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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Who Knows Why the PlayStation 4 is Selling? Defying Conventional Thinking?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I dunno, it seems pretty conventional to me. What used to be conventional, anyway.

Remember in March 2015 when Sony's PlayStation 4 eclipsed 20 million units? Since then, it's supposedly gone up to over 30 million units sold. So the PlayStation 4 sold in little over half a year what the Wii U has taken nearly six times that amount of time to do. Surely, Sony has to have some kind of secret sauce, right? Are they ready to tell us what those ingredients are?

Apparently, they still have no clue why. It baffles 'em.

PlayStation/Sony frontman Shuhei Yoshida doesn't know what the PlayStation 4 did better than the PlayStation 3, other than making the PlayStation 4 easier to develop for than the PlayStation 3, which was notoriously super-powered and really hard to make games for. This easiness makes software much more available than the PlayStation 3, which was derided by memes 8-9 years ago for having no games. (I like to think you could still use those today, but I'm probably wrong at this point. Though, I wasn't wrong April Fools 2014, and it was still selling a ton then!)

He gives another reason. That GameSpot article says:
Another reason why the PS4 has enjoyed such strong success, according to Yoshida, is that it's attracting people who never owned any last-generation console.” 

That's... not a cause for why it's successful. That's an effect. What is the REASON that it's attracting people that skipped the PS3/Xbox 360/Wii generation? That means you haven't owned a console in over a decade, and that's probably over the age of a lot of current PS4 owners! ...Hm, maybe that's how it's doing that kind of attracting. They were too young or weren't born to have ever owned a last-generation console, so now is the time. Appealing to this young demographic is why you see Sony doing terrible things like sending PewDiePie (who is a glorified on-demand babysitter) birthday gifts.

That said, that explanation (and Yoshida's statement) actually contradicts this study by Nielsen in their January 2015 Nielsen 360° Gaming Report. Hm...with that many degrees, I wonder if it has a natural Microsoft bias.

Nielsen 360° Gaming Report: Lifetime Console Ownership Among U.S. Households.

Clearly, those numbers (91% of PS4 owners have owned a previous-generation console) contradict Sony's claims. In fact, it seems like Microsoft is doing better in the "bringing new folks in" department. Nielsen has another chart that gives the real reason why people bought the PlayStation 4. It's the same reason they bought the PlayStation 3, and similar to why they bought the PlayStation 2...

Nielsen 360° Gaming Report: Top Factors Driving 8th Generation Console Purchase By Platform

Besides the snark we can have about the Wii U doing backwards compatibility correctly and first (and not getting recognised by the media for it), the real reason so many casual folks bought the PS4 is that it doubles as a blu-ray player. So if they didn't already get their blu-ray playing from getting a PS3, they got it now. And we all know the PS2 sold as a cost-efficient DVD player.

It's telling that PS4 owners have the lowest rate of PS3 ownership vs. Xbox One-Xbox 360 owners, and Wii U-Wii owners. It's also telling how fun-factor didn't even make the list.

Anyway, having easy-to-develop consoles isn't a new idea. Appealing to the casual crowd isn't, either. And of the three consoles, Sony's is easily the most casual! So... it's pretty conventional, in the end. It's also conventional that, in terms of gaming, at least it... plays games without gimmicks that might scare people away. Even if those gimmicks are great, they can look scary if their stories aren't told well.

Ludwig has wanted to do something with that Nielsen 360° Gaming Report the whole year. And now he has! Yippee. Let him know how you feel why the PlayStation 4 is selling.


  1. People are buying PS4's because it's the 'in' thing, not because they're actually enjoying it.

    Look at the Wii: People have plenty of memories trying out Wii Sports for the first time and having a blast, and the console escalated from there. I have Rune Factory Frontier and Harvest Moon: Animal Parade sitting unopened right in front of me nearly ten years later. I'm still getting great new games for that thing.

    When PS4 hype dies down, and it will, Sony won't be able to recover from it. Actually, they're on top of the world right now and STILL bleeding money.

    1. ...Oh yeaaaah Wii Sports was a thing. (I like Nintendo Land more!)

      Sony's finances in general are hilarious.

      I have Trauma Center: New Blood unopened. Actually, Red Steel and Sonic and the Secret Rings unopened too. Got all of them pretty much for free.

  2. Actually, I think people are enjoying the PS4, if they're buying it. The Xbox One is more of the 'in' thing because of the brand, but that's a different story all together.

    The PS4 is selling better than the Wii U for two main reasons, in my opinion; the first one being game availability. When it comes to Wii U's top games, almost all of them are reboots or sequels to a past game. Not to mention just about every single one of them are developed by Nintendo themselves. People have been seeing Mario and Zelda for so long now, they only appeal to the die-hard fans. You're not going to see anything too creative in these games, but nevertheless they still play amazingly. Making a game like Splatoon was a good move for Nintendo, but it lacks the features of modern multiplayer shooters such as voice chat or private lobbies. The Wii U simply doesn't have enough games to appeal to the average gamer.

    The other and probably more prevalent reason is the casual vs. hardcore gamer. I guess hardcore is a bit of a stretch, but I honestly couldn't think of an alternate term. Gaming has evolved from more of a past-time to almost a sport. There are more tournaments, live streams, and general content played off the PS4 (and the Xbox One) than the Wii U. As far as unique competitive games go, for the Wii U you have Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. While Nintendo excels at amazing single-player games (back to Mario and Zelda), the common gamer prefers more action between his or her friends. Then we have hardware capabilities. I'm not going to go into detail of the Wii U's specs vs. the PS4's, but generally speaking, the Wii U has about 1/6th or the processing power that the PS4 has. With specs becoming more and more relevant to the consumer in terms of consoles, the Wii U perform too well. I remember back when the fact that something like a NES could be made was amazing, but unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Believe it or not, the Wii U is Nintendo's worst-selling console to date, barely topping 10 million sales, and that's despite the fact it was released a year prior to its competitors. A lot of people feel like it is a carbon-copy of the Wii, with some of the highlight games being Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros., or Super Mario 3D World, similiar to the Wii with Mario Kart Wii, SSBB, and New Super Mario Bros. being among the most popular. The bottom line is, Nintendo is sticking to what they do best, making their own games, and making them good. Not sure if they are content with this, as they know they are being beaten by both Sony and Microsoft.

    Don't get me wrong though, I love the Wii (I haven't tried the Wii U yet) just as much as the next guy. I think everyone has their own sort of Nintendo nostalgia, but more and more people are switching over. Unless Nintendo shakes up what they're doing right now, their console sales will only go down.

    Also, I can tell you the PS4 hype isn't going to die down anytime soon, people have been anticipating it for years, and now that it's here, it may even surpass the sales of the PS2, the best-selling console of all time.


    1. Hi "A". (For Anonymous?) Thanks for the reply.

      If the Xbox One is the "in" thing, then it's not very "in" among a large amount of folks. Wish it was.

      Woah, woah, hey now. Zelda barely has a Wii U presence. One HD remaster, and then a spin-off that plays nothing like any other Zelda game. Not my tastes, but still. And those have sold really well! Also, Splatoon DOES have private lobbies. Not sure where you've been!

      You're right, though. The average gamer is the kind that just buys Madden/CoD/FIFA every year and that's sorta it, and the Wii U ain't the console for that.

      Anyone who thinks the Wii U is a carbon copy of the Wii isn't informed. Which is probably... a lot of people, but as an owner of both there are really big differences.

      We'll see about the PS4's sales. I sorta doubt it'll surpass the PS2!

  3. I mainly use the PS3 for DVDs/Blu-Rays. I should get up to date on those Ratchet and Clank PS3 games as I only went through Tools of Destruction. Maybe Sly 4 as well. It was my husband/brother-in-law who bought it together, I'm just reaping in the benefits.

  4. If I had to choose out of the current gen consoles from a casual gamer's perspective, I'd probably favor the PS4. It not only has fantastic resolution, but best of all, it even comes with a pre-installed Blu-ray Player! No wonder the Wii U isn't selling!

    1. Do casual gamers really obsess over resolution that much?

      ...Like, I thought only nerds (who are going to get Computer Vision Syndrome and lose their eyesight anyway) care.


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