term, but then again, just the term "gamer" is stupid. I don't see people calling others "readers" or "movie-goers". This is a weird industry, and nobody knows what to completely make of it, you just make what you want of it. Personally, I'm really tired of everyone assuming I want to quit my console to play on my phone/tablet. I like my 60U$ experiences improving as they have, thank you.

He uses that term to appeal to people like me, who WILL (depending on what Microsoft does) buy the console as soon as it is available (with the promised games of course). The unfortunate part is that by talking that way, he alienates a lot of people who feel excluded by the term, even if there is a chance the console might allow (isn't ruled out, neither confirmed).

In the end, I think that industry is branching a lot, and the mistake is to take it as a whole, I'm very happy Nintendo started including non-traditional gamers into the mix, and Apple and Facebook following suit with the business structure for their store. That doesn't mean I want my consoles to disappear, quite the contrary, I want ALL of the industry to grow, but I guess it's unavoidable that there are so many market segments now that the money will branch out as well. Saying that, I will continue to consider myself a "stupid term", and support this strategy, because it is designed for people like me (Finally, after so many move, kinect, apps and social whatever events, finally someone that wants to appeal to me!).

Here's hoping there's a lot people like me that can show Sony we still make up for a big piece of the market share.

Jay Anne
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@Katie
Well Jack Tretton does have a history of sounding smug. But their dev community managers are sounding more receptive like you suggest they should. I don't believe their low end digital offerings will take off, but at least it sounds like they are willing to give it a shot.

Mikolaj Holowko
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If there wouldn't be an internet, we would all be doing something right now, like playing games XD

Joe Zachery
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Katie your right! Sony has no idea who or what true gamers are! According to Sony true gamers play certain type of games. Those same gamers didn't buy Playstation Allstars, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Starhawk, or the PSVita. So ya it's a repeat of last generation strategy, but the current is not strong enough to support it. So if the PS4 doesn't start off like the Wii, but something similar to the Wii U and PS3. Sony is going to be hurting real bad!

Joe kennedy
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This guy is a "JACKASS!!!!! First off, developers make games which turn into software.
That software promotes sales of Hardware. 60 dollars is a steep price in "THIS ECONOMY" for just any average gamer who I might add,...aren't just buying anything these days!

WHO IS GOING TO MAKE THESE AAA GAMES???????? I'm a developer and I can tell you,...outside of just a very little handful of established IPs, there isn't enough successful "AAA" development teams that can pull off justifying multimillion dollar budgets to put something out that will compete. AAA is only justified by the returns on those investments.
With all the studios shuttering and many businesses going dry, this market is on its last legs.

The other point I'd like to make is that Indie games and smaller teams don't need to make or compete revenue wise with so called "AAA" stupidity cause these teams a really small and don't require the ridiculous amount of overhead. Most of the time its a few guys doing it from their basements laughing it up on Skype as they only need a few 100,000 downloads to feed there pockets. That is why a lot of developers are flocking toward smaller entities or start ups.

So what if PS4 have better graphics, SO WHAT!!!!! When I buy a game I want to have fun.
If I want to look at realism or cinematics I will watch a movie. Hardware isn't going to sell itself and I don't care what these YOKOs say.

SONY has yet again dug themselves into a grave except this time they're producing the nail. You have to kind of wonder if they are truly living in some kind of parallel universe!

How long can you continue play same old games on consoles or the ones that are worth buying at the very least, revision 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10?

How long does SONY have to wait in order to produce and put out a product that literally takes 2-5 years or more to produce? Not enough successful IPs to go into a rotation that'll produce enough revenues to self sustain itself.

Graphic just doesn't produce itself with hardware. That has a cost attached to them with developers. If Microsoft does the same thing, they'll find themselves on the same boat cause this industry is shifting.

Studios can't afford to hire fulltime employment anymore. Everything is shifting overseas. Cost isn't worth producing these kinds of titles anymore.
Yes the existing brands that have done well will continue to produce content but even those titles are on a decline of sales.

Justin Sawchuk
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Wouldn a "true gamer"buy a 3k gaming rig not a $500 console which is already obsolete as soon as it comes off the line. Yeah computers were cool back in the early 80's when only nerds played games

Bob Johnson
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@Katie

"what even is a "true gamer" to Sony? A male exclusively-console gamer age 16-30?"

I think that is exactly who Sony is talking about generally speaking.

I guess there are two topics to argue here. The use of the label "true gamer" and the notion console gaming is decreasing because of the rise of mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets.

I think the latter is absolutely false. The rise of one doesn't mean the demise of the other. They are different experiences.

And the former is just rhetoric. Poor choice of words, but remember this is coming from a guy that wants to sell PS4s and thus to him I bet a "true gamer" is someone who buys the PS4 to play all the big AAA console games. And I bet that happens to mainly be young males between the ages of 16-30 yrs old.

Luis Guimaraes
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"If you consider yourself" is the key here. It's about the kind of consumer that thinks that way.

Carlo Delallana
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League of Legends is F2P playing on a system that isn't a dedicated gaming machine (aka a PC), they'd probably cut someone if you didn't consider them true gamers

Amir Sharar
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Despite the "true gamer" comment, it's reasonable to expect all sorts of experiences on the PS4, from movie-like experiences, to simple and accessible games that can be played and enjoyed by anyone. With that in mind I think there is an element of truth to that "true gamer" comment where you would need to desire traditional console games to really want the PS4, and they are very ready to pay upwards of $500 for that.

The question is whether the general public will pay hundreds of dollars for that. The draw of BluRay is gone. Netflix can be streamed on any device nowadays. You are left with games. Games that will likely also be found on cheaper competitor machines that may not look at great but still play just as well. You would need exclusives to really push your machine. Will these exclusives stick out so much that the general public will drop $400-500 for it?

As a gamer I'm extremely excited. I value Sony's push to make cutting edge hardware to make mindblowing visuals. As an investor I'd be very skeptical and wouldn't adopt the same risk. There's a few too many similarities to Vita where the Vita didn't accept the reality of cellphone and tablet dominance and didn't take enough cues from that. Tablets and cellphones have captured the general audience and are not niche products anymore. Rather it's the Vita that looks to be the niche product. Despite it being fantastic hardware-wise and having a decent selection of titles available for it.

With the PS4 pushing hardware at the expense of an affordable price, just for one competitive advantage, it bears the risk of being niche. Personally I hope that these fantastic visuals do indeed create a new market and gets the general audience excited about gaming. Movie and TV tie-ins where the game characters look nearly indistinguishable from the live actors? That could get the mass public excited. Forget CoD, take the Walking Dead game series and make it look real.

Val Reznitskaya
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Tretton seems to be flat out stating that more processing power and memory is what creates a "deep, enriching experience." That kind of thinking about sums up my problem with AAA these days.

Fully-realized experiences come from developers who start iterating on all aspects of their games as early as possible. But AAA studios are often pressured to create graphics that take full advantage of the hardware, so it takes a long time for their projects to fully come together. Add the financial pressure of maintaining a large art team, and it's no surprise that we have so many low-risk titles, bloated with filler content to justify a $60 price tag.

This isn't to say that big budget console titles can't be deep or enriching - many turn out amazing despite development obstacles. And there is certainly an audience for games with large, beautifully rendered worlds and realistic simulations. But Tretton assumes that that's the only audience worth acknowledging. Sony needs to wake up and realize that there's more to a game than its polygon count.

Jacob Germany
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The way I see it, there's only two things hardware can do. Improve the internals, or change the externals. Or, I suppose, do nothing. The first is what Sony chooses. The second is what the WiiU chooses. Doing both would likely be prohibitively expensive.

And doing nothing amounts to just continuing to sell current gen hardware. So... yeah, to get a deeper, more enriching experience than current-gen consoles, they need to sell hardware with better processors and memory. Or "change the game" like the Wii U, but that's not doing so well for Nintendo this time around, right?

Obviously true depth comes from developers, but apart from talking about first-party games, there's not much Sony can do except promise their next console is good enough in terms of power, speed, etc that the potential games will blow you away.

Jay Anne
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@Val
While all of that is probably true, I don't believe the solution is to create retail console games with lower fidelity and cheaper budgets, hoping to still make money even though far fewer copies are sold. The retail console market is still governed by things like scarcity of physical shelf space, the need to sell to retail partners, preorder data to inform marketing budgets, the need to fight against rental and used sales. All these things make that market what it is. It is not happening just because companies are being risk-averse or mishandling creative processes. People just don't buy smaller games at retail anymore. They do that on digital channels, their mobile devices, etc.

Val Reznitskaya
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@Jacob
I agree with you. That is what Tretton seems to be trying to say, but to me, it reads as "processing-heavy games are the only ones worth making or playing." Whether or not Tretton indended to imply as much, I know there are plenty of developers and players who buy into this outlook, which I find unfortunate.

@Jay
I never said that mishandling the creative process was the reason for the decline of retail console games. Nor do I believe that artificially lowering fidelity to lower the budget is the solution. I just have a problem with the implications behind Tretton's choice in wording.

Sony is selling the "throw more CPU cycles at it" solution to technical problems, and it's a very appealing solution in certain game genres. But this has nothing to do with how deep or enriching game experiences are in general - that is a question of design, of which graphics and physics are only a part.

We already have enough developers who believe that their games won't be deep enough unless they try to leap over the Uncanny Valley in addition to everything else they might be doing, even when realism is only tangential to their design. All I'm saying is that encouraging this mentality will do nothing good for anyone. In the long run, even Sony may lose out on promising third party titles that get stuck in development limbo because of problems with motion capture or something similar.

Toby Grierson
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I say they're trying to look like they're talking about more reshinerific graphics while actually talking about a more accessible platform.

Look at the choice of x86 and lots and lots of RAM; they're trying to offer a lot more of a particular kind of power to _reduce_ the costs, or at least create the opportunity to do so. It's certainly going to be more relevant than the PS3 for low-fi developers. Of course the demos there aim to impress, but the pitch was loaded with marketspeek for "the new playstation is less of a monster!"

"Sony needs to wake up and realize that there's more to a game than its polygon count."

They released a bundle of commodity hardware.

Jay Anne
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@Val
I read your comment about needing to iterate on all aspects of the game as early as possible as "mishandling the creative process".

"Throwing more CPU cycles" did enrich the experiences for a while there. It's not the only way, but it did work. The qualitative difference between Adventure for the Atari and Uncharted was huge. The qualitative difference between God of War 1 and God of War 3? Not as huge. It will be even smaller between Killzone 3 and Killzone 4. It doesn't work so well now, but it did before.

Dave Long
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Ye gads - the decline in hardware sales over the last couple of years _and_ the Wii U's poor showing are very much related, and not to the PS4. They're related to the Wii abandoning its core gamers for a consumerist fad, doing very well out of that fad, the fad coming off over the last couple of years and, surprise surprise, those casual consumers not all jumping on the Wii U. They are not broader industry trends, they are Ninty playing its own game.

Declining retail sales of software, on the other hand, is being affected in no small part by digital sales (noting here that the PSN is much further ahead than XBL and Ninty's e-shop on this front). Hell, PS3 already does free-to-play, and Sony made a point that PS4 would as well.

There is currently an install based of 150 million HD consoles, which already do digital games (Sony and devs make money off them too ;)). Last year, there were over 20 million HD consoles sold worldwide, n the 6th year of a console lifecycle. That sounds like a fairly big market to me! The author seems to be stuck deeply within their own particular silo, and unaware what's driving broader industry trends.

Jacob Germany
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" those casual consumers not all jumping on the Wii U"

I have a hard time imagining how anyone sees the numbers of the Wii U as being anything but this exact effect. I haven't been paying close attention to the gaming world in the last few months. Was everyone really expecting the Wii U to hit upon the exact same blend of luck, novelty, and social factors to result in the same Wii-like success? Because if so, that would be short-sighted at best.

"New input method on poor tech" apparently can be a successful venture, but it's a really poor long-term business strategy.

Duvelle Jones
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Frankly that is in absence of product that targets the "casual market"... If in a matter of six more months, the Wii U continues to fail. Then you have a point.
But right now, I have not seen much on the marketing effort towards that segment of the market. One that is the bigger segment.

This has been something that Sony has OUTRIGHT refuses to acknowledge, that such consumers matter. Nintendo is outright banking on the hope that is can appease both segments now... as much as that can be done, but the focus has mostly been around the 'core' and products that centre around the 'core'.

Honestly, this has to stop. There doesn't need to be this divide in the marketplace... and it's labelling has only served to continue to widen a divide that I feel is much closer than it seems. Which is the point, Sony isn't doing itself any favours by assuming that there is a wide gulf between what users want.... and to centre around that in the face of the mounting evidence to the contrary.

Jacob Germany
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I'm sorry, but wasn't the Wii a runaway success from the beginning? And the software driving that success at least somewhat founded on Wii Sports? I don't doubt that the Wii U can eventually deliver some moderate sales as their library picks up. That's rather inevitable. But the failure to capture the same "Wow" factor socially and economically is that they were hoping "Woah, that's so different, I'll buy it!" was a trend instead of a fluke.

And I'm missing how Sony is creating a divide among gamers that doesn't exist. What I gathered from their statement is that the slowdown in the game industry doesn't worry them, as AAA games do well, and can easily be a driver of hardware sales. I'm not sure how anyone thinks otherwise.

Jason Chen
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I personally despite the term true gamer or hardcore gamer. To me there is only "gamer" people who players games are gamer. people play on different devices/platforms because of what they have and how much they have to spent on. it is true that mobile devices are taking a big chunk of main stream gaming pie, for many reason, but you have to admit the experience is completely different! mobile gaming is for killing time, console/pc or event 3ds/psp/psv are consider main stream gaming(at least to me). we all have different taste when it comes to games. at this current economic status. people pay what they can afford. but no matter how you look at it console is still consider main stream when it comes to gaming. now that console are adapting online and introducing could, it is fair to say that console is finding it is way to get the online gamer back to console. Console is not dying, it is just going through a transition. package itself is going through a transition to digital. Console no longer just to play games, it is becoming a social platform. p.s those big publisher who are making the big bucks from mobile and online is somehow finding their way back to console. Console is able to deliver experiences that no other platform can besides, PC, but too much piracy on PC. then again, console is become more like a PC.

Guerric Hache
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"To me there is only "gamer" people who players games are gamer."

"it is true that mobile devices are taking a big chunk of main stream gaming pie, for many reason, but you have to admit the experience is completely different! mobile gaming is for killing time, console/pc or event 3ds/psp/psv are consider main stream gaming(at least to me)."

This is why there is not "only gamer". Call them what you want (and I agree that "true gamer" sounds rather purist), there are different groups of people who pursue different kinds of experiences. Labeling those demographics with different terms is not in and of itself a problem.

Chris OKeefe
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Different kinds of gamers play different kinds of games based on different kinds of motivations.

There is a reason, for example, that 'enthusiast' tier graphics hardware exists. There is a certain demographic of people who are more willing to spend more money and more time on maximizing the 'experience' of gaming.

Playing Words with Friends isn't exactly comparable to playing the 'latest and greatest' FPS game with maximum settings etc etc etc. They are both games, but one requires a certain investment. One implies a certain way of identifying yourself. One implies a culture of people built around games and the hardware that runs them.

Kinda like how the term 'technophile' came about. Just because you have a cellphone doesn't make you a technophile. And just because you play games on your cellphone doesn't *necessarily* make you a 'hardcore' or 'true' gamer. You might be, but the fact that you are playing a 0.99 dollar game on a piece of cellular hardware doesn't make you a 'hardcore gamer.'

I don't especially like the terms either, but not for the reasons that others seem to. I find them somewhat degrading and prefer the term 'video game enthusiast.' But that isn't the point. The point is that you can differentiate between the motivations and purchasing habits of the 'casual' and the 'hardcore' gamer groups. In terms of dollars, the main difference between casual and hardcore gamers is that there are lot more of the former spending a lot less than the latter.

In a perfect world (for console developers) they would be creating more hardcore gamers who care enough about their game experience to spend more money on hardware and Triple-A games. The reason why casual gaming is making more money right now is the prevalence of mobile platforms. True. But that doesn't mean the 'hardcore' market has vanished. There are still people who spend piles of money on cutting edge hardware to run cutting edge games. There are still people who spend tons of their time on forums, modding and tweaking their games to get exactly the experience they want. There are still people who play competitively and practice as if it were a genuine sport. There are still people who create and use calculators just to number crunch the best possible gear/skill combination. There are still people who care deeply enough about games to hold them up as the latest and greatest medium in the arts.

There are certainly comparisons you can draw between these kinds of gamers and people who play Words with Friends on the subway to pass the time. But to say that there is basically no difference is naive. It is plain on the face of it that you can't sell the same products to the same people. Nevermind that there are cultural, sociological differences as well.

Jason Chen
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I enjoy console games because it is able to deliver awesome graphic and gameplay (PC as well). but I enjoy playing games that are "fun". to me a game console is the hub of all games and fun, hardcore player, true gamer are all gamer. if the console is able to deliver fun and enjoyable game, it will sell! that is my opinion.

Jason Chen
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I enjoy console games because it is able to deliver awesome graphic and gameplay (PC as well). but I enjoy playing games that are "fun". to me a game console is the hub of all games and fun, hardcore player, true gamer are all gamer. if the console is able to deliver fun and enjoyable game, it will sell! that is my opinion.

Jason Chen
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I enjoy console games because it is able to deliver awesome graphic and gameplay (PC as well). but I enjoy playing games that are "fun". to me a game console is the hub of all games and fun, hardcore player, true gamer are all gamer. if the console is able to deliver fun and enjoyable game, it will sell! that is my opinion.

Michael Joseph
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Pardon my ignorance, but are major consoles popular in China and India or is the PC king in those countries? Is there some potential with India's & China's widening\booming middle class (is this true or am I making it up?) for next gen consoles to dramatically increase sales by making a bigger effort there to help local developers in those respective countries create games that are more culturally relevant?

Kristen C Stewart
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Major consoles have been banned in China since 2000. They're openly sold on the gray market (i.e. you can get an xbox360 quite easily off of taobao.com or at your local game store), but they're sold hacked and can't be used online. The upside, of course, is that your (pirated) games cost less than $1 each... but none of that goes to the game developers.

The problem isn't cultural relevance; it's just easy and rampant piracy. Even local developers can't make any money unless IAP or a subscription service is built straight into their games.

Jeremy Alessi
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My Wii U was justified by Mario Chase alone but since then it's become the weekend party machine because of Call of Duty two screen online multiplayer. Sony looks to be cloning that concept with screen beaming to the Vita. It's interesting to see what Sony has done. Many of the same concepts present in the Wii U are part of the PS4 but on steroids. The biggest problem I see is that you need a Vita and a PS4 to get the same living room experience as Wii U. The share button is cool but it doesn't bring people together in the same room. I'm sure it will be fun but there's just something about having people right there for real sharing that can't be replicated with a video on Facebook. It seems like something I'll use a couple of times and then move on, not an experience that I'll remember fondly.

A W
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Sony may be copying the Wii U off screen play, but there is no evidence to show that the Vita / PS4 combo will be in the same league as the Wii U game pad. The game pad has more fuctions built in it than just that ablity, which will become very apparent as the system begins to age.

Lincoln Thurber
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Bottom line comes down to this, "Do we think Sony can sell enough systems and sell enough software to those systems?"

I do, because I interact with gamer every day who buy PS3 games. I interact with people every day who enjoy their consoles over all else. Sure you can find a vocal minority of any sort of gamer that will say, "No this other thing is the future!" You can find people who swore smartphones would have already killed all other gaming, but that didn't happen yet. You can find PC aficionados who swear gaming PCs are simpler now, we are on the brink of a PC future. But what you find are the same arguments that where used a decade ago to say the same thing.

I tend to see gaming as being very much like kitchens. Every few years a the home food preparation industry starts selling everyone "the new gadget". The gadget does what one of the staple items (cook top, over, refrigerator, work surface, preparation knife-fork-spoon) in the kitchen does, but it does it better. Blender! Food Processor! Bread-maker! Steamer! Espresso maker! They things are great they make what you COULD do with your oven, refrigerator, or other tools and makes the prep of one item easier. But they come and go from most peoples lives. The same is true for gaming. There will always be the "standards" of big device called a computer, medium device called a console, and a handheld device. They will change form, but they will always be there. Then there will come the "specific use" hot new items. Such items come and go, sometimes they stay relevant for a decade, sometimes they come and go quickly.

That hard part is separation of what sticks and what does, and how long it sticks. How do you separate the toasters from the toaster ovens. Or, separating the French presses from the coffee makers. People want things toasted and people want coffee but how they get it varies. Coffee makers stay, but the French presses come and go. Toast stays, but some consumers get toasters and some get toaster ovens and each group will stay with that solution for long periods before switching.

Carlos Rocha
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Well, I, for one, say, Thank you Sony, those are the words I really wanted to hear. I will be one of the first customers (well, actually it depends on what Microsoft will do). But yeah, I REALLY want a new console, new experiences, and not more games for my mobile devices. Actually, scratch that, I want a goddamn good game that really stays with me after beating it on my phone or tablet, but seriously, there haven't been any. Nice distractions, nothing really amazing.

That's my view as a consumer at least.

AND as a developer, I'm very curious as to how that self-publishing model will work for independent developers.

Amir Sharar
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A tweet from one of the Sony reps claimed that Sony always did self-publishing. I instantly though..."oh, THAT sort of self-publishing".

Carlos Rocha
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@Amir Jajajaja, that would be a really big letdown, let's wait and see, we'll truly know by the end of the year. But if that's the case it would be hilarious (also very very stupid).

Nicholas Heathfield
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Sony has recently been a sort of champion of games as both entertainment and art, and I hope the PS4 is successful - because it would be a much poorer place without them, these days.

Dave Smith
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I'm on board with this.

wes bogdan
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The real question is regardless if wii u is just 2 wii's duck taped together if gamers feel more validated and parents feel better that their old games still work and accessorys still work will translate into more sales for nintendo and less for sony /ms who invalidate everything that came before.

I know when switching chipsets if you've strayed too far from tbe original design emulation is the only way to go back however that doesn't explain no ds 3 on 4 through that might be the holdup on ps3 b/c as they make ALL ps 3 games work with a ds 4.

wes bogdan
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As for true gamer nonsense i consider myself a hardcore gamer and am planning to buy the ps 4 however that doesn't mean i only play killzone and cod...i'd rather have uncharted which has more story than either kz,cod or something original like journey or valkarie chronicles or even 3d dot game.

Certainly big movies do well like the new die hard but despicable me 2 will likely sell more tickets and movies like the hobbit take to long to make/don't come around enough that hollywood could survive on them alone and it's the same for gaming really great AAA games will sell but releasing a new version each year will burn people. The cash cowwill be dead and a replacement must be found...i still expect something like journey to resonate with more people than your a badass now go forth and kill everything.

Joe Zachery
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Sony is hoping the same gamers who let their PS2's US and soon to be European market. Be overtaken by the 360 this generation instead of upgrading to the PS3. The same gamers who on average bought more 360 exclusives than PS3 games. These gamers who didn't support the Move, and currently the PSVita. So now that Sony is offering a new console these same people are supposed to jump on board. Didn't happen for the PS3 or Vita so why should it happen now. The PS4 has no BC to any current disc and with their new digital plans. Sony selling the PS4 for a lost most likely this generation. They are going to charge everyone for their online services. Similar to Microsoft to make up for the hardware loses. I really doubt even hardcore Sony fans want to pay to stream games they will never own. Since they currently won't pay for games at retailers. Sony is taking a huge chance with no evidence that's it the right decision. After the piracy of the PSP in the western market. The complete failure of the PSPGo. The PS3 lack of generation control at any time during this cycle. The lackluster sales of big exclusive titles this generation for example Playstation Allstars, Twisted Metal, LBP games, Modnation, and Killzone. Finally we have the currently situation of the PSVita worldwide. Doesn't seem to me Sony has thought this out to well.

Jacob Germany
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"Be overtaken by the 360 this generation instead of upgrading to the PS3. The same gamers who on average bought more 360 exclusives than PS3 games.... So now that Sony is offering a new console these same people are supposed to jump on board. Didn't happen for the PS3 or Vita so why should it happen now."

Because the success of the 360 was due to the game library and early release compared to the PS3? It wasn't because the 360 was a superior machine, or because of MS loyalty. It was because a full year is a long time to build a library, a name, and a fanbase.

Or, to put it in more specific terms, a year is more than enough time to build critical mass, after which your growth continues almost entirely due to your current hold on consumers.

So, yes, if Sony puts out the PS4 a significant amount of time before the next XBox, or if their exclusive lineup is impressive enough, it easily could be the leader in the next generation.

Nicholas Heathfield
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Joe, you seem to be bringing in statistics without backing, rumours as if they were facts, and the few facts you do present are not even relevant to your argument, which is based on fallacious logic.

It's like reading the ravings of a fanboy, but with slightly better spelling.

A W
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By Jacob's Logic the Wii U would be the leader. Information dictates that Xbox Next will be out at the same "Holiday Season" as the PS4.

Jacob Germany
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@Christian "You mean like in 1998 (1999 in US and EU) when Sega launched the Dreamcast and build up an impressive library of exclusive games like Shen Mue, Crazy Taxi, Virtua Tennis or Sonic Adventure? "

So, an obscure game, another obscure game, and another, all new IPs. Plus a dying IP sequel. And half those examples came out at nearly the same time as the PS2. And that's the killer library that should have launched the Dreamcast to superiority? And that's the proof that it isn't the software library that launches a console?

"when I recall 2006, it didn't worked out for MS either, the first year the 360 was struggling and their immediate fail in Japan was something everybody was talking about. In comparsion to the Dreamcast there wasn't even an interesting library, because apart from Forza no new (or later successful) franchise was available at launch and none of their old IPs (Fable, Halo) was ready in 2005/2006."

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Call of Duty 2, GR:AW, Dead or Alive 4, Saints Row, Gears of War. Certainly not software worth mentioning, right? That's a pretty worthless library of games in the first year, right?

And the XBox 360 did poorly in Japan because of the vastly different consumer expectations, and that the American company catered to more Western interests (say, Oblivion) compared to Sony that caters well to its native Japanese market.

Your argument that a year to build up an impressive library doesn't solidify a leadership position hinges on the example of the Dreamcast, pretending its library was really solid, and pretending that the 360 somehow did poorly in its first year (despite the PS3 having a hell of a time catching up) and having, somehow, a poor lineup of games, as long as you ignore all the established, extremely popular IPs. I'll stick to my original assumption, I think.


"By Jacob's Logic the Wii U would be the leader. Information dictates that Xbox Next will be out at the same "Holiday Season" as the PS4."

If by "by Jacob's logic" you mean butchering what I said until it sounds weird enough to mock, sure. The Wii U seems to have mostly ports of current gen titles that aren't as polished as on the current gen machines from which they were ported. Mostly because the Wii U isn't a next gen machine, but a competitor for the 360 and the PS3 that's several years behind.

But, if you pretend the Wii U is a next gen machine, ignore the vast difference in experience between it and the hardware we'll see with the next two Sony and MS iterations, ignore the distinct lack of non-first-party IP exclusives, and ignore the history Nintendo has with being abnormally slow at building a popular library, then yes, I guess "logic" would dictate it should be the leader.


I guess I thought it was common knowledge that consoles' popularity is dictated almost exclusively by software? Didn't know this was such a controversial or unknown thought.

A W
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""By Jacob's Logic the Wii U would be the leader. Information dictates that Xbox Next will be out at the same "Holiday Season" as the PS4."

If by "by Jacob's logic" you mean butchering what I said until it sounds weird enough to mock, sure. The Wii U seems to have mostly ports of current gen titles that aren't as polished as on the current gen machines from which they were ported. Mostly because the Wii U isn't a next gen machine, but a competitor for the 360 and the PS3 that's several years behind.

But, if you pretend the Wii U is a next gen machine, ignore the vast difference in experience between it and the hardware we'll see with the next two Sony and MS iterations, ignore the distinct lack of non-first-party IP exclusives, and ignore the history Nintendo has with being abnormally slow at building a popular library, then yes, I guess "logic" would dictate it should be the leader."

"You" by meaning "Me" are pretending that the Wii U is a next gen console. But the Wii U is by all right a next generation of consoles, and "you" by meaning "Jacob's Logic" is flawed in just taking base specs sheets and thinking some arbitrary number of RAM equals Next Gen when "You" by meaning "Jacob" haven't seen any full game running off of a black box called the PS4 that uses all of it it promised capabilities to the fullest. Heck I'll go on to say you haven't even seen anything running of of the Wii U that uses its full capabilities yet either (assumption based on real world facts).

You said the next generation console out first would win the console race, and so that console is the Wii U. Now you want to go back and say that it didn't factor into you analyst because it has a hard time with games that was ported over. Yet those games where made with existing tech in mind and not optimized with the new tech in the Wii U. I will go on to say from actually play time with my own Wii U, that the game I own that I see suffering the most from frame rate is Mass Effect 3 (yet it still playable), and that the game I see suffering the least from frame rate is BLOPS 2. See one of those games was just ported over with no though in mind to the tech difference, and the other had more development time to iron out the tech differences to deliver a game with less flaws. So please enlighten me on your definition of what is actually next gen? My definition extends to consoles that compete with each other for market share for a given period of time until a technological leap is needed.

Jacob Germany
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"Shenmue, Crazy Taxi and Virtua Tennis were "obscure" IPs? The most expensive video game of it's time the beginning of AAA games, the longest running Tennis game IP, still alive today and one of the most successful arcade games of it's time, that spawned numerous sequels and later was ported to almost every platform?
I would say otherwise. Besides, what's wrong with "all new IPs"?

So, because of the success of those IPs after their initial release, the IPs were strong enough, on first release, to draw in Dreamcast buyers? Is that your argument? That the IPs provided a "strong library" because they would eventually be established, successful IPs? In the future? And consumers should have foreseen that?

"Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - Port, also available on PC
Call of Duty 2 - Port also available on every other console + PC
GR AW - Port also available on PS2, XBox and PC
This leaves Saints Row and Gears of War, but the first came out in late august 2006 and the second wasn't released until november 2006, both relatively late in the year, so I would say the first year of the 360 wasn't impressive, when it comes to games."

Are you being serious, here? Because the console games could also be found on the PC, that no one needed a 360 to play it? Because a 360 purchase is the same as a new gaming PC? Or, to make the argument more reasonable, that a gaming PC is cheaper?

As for releasing on the PS2 and XBox as well, again, this argument is a bit silly. Yes, those games could be played on previous systems, but clearly the next gen system would provide a next gen experience. We're talking about market pressures, right? Incentives?


"But the Wii U is by all right a next generation of consoles,"

By all rights? In that it has a few new exclusives, but mostly ports of games that are either available on current gen systems, or have been available on current gen systems for quite a while? What makes it a next gen system, other than simply releasing recently? And why do you get to discount the internal specs when discussing which generation it is? Because those things don't matter? So you actually think the Wii U will become the leader of the "next gen" consoles?



"You said the next generation console out first would win the console race, and so that console is the Wii U. Now you want to go back and say that it didn't factor into you analyst because it has a hard time with games that was ported over."

I said nothing of the sort. I said the 360 did so, and if the PS4 releases earlier than the as-yet-completely-unannounced next-gen-XBox, it could do so as well. Countering the parent comment's assertion that the consumer base "locked in" to XBox with the 360, and because the PS3 didn't do well, the PS4 will also do poorly. My assertion was that it was the timing and the library, not the MS loyalty, that matters.

The Wii U is an entirely different beast. It's got a head start, but from what I can tell, it's doing poorly because it's being marketed as "next gen" while offering a poorer experience, unless you count the novelty of the second screen gaming. Plus, it really doesn't matter in the slighest concerning my original point, but since someone brought it up, I didn't mind talking about it, either.

Jacob Germany
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Oops, I forgot to respond to one of Christian's points.

"In it's first year the 360 sold 6 million units, not very impressive and not nearly enough to explain it's success over the PS3 in the US."

"Not nearly enough", you say. Yet, that number is a significant portion of the sales by 2011, according to Wikipedia. As I said before, that is enough to form a critical mass, which is a population with self-sustaining growth of share.

To say it's "not enough to explain the success over the PS3" is a bit odd, since the PS3 couldn't beat that figure in its first year (or ever catch up to the 360), despite having better hardware, free multiplayer, BlueRay capability, and no Red Ring of Death.

Jacob Germany
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I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear. The IPs you listed, from everything I can gather, began the year the launched on the Dreamcast. Is this not correct? They were, then, new IPs, and thus having no strong bearing on pulling consumers in to buy a new gen system, at least from the established popularity of the IPs themselves. To me, comparing the Dreamcast's Shenmue or Crazy Taxi, new IPs, compared to the PS2, which launched with and would inevitably have many solid established IPs. So, again, it's a bit of a weird comparison.

And I clearly didn't mean that a year head start and a strong library is the only deciding factor, nor did I ever say such a thing. You and A W seem to be twisting my original words around pretty wildly. I was, once again, simply countering the notion that consumers wouldn't "let go" of the XBox to move to the PS4. I find that ridiculous, since that's exactly what happened when the 360 released a year before the PS3. Do you not see the connection?

Say the PS4 releases this holiday season, but the next XBox takes several months after to release. This puts the PS4 in a strong lead to establish several strong games, as well as that critical mass, such that Microsoft loyalty is simply irrelevant.


"No Red Ring of Death? This is an argument to question the 360 install base, not an argument to proof it. The RROD resulted in faulty consoles, that got replaced by new consoles, if you substract every RROD console, that wasn't repaired, the 360 install base shrinks by this portion."

Are you seriously contending that the RROD didn't have any impact on the sales of the 360 and the PS3?

I dunno, friend. It's hard to take what you say seriously when many of your points seem fairly off-topic. Broken 360's were replaced. Strong libraries don't matter. Releasing a year before another console doesn't offer a strong potential for being the leader? And the 360 wasn't popular in Japan, so that proves.. what? That the PS4 is doomed? Because that's the original point in the parent post, that's what I was contending, and that's what you seem to be arguing for, which is rather confusing, you see? Japan likes the PS3 better, so head starts don't matter, so... the PS4 is doomed?

Or are you saying that Japan likes the PS3 better, so the 360 isn't the leader across the globe? Which I never claimed? Look, maybe it would help if you just read my original post again, the one you originally replied to? It might clear this conversation up quite a bit.

Jacob Germany
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To be clear, by the way, when I was speaking of the numbers of the PS3's first year not beating the XBox 360's first year, those were global numbers. No matter how they did in Europe, Japan, or the US separately, the 360 did better than the PS3 globally. But, again, that's really neither here nor there, except that I wasn't "ignoring global sales".

Jacob Germany
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"You said the head start and the library resulting from it were the reason for the success of the 360. I just answered to you and said, that this isn't an automism like you claim, because it didn't worked when Sega tried it with the Dreamcast."

I didn't say it was always true for every scenario. I was, once more, contending the idea (put forth by the parent post) that MS loyalty will mean the demise of the PS4. I stated, I thought clearly but I guess not, that the 360 beat out the PS3 because of the head start and library already established (exclusives and multi-platform games that released to the 360 before the PS3 released as a system). It was a strong factor that benefited the 360 greatly. If PS4 does the same, it will similarly be a strong factor that benefits it heavily, meaning Sony needn't worry about consumers feeling some sort of loyalty for Microsoft. I'm not sure how anything I'm saying is even controversial.


"Again, I am not sure what you do you want to say, you were constantly saying the 360 performed better than the PS3, in regards of RROD I said, it means most likely more 360's bought in the first years aren't in use any more then on other systems. Sorry, I don't get your point here?"

What I'm saying, to be as clear as I can, is that the RROD was a marketplace disaster. Owners of the 360's didn't suffer (nor did they buy new 360's, since the warranty covered it for a significant length of time, to contend that point you're making). However, someone wanting a system, with a choice between a BluRay player with free multiplayer, and a console that has a very high likelihood of needing repairs that has paid multiplayer and a purchasable HD-DVD add-on? That's going to affect sales.

It's pretty safe to assume some of the sales of the PS3, and missing sales of the 360, were due to these factors (since it would be fairly hard to justify how that *wasn't* true).

Logically, those mitigating factors hurt the 360 and helped the PS3, yet the 360 still did better than the PS3. So, what was it that helped?

It's fairly clear that one of the only benefits of the 360 was the head start install base and larger library. Can you think of another? Do you have another reason why a PS3, superior in reviews, hardware, durability, cost of multiplayer and ability to play BluRay... could have done worse GLOBALLY than the 360 in their first years? If so, go ahead and say it. I, for one, can only think of the head start, the critical mass install base (spreading via word-of-mouth and inability to play multiplayer with friends on a different console), and larger, better library. Can anyone else posit some other factor?

Other than the original parent post's claim of MS loyalty?

Jacob Germany
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All right, so, by that logic, the PS4's success hinges on its price. Still not the unwavering MS loyalty, as stated by the original poster, so... either way, the PS4 is perfectly suited for leadership in the next generation of consoles, right?

I still stand by that the timing and library was the prime factor for the 360 doing better than the original XBox, but obviously the price factored in. That's besides the point, though, as either way, the original point of "Sony's doomed" is untrue. Same reason the PS2 did so much better than the original XBox.

Ary Monteiro Jr
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The media is packed with articles like this, isn't it? They make the assumption that the audience for videogames is all the same when it's clearly more diverse, but it seems that only dedicated gamers and some industry people are aware of that fact. Journalists should research on this before jumping to conclusions, the mainstream crowd that only plays 0,99 cents phone games wouldn't touch a game console anyways, they were lured to the wii because of the whole 'physical activity' involved, once that fad was done they left the product to die.

Call of Duty is the biggest event in the enternaiment industry isn't it? I think that says enough about the potential market for 'core' experiences, but publishers and studios seem lost in how to effectively tap this potential, 'Skyrim' is the complete opposite of everything the 'analysts' and media journalists say are the trends of the videogame business, it's a massive, time consuming, complicated game and it still captured the minds of millions, Minecraft is another oddity that was insanely profitable, and even titles that are even less 'gamey' like Heavy Rain and Walking Dead also enjoyed enough commercial sucess.

What points me to the reasons why the wiiu is failing, it's not because of competition with tablets even though the system has one, Nintendo failed to show a compelling reason for people to move from the 360 and PS3. It is the 'core' market that Nintendo needs now, with the competitor's new products just around the corner the audience is certaily on a wait and see approach and they know that, they're rushing to improve their online service and announce whatever new titles they can show, like the ones at their 'direct' broadcast weeks ago. I won't make any predictions but the end of this year will be very interesting.

wes bogdan
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If sony's smart they'll put ps cloud in plus but keep away from the privilege of playing on ps4 where online gaming remains free as does streaming netflix unlike Xbox where even though i pay the isp and netflix ms has a privlage of playing on xbox fee which can go up anytime,anywhere.

Differences from Xbox must be maintained otherwise it's just Sony live 2.0 and noone needs that.

I can see their cloud being extra butif it's not part of plus then you're splintering the userbase between basic,plus and plus with and without cloud andeven cloud with and without plus.

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Brad Borne
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AAA games sell millions of copies at 60 bucks each. At the end of an unnaturally long console cycle. Yep, better start making .99 cent cell phone games for other companies' platforms.

Why did I even write this comment...

Kevin Fishburne
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If Gran Turismo 6 releases exclusively to the PS4 we'll end up buying one. Or I will, anyway.

Tim Borquez
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All I can say is the only reason I purchased my PS3 was for the games that only the PS3 offered. So if they know exactly what I want and it's going to be on PS4, I'm buying a PS4!

david canela
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Just a detail, but:
"According to a recent report by SuperData, the money spent on microtransactions of free-to-play games in the United States rose 42 percent last year."

Errr, yes, so a still rather new business model shows large percentile growth? Without more context, That reeks of one of those impressive figures evangelists throw around to convince you to buy into whatever fad they're selling (not saying f2p is just a fad!). It's like comparing an emerging market's relative economic growth figures to those of an industrialised country and deducing the latter is suddenly insignificant...

Justin Sawchuk
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Temple Run 2 had 50 million downloads in 2 weeks, I guess everyone should tell them that they arent "true gamers", I bet they wont even sell 50 million PS4s in 2 years, they did sell more IPADs in that time. LOL is the biggest game in the world with 35 million active users, all you need is 1 reasonable size company to make a MOBA on mobile and its all over but the crying. They dont care about hardware they care about the gamers otherwise PC would still be king.

Ary Monteiro Jr
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what a ludicrous comparison between a free game and a 500 dollars piece of tech

everyone downloads a free game, if only to look at it, more relevant data would be: how long people keep playing before eventually uninstalling,? How many in app purchases they do?

I also download several free mobile games and rather play the ones I unlock things by my own effort, the minute I notice that developers are trying to force purchases unfairly I remove it. Judging by comments on Google Play I'm not alone.

Jack Matthewson
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Honestly, if he's talking about all the new gamers that the Wii and mobile gaming have brought into the fold, then winning them over will be all about price point. This is the only place that Sony could seriously scupper themselves right now. Releasing the PS4 at a similar price point to the PS3 will be a massive mistake in my opinion. I think the initial performance of the PS3 and the current performance of the Vita in terms of sales testifies to that. Features and services are all awesome, AAA launch titles certainly help, but no one's gonna be dropping $600 on a new console again.

Ary Monteiro Jr
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Casuals pay a hefty amount of money on an iPad, because they see value outside of gaming on it, they'll never pay that much on a console and will probably wait for a price drop. It's not realistic to sell a high end tech like the PS4 for cheap, that's why they're catering to the hardcore/enthusiast crowd at this point, they'll pay more if they see value, and for that crowd nice specs and a portfolio of solid games may sell the thing.

Sahle Alturaigi
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I know this is not exactly a constructive comment, but what is a "Gamer" or, even more so, a "True gamer?" I feel like that's becoming a word lots of people are throwing around, but have no clear idea what the definition for it really is. (At least in my case... :s).

On a side-note, I am just as likely to get any other console out there. Just as long as it tickles my fancy. :P

Michael Joseph
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I think it means someone who buys and plays AAA titles. They are distinguished from the casual players and freemium players. If they are PC gamers, the "true gamer" is tech savy and much more likely to know what type of CPU and GPU is inside their PC and are able to make sense of recommended system requirements.

Amir Sharar
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There is definitely an issue with terms being used in this industry. The biggest issue being that they do not reflect an understanding of what they are attempting to describe.

I've stuck with the term "traditional gamer" to describe those who prefer playing games with physical button controls, with the content of the games encompassing all sorts of genres usually found on home consoles.

Spanning genres like racers, to FPS games, to RPGs, to Sports games, to Story-Driven Adventure games...these sorts of gamers have a lot to look forward to when it comes to a jump in technology occurs in the industry. These genres (largely possible due to their method of control through controllers) have much to gain from increased graphic fidelity, better AI, better physics, and more complex animations.

So when the "true gamer" comment was made, I took it to mean "traditional gamers".

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Jay Anne
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@Dan
A scary future is one where nobody achieves critical mass, and every sector of the industry struggles and fights to gain a small piece of the pie. Developing a game becomes a mess of dealing with too many weird platforms, each with its own hurdles and requirements, each requiring a gamble to see if the costs of porting will be worth it in the end. None of the sectors show much growth, causing smart investors and developers to move elsewhere.

Ben Droste
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If Sony thinks I'm going to spend hundreds of dollars to play a slightly higher-res Kill Zone they're dreaming. I think the rise of mobile and indi PC titles have shown that visual superiority is no longer the primary driving force in hardware upgrades.

The social features of the PS4 look interesting, but I'm not prepared to pay large sums of money for those features alone.

As an interesting aside, an iPhone 5 costs $799 in Australia for the 16GB model (the PS4 is likely to cost a similar amount if previous consoles are anything to go by), and some people are prepared to pay for that small upgrade EVERY YEAR, let alone every five or so in the console cycle. Obviously a smartphone does a lot more than a Playstation, and you can't fit a PS4 in your pocket, but clearly people ARE prepared to spend comparable amounts of money MORE OFTEN if the justification is there.

evan c
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I think the problem with the true gamer or core market is that they're fragmented between portables, PC, XBox, Nintendo and Sony loyalist.

Meanwhile the mobile market is only divided between iOS and Android. Casual gamers maybe flaky, but the lack of fragmentation makes their market to be massive.

I hope Sony's strategy works out. I don't want the casual market to dictate the future of gaming...

Geoff Yates
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The way I like to think of a "true gamer" and I think this is what Tretton is referring to is the individual who:

* Owns two or three consoles every generation (generally keeps them for replay later). Possibly a PC gaming rig;
* Very knowledgeable around games and the gaming industry;
* Spends a small fortune on games every year;
* Spends the vast majority of their leisure time playing games and when I mean games I mean games that a just a tad more sophisticated than Temple Run and Angry Birds. So if you haven't heard of or played Borderlands, World of Warcraft, Bioshock, Mass Effect, etc. than its kinda meaningless. Like saying I run a few miles a week so therefore I'm a athlete. Your not you just like being fit and exercising.

BTW there is nothing wrong with enjoying playing games (my wife likes playing games on her iPad) I think when its your main hobby your just taking it to another level. That is what I think Tretton is saying by a true gamer.

Whether Tretton believes you can transition from liking games to a main hobby only time will tell. I do however believe the Wii showed us that isn't the case.

Jorge Molinari
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The last three consoles I’ve owned in chronological order: PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360(twice due to RROD)

For next gen, it’s looking like a PS4 or a Steambox for me. I don’t think I’ll be able to use any of the streaming features on PS4, but playing back a game session and being able to save any clip would be epic. I would love having this for my Spelunky and BF3 games. The rumors of the next Xbox having worse specs than the PS4, along with it shipping with Kinect 2.0 makes me think they want to be next gen’s Wii. (While the Wii U may play the role of last gen’s SEGA.) If only Sony had made the same Xbox controller. I hate the Dualshock feel and stick layout. Its touchpad and “mee to” Kinect feature were also a letdown. Motion controls be dammed.

Anyway all this amounts to me going having a “wait and see” approach for next gen. Based on what I’ve seen and read up to this point, here is my list of next gen consoles, in order of likelihood that would purchase one:

1. Steambox- I’m willing to pay a large premium for having the best graphics and modding capability in my living room. The games will be cheaper so that will offset the high upfront cost. The only thing that worries me is getting owned in BF4 because I would like to play with a gamepad and everyone would be using mouse and keyboard. If I had my way, full picture should disable mouse and keyboard in shooters. If this were implemented I’d get a Steambox for sure.

2. PS4- Probably the better spec’ed console and now developers don’t have the cell processor issue to contend with.

3. Wii U- Playing Mario and Mario Kart with HD graphics.

4. Xbox 720- My current favorite is dead last. Likely lower specs than PS4, emphasis on Kinect and other “entertainment hub” features. Also I’m sick of paying for Xbox live. I will miss the controller so much. Other than the d-pad, I feel this controller cannot be improved, it is nearly perfect. Can be used with a Steambox!

John Flush
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I hear a lot about how awesome the X360 controller is, but I have come to the conclusion I hate one feature of the device - the left thumbstick button. This is the one that if you push the stick too hard it will do the button push. In Minecraft this is set to change the view, Oblivion it is crouch. I bring up these two specific cases because I always end up clicking it when I get surprised or in a big fight that requires quick movements... and the result is always a horrible result. I'm now crouched, or in a view that sucks.

The X360 controller needs to lose the thumbstick 'button' - then it would be perfect. On PC you can turn it off - like I do.

Luis Guimaraes
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Disabled mouse and keyboard in shooters would be the one single reason for me to NOT get a Steambox, unless they put a trackball in the controller for aim and make it use the default mouse input without too big delays and trouble.

If I wanted FPSs with soldiers that feel like they're right out of physiotherapy I'd be playing them on already existing consoles.

Jorge Molinari
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5. Ouya – Forgot to include it in my original post because, well… I probably would not set this up in my living room even if someone gave one to me as a gift. A non-mobile device to play mobile games. I’m sure there’s a market for this but to me this is simply the worst of both worlds.

Robb Lewis
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Most people seem to think that it's an either / or situation. You either play a console or a PC or a smartphone game. I think that's a very narrow way to look at the possibilities. What seems to be overlooked in all of this is that the overall number of consumers who play games has expanded dramatically since the introduction of the last gen of consoles. This is fantastic news. But what's also changed is one can no longer define a gamer as one who owns a console. Essentially gamers are mass market. Just like the millions of diverse people watch movies either at the theater or at home. It's expanded and become mass market because we have so many more choices - both on the devices we can play AND the finances we pay or not.

When markets get large they segment and with games they types of games appeal to different ages. Where as in my teens and twenties I had tons of time to play many hours per day I no longer have that luxury with family and kids. The younger generation, one the monopoly of consoles, now see smartphone and tablet gaming as viable gaming platforms that also allow them to connect with their friends from anywhere without needing to go home and play in the living room. Tretton and Yoshida speak of Angry Bird gamers migrating up but I think they are just not explaining it right. I think it's more about choice and the ability to use the right game platform for the right game at the right time.

The bigger strategy might be for Sony to think open. They should focus on enabling the games across multiple platforms to share a more open gaming experience, with the PSN being the cloud gaming hub and open online, not just through my console. Think of a game experience that can be played using multiple platforms - not as a port of the same game experience to other devices but rather a game where I can play core, big screen style of play on my console and have companion quests / challenges on my smartphone or tablet, each experience designed for the platform and each game play contributing to the overall game progression. Some games would require all platforms be used and other might just be on tablets and smartphones. But all of them would communicate and share data with the PSN. An open platform would allow gamers to play any games without a console but this could provide Sony has a better oppty to convert users to consoles if they are already a community member of the PSN. Providing gamers with an open gaming experience where they can play anywhere on any device just might provide Sony with the second wind they need to continue the race and regain its once dominant position.

R Hawley
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True gamers don't even need a console. They have shelves lined with decades of great games that are still playable. Definition wars aside.

All Nintendo needed to do is launch a HD Wii. The Wii won simply because the controller is easy to understand. Couple of buttons, easy to pickup. You don't need years of game training required to operate a baffling dual-shock or 360 controller. We gamers and developers forget how intimating these things are because we've evolved with the hardware.

The Wii-U has moved backwards, offering a baffling array of confusing controls melded it to something the size of a tea-tray.

Our household used to be a poster-child of video game consumption, broad age range, every console available, high-income. In the last 2 years we've not been engaged at all, this is reflected in declining sales, studio closures and consoles struggling to find their place in the market again.

A smartphone can connect you to a game store in a few seconds. On the Wii-U it can take 20 seconds just to present you with a menu. Ugh. Consoles and games are even overlooking simple usability issues like this. It's not acceptable anymore, the competition is there now.

A W
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You are right. The Wii U is a back move but only half way. Nintendo went after those players that wanted easy to use games with the Wii. The did this because the cared not for competing with the market that shrunk. Now that more gamers are out there using touch, they took a step back and and offered a device that goes halfway between the two markets. The pad can act as a help controller as a pure gaming contoller and as a movable viewpoint inside the 3d world. They still offer all of the classic gaming controllers and the motion controls. Now are 3rd party companies going to think beyond thier base of players when developing games for the Wii U. Time will tell, however history is not forgiving concerning 3rd party innovation.

However this topic is about Sony, and if they realizes that they are selling into a shrinking market. So far the answer seems to be "yes, and we don't care" Hope it work out for them honestly.

John Flush
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"PlayStation bets the farm that 'true gamers' are enough to sell its new machine" - you know the more I think about the headline the more I would have to say that PlayStation is going to lose their farm. The more comments I read, the more people I talk to... There just isn't anything to push the next generation of consoles and gaming in general.

Poor people can grind free to play.
Rich people have a PC with a controller attached to it by now. Only exclusives would have them buy a console - or the sake of saying they have one.

Mid-range people is all you have left and they need something new to draw them back into gaming. Sequels won't do it. More of the same don't do it. Sharing their gaming habits isn't going to do it... and there just isn't enough 'true gamers' out there and catering to them is only going to hasten the collapse. Every console generation has had a hook.

NES - Arcade in your living room

SNES - "Great looking" games in your living room

PS / N64 - The PC in an easy to configure and control system. 4 Player splitscreen.

PS2 / GC / Xbox - A better looking PS / N64 generation with a start of 'online'

Wii / X360 / PS3 - Motion control and control simplicity - Online gaming - mostly a removal of splitscreen except for the few exceptions.

Wii U / PS4 / X720 - Online sharing? I want to believe 'better looking' but with all the indie games who cares about looks too much anymore? Playing the console away from your TV? Are any of these hooks that are going to usher in the next gen? Does anyone care?

Matt Cratty
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I'm just glad PC games will look better now.

Well, the 3-5 per year worth playing, anyways.

But, the premise of this article just makes me shake my head. What are they supposed to do? Throw in with Nintendo or Apple? The battle for the "non-gamer" market is done. And of course its down 24 percent. The writing has been on the wall for months that the current console generation is a lame duck.

Mike Griffin
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He's basically looking to hobbyist gamers to establish the PS4's demographic/early installed base.

As for the "graduation effect": I'm a firm believer that anyone who begins to focus more heavily on their preferred leisure activity may indeed graduate from casual interest to hobby interest, it's just that plenty of people (during this renaissance of accessibility) are entirely satisfied with never graduating to hobbyist gamer status.

Yet they're spending more, in some in-app upgrade cases, on casual interest than a comparable hobbyist is spending. However, buying power is not an implicit indicator of interest level.

On the other hand, there's also a huge demographic of gamers for whom it has become impossible to step backwards, down from focused daily hobbyist to intermittent-occasional player.

I count myself among the latter. Do I play more short-session, casual time-friendly games these days? Certainly, but that's entirely due to their vast availability. I've always been a Generalist gamer, so I've simply welcomed other forms of game design into my life besides strictly traditional template core titles.

But there's no going back from hobbyist. Meandering laterally to other flavors of game design, absolutely, but I'm not trading in my Porsche for a Yugo anytime soon. I'm too deep. I'll always save a spot for the core experience, high production value, hobbyist gaming.

That being said, in the history of game consoles we've never had so much choice -- from the high end to the low end, any genre and many new hybrid genres, in all manner of price ranges. And there are games for "true gamers" (a challenging way to say hobbyist gamer) in all of those genres and price ranges.

We're not in a terrible place, just traveling through a transitional period where more people are playing games than ever, and they're picking from the broadest spectrum of video games the industry has ever known, with more revenue-generating options than ever.

Can you bet the farm on a bubble that may burst? Which bubble risks bursting anyway?

Jeremiah Bond
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I'll buy a PS4 for a damn good game. Truth is, we only buy the next big thing for the next big thing. We don't buy for hardware but the software and utilities that come with it.

Back to the basics. The PC allows for any game to be enjoyed, particularly sandbox and customized/modifiable games.

The PS4 and XBox offer up glimmering hopes of the future. What they must offer is box office experiences. How they define that is by giving experiences that we enjoy and new stuff we don't expect.

You can't go wrong providing the same experience enhanced. You'd do better giving a good common experience more fully developed... and enhanced.

Jason Chen
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In the end a strong library of games and strong developers makes the console sale! I will get ps4 just to play Destiny (if it delivers what they promises).

Carlo Delallana
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Well, can we, as inides and AAA developers at least agree on one thing....real money gambling is probably the worst thing to happen to games in decades.

Titi Naburu
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What's the point of buying a console, if people already have phones, tablets and/or personal computers. My answer is: better hardware, or better games. Console-exclusive games are the reason why Nintendo still exists. The Wiimore and Kinect are key for the existance of Wii and Xbox 360. What's PS4's unique selling point?


none
 
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