After what has roughly been the first real quarter of sales for the next generation of consoles, it appears that the first round has been won and Sony have landed a haymaker as they steal a march on their rivals at Microsoft. So what is making the PlayStation 4 more attractive to customers than the Xbox One? Is it the services they supply, the number of indie titles available or has the pendulum simply just swung back towards Sony?
Over the last month Sony have claimed that sales of the Playstation 4 have doubled that of the Xbox One and although they haven’t released any exact figures, Sony took to Twitter to claim that its in the lead.
Microsoft did fire back with a response saying that they had sold the most games. Taking away the schoolyard tactics, if Sony is the number one priority in customers minds when going to buy a new console, what is it that’s making the difference?
How Sony got in front
The PlayStation 4 does offer a different prospect to the Xbox One and on the surface seems to be a console more dedicated towards the hardcore gamer. Whereas Microsoft have attempted to target customers who want to use the Xbox One as their main entertainment centre, Sony have realised that they don’t need to target that market, they believe their customers will want to keep their TV and other media based entertainment separate and they don’t need to supply this entertainment centre. Their strapline is “This is for players” and that’s exactly the customer they want.
The main differences
- In the UK, the consoles are priced at pretty much an equal level. Of course a customer could call into a store and attempt to haggle a deal, but the prices are pretty much of a muchness. In the US, however, the price points are different and the PlayStation 4 comes in at $100 less than the XBox One. Already the saving seems a bonus.
- The targeting of the hardcore gaming customer is probably Sony’s biggest plus point in the console war. As I stated, Sony believe that you’ll want a console to play games on and not play games, then watch your TV, then make a Skype call all at the same time. Sony also have the indie market in their pocket too. Their open source developing platform has allowed independent game developers to make fresh new games available on the PlayStation 4 and this gives customers more options in trying something new. Of course this does lead to a potential support nightmare as they will have to service a lot more third party software for their customers. Microsoft have, by and large kept the Xbox development kits under wraps and this has made the PS4 a favourite in the gaming community.
- The online support has improved dramatically. PlayStation Plus is a service which has changed over the years and now instead of being one which is inferior to Xbox Live, its now vastly improved. Customers now have access to games from previous consoles which is something gamers have been crying out for. Also the future exclusive releases such as Infamous: Second Son and Driveclub will all help shift units.
- Finally the POWER. Sony have been touting the consoles power for a long time now and making sure that customers have the best gaming experience. Under the hood, the PlayStation 4 is the more powerful console. From an off the shelf purchasing perspective this will be the console that attracts a casual gamer.
So what do Microsoft do now to bring the sales back in? How do they attract new customers? How do they get the current customers to upgrade to the new console and new services? A number of options exist, but it will be exciting to see what happens in the next quarter.