Sony's Getting Nervous About Its Excellent PS4 Sales

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Sony's Getting Nervous About Its Excellent PS4 Sales

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Shuhei Yoshida's happy for now, but concerned about the future, and wants to know who's buying Sony's console.

"It's just beyond our imagination," says Sony's Shuhei Yoshida, as he contemplates 10 million PS4 sales in nine months. "We are so happy." But he, and Sony, has a problem; Sony isn't entirely sure who's buying its console. The sales figures are fantastic, but if Sony exhausts the core market this early, it has to wonder where future sales are going to come from. This isn't a problem it wants right now, not when it's just caught up with launch demand.

The funny thing is, says Yoshida, those sales aren't necessarily to core gamers at all. Many of the buyers didn't own a PS3 and are new to the PlayStation network. Others never even owned a console before, whether PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii. "So where did they come from?" asks Yoshida, and it's a question Sony's marketing people are hard at work trying to answer.

"We want to understand who are these consumers who we do not necessarily consider core gamers," says Yoshida, "Who are purchasing PS4, and why they are doing it and what they are doing with PS4, so we can create a bit more of a positive future." Sony wants as wide an audience as possible, better than it had for the PS3, but for that to work, it needs to know what the audience wants.

Is it the new games driving demand? Not quite, Yoshida thinks. Sure, there are titles out now and coming up that have gamers excited, but that doesn't really explain the speed of sales to Yoshida's satisfaction. Maybe tweaks to the firmware are needed, improvements to existing services as well as additional features. Sony likes what it sees, as far as the market's concerned, but it really wants to know what it needs to do to capture that audience and hold it.

After all, "the purchase decision of consoles is a long-term investment," says Yoshida. "It's not like a smartphone where every two years you purchase new hardware. So people hopefully are looking at a bit longer term." Sony is too, and it has a lot at stake. But so far, it has every reason to be happy about the future, even if it doesn't understand it yet.

Source: Eurogamer

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The funny thing is, says Yoshida, those sales aren't necessarily to core gamers at all. Many of the buyers didn't own a PS3 and are new to the PlayStation network. Others never even owned a console before, whether PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii. "So where did they come from?" asks Yoshida, and it's a question Sony's marketing people are hard at work trying to answer.

Maybe they come from 'The Great Owtsyde'? A mystical land rumoured to have dragons, trees and something called 'wimmin'! I didn't even know humans could survive in the Owtsyde, NASA should look in to it.

It wouldn't suprise me if this was some kind of ridiculous Microsoft tactic.

Step 1: Buy all of the PS4s
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit

It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times. What I got out of this: "Oh wow, we're selling a TON of consoles... how do we make sure these people stay customers"

If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

I think the problem is they might not be selling the things for a good margin just quite yet. I seem to recall stories of last gen consoles being sold at a loss in the first year or so, so if SONY fills the market at a loss, and can't sell the things for the same price when they are cheaper to make, they are royally fucked.

Demagogue:
It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times. What I got out of this: "Oh wow, we're selling a TON of consoles... how do we make sure these people stay customers"

If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

I'd say this is somewhat a testament to Japanese culture vs American culture.

The idea of American exceptional-ism is quite different to the rest of the world. Japan especially so.

gabycms:
I think the problem is they might not be selling the things for a good margin just quite yet. I seem to recall stories of last gen consoles being sold at a loss in the first year or so, so if SONY fills the market at a loss, and can't sell the things for the same price when they are cheaper to make, they are royally fucked.

I thought that last Gen only Nintendo sold at a loss... either way, selling your console at a loss is perfectly okay, really if they are trying to make money off their consoles they are doing it wrong. Like Yoshida said, consoles are a long term investment (well 5-10 years) you don't make your money off them, you make your money off the royalties from games, and subscriptions (XBLive, PSN).

ron1n:

Demagogue:
It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times. What I got out of this: "Oh wow, we're selling a TON of consoles... how do we make sure these people stay customers"

If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

I'd say this is somewhat a testament to Japanese culture vs American culture.

The idea of American exceptional-ism is quite different to the rest of the world. Japan especially so.

Oh definitely that is a factor for it, it always has been. It just still amazes me that it happens, because it is so rare in the west.

That was a refreshingly honest and humble interview, such a great guy. I'm waiting to see if Destiny is good enough to justify a PS4 purchase, I wonder if they'll see another jump in sales after September 9th.

Is it possible to have an obligatory sales comparison whenever console sales are brought up?

Its no secret that the PS4 is doing better right now, but its always irking me that nobody seems to know by how much.

I can see why worrying about something like this can seem rather silly at first, but I can also see where Sony might be a little bit worried. It's like any other race. You need to pace yourself. Sure, you can go ham and gain a hefty lead on the competition early in the game, but you risk tiring yourself out, and it doesn't take much for your competition to catch up or even surpass you.

gigastar:
Is it possible to have an obligatory sales comparison whenever console sales are brought up?

Its no secret that the PS4 is doing better right now, but its always irking me that nobody seems to know by how much.

In the news article there is an old link stating that the ratio is 2:1 to Sony, right now it is getting a little murky due to MS no longer stating the amount of consoles sold.

I found this relatively recent article that puts the numbers at 5 million, 7 million and 10 million for the Xbone, WiiU and the PS4 respectively.

http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/12/ps4-worldwide-sales-hit-10-million-xbox-one-on-5-million-4830599/

I think it's quite a realistic concern, that last generation's wider Wii userbase has been left behind, and the current PS4/Xbone/WiiU buyers are really just the old core gamer segment, even if this time they are all buying quite early, and preferring the PS4, giving the impression of a growing market.

If the concerns are right, we might be looking at a relatively short, 4-5 year long generation insteaed of the expected 6-7 like last time.

Sony HQ:

CEO: "Guys we're making all this money, how did we do it!?!?!"
Random Shlub: "Uh I think cause we made it like, good? and customer friendly? and nicely priced?"
CEO: "Hmmmm, that sounds like crazy talk to me"

*meanwhile at microsoft*

CEO: "So how's phase 5 coming along? you know the one where we start actively stealing money from people with XboxOnes?"
Random Minion: "Uh We're still finishing up phase 4 sir, operation kick everyone in the nuts, we haven't figured out how to kick girls in the nuts yet but we'll come up with something!"
CEO: "Excellent" *maniacal 80s villain laughter* *lightning strikes and thunder as camera zooms out from evil lair*

And so concludes my explanation.

I don't think it should be a great surprise that a lot of people who didn't buy a PS3 bought a PS4. I will be one of those people when the library for the PS4 is full of value. I owned a 360, and I won't touch an Xbone no matter what they do with it. As for those people buying it who have never owned a console, that is pretty interesting. I too wonder who they are and what their new interest in gaming is.

CriticalMiss:

It wouldn't suprise me if this was some kind of ridiculous Microsoft tactic.

It still wouldn't be a worse idea than mandatory Kinect.

Demagogue:
It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times. What I got out of this: "Oh wow, we're selling a TON of consoles... how do we make sure these people stay customers"

If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

There's reason. You have to consider what you call 'a sale'.

See retailers like Walmart, Gamestop, etc buy hundreds of consoles from Sony (per store). These are sales. Now the question is...how many of these sales are translating into consumer purchases? If the retailers are buying but not selling, that's a different picture.

Also the core question is another one. IT has to do with market saturation. Have they already sold the majority of the ps4's they are every going to? Have they already peaked? If so that is bad. I mean you may consider 10 million units sold a good thing but that'll barely offset the R&D costs...much less the marketing, and manufacturing costs.

Because it's not an Xbox One or a Wii-U?

Dunno I've been on the Sony bandwagon since the PS2 slim and Rachet & Clank 2. Personally Sony has always brought out the better exclusives in the long term for me personally, whereas Nintendo got a bit old and stale. I'll probably pick up a Wii-U at some point, but only until it's reached it's lifespan and all the best exclusives can be gotten for pennies. Once I unplugged the Wii, I struggled to find reasons to plug it back in again, with the Metroid Prime Trilogy being the lastest game u bought and played it for.
Sony comparatively had all the third party support along with the occasional gem like the Last of Us. Xbox I couldn't see a reason for purchasing unless it was the one your mates used to play online with, seeing as how I hated the thought of online multiplayer, the Xbox faded into obscurity for me... Until I had to fish out the butt ugly controller to play Steam games with.

CriticalMiss:
It wouldn't suprise me if this was some kind of ridiculous Microsoft tactic.

Step 1: Buy all of the PS4s
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit

Heh. I'm reminded of the time that the Catholic Church purchased all of William Tyndale's English Bibles and burned them all... giving Tyndale enough money to print even more than there were before.

OT: That's a really interesting question. How DO you figure out what people are doing with your product?

...and if they find out that they're mostly being put in shrines, what does this mean in terms of future features?

Demagogue:

gabycms:
I think the problem is they might not be selling the things for a good margin just quite yet. I seem to recall stories of last gen consoles being sold at a loss in the first year or so, so if SONY fills the market at a loss, and can't sell the things for the same price when they are cheaper to make, they are royally fucked.

I thought that last Gen only Nintendo sold at a loss... either way, selling your console at a loss is perfectly okay, really if they are trying to make money off their consoles they are doing it wrong. Like Yoshida said, consoles are a long term investment (well 5-10 years) you don't make your money off them, you make your money off the royalties from games, and subscriptions (XBLive, PSN).

ron1n:

Demagogue:
It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times. What I got out of this: "Oh wow, we're selling a TON of consoles... how do we make sure these people stay customers"

If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

I'd say this is somewhat a testament to Japanese culture vs American culture.

The idea of American exceptional-ism is quite different to the rest of the world. Japan especially so.

Oh definitely that is a factor for it, it always has been. It just still amazes me that it happens, because it is so rare in the west.

That stuff isnt as prevalent anymore, even Phil Spencer already congratulated on the competition doing fine and shit.

The days of "Genesis does what Nintendon't!" are gone, at least for a while.

Well, thanks to both the PS4 and Xbone being made with mid-range PC parts, I'd bet the US Military and independent research groups aren't buying them to make cheap supercomputer clusters like what happened with the PS3. And blu ray players no longer cost more than a PS3. So those points rule out where they are getting at least a few hundred thousand PS4 sales.

Maybe it's because (like what others have said) the Wii U is for playing first party Nintendo titles (which has become a niche, albeit large, market) and maybe the one or two third party titles it gets a month, and the xbone is still trying to climb out of the 3000 mile deep hole it dug itself into (I think it's finally past the mantle-crust boundary, so MS execs can probably stop sweating when teh Halos come out.)

But where are they getting these numbers? Some have never owned a PS3/used PSN and some have never owned a console? OK, they came from the 360 or Wii or many probably always used a relative's console. This is why I take survey results with a spoonful of salt. The good news is people bought your doodad to play games(not watch tv). At $400 and with the fact I can't even find a new TV over 36" without "smart" features built in, I doubt even 100,000 of those sales was from people who wanted a new media streaming box. You got 10 million+ users that will buy games.

ron1n:

Demagogue:
It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times. What I got out of this: "Oh wow, we're selling a TON of consoles... how do we make sure these people stay customers"

If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

I'd say this is somewhat a testament to Japanese culture vs American culture.

The idea of American exceptional-ism is quite different to the rest of the world. Japan especially so.

Generalize much?

How quickly people forget how arrogant Sony was at the beginning of last gen, claiming that people would be willing to work two jobs to buy the PS3.

Quite frankly, I am numb to this kind of shit. Tomorrow they could announce always online DRM console wide.

Demagogue:
If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

That already happened. The entire Xbone reveal was Microsoft taunting pretty much everyone, consumers included. They were so delusional, they thought they could get away with anything.

Yoshida my man, just keep on doing what you are doing right now; Seeing what Microsoft does, then do the complete opposite.

I'm kind of surprised by the sales too.
It sounds like they're having the same problem the Wii had: sold a bunch of consoles but nobody bought games for the thing.

lacktheknack:

CriticalMiss:
It wouldn't surprise me if this was some kind of ridiculous Microsoft tactic.

Step 1: Buy all of the PS4s
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit

Heh. I'm reminded of the time that the Catholic Church purchased all of William Tyndale's English Bibles and burned them all... giving Tyndale enough money to print even more than there were before.

OT: That's a really interesting question. How DO you figure out what people are doing with your product?

...and if they find out that they're mostly being put in shrines, what does this mean in terms of future features?

Or how about the right wing morons protesting France by buying French wine and pouring it into the gutter.

I'm actually amusing myself by imagining what ??? =s in step 2. Getting their pubic hair streaked? Playing soccer at the bottom of a pool? Getting sat on by an incredibly large bottomed woman? Prank calling EA's CEO and asking them if their servers are running? Circle jerk?

Demagogue:

I thought that last Gen only Nintendo sold at a loss... either way, selling your console at a loss is perfectly okay, really if they are trying to make money off their consoles they are doing it wrong. Like Yoshida said, consoles are a long term investment (well 5-10 years) you don't make your money off them, you make your money off the royalties from games, and subscriptions (XBLive, PSN).

Last Generation, Nintendo was the only one to sell at a Profit out of the Gate (Since the Wii was pretty much 2 Gamecubes with Motion Controls). The PS3 never really sold for a profit, and it (Along with the PSP) helped cause Sony's modern Financial Problems (As well as Sony's general Incompetence in other Areas). The XBox 360 sold at a profit about 2-3 years after release, but it didn't make enough profit to finance the Money Drain that was the XBox, which never made profit in it's life.

OT: Nice Interview, but I too wonder why the PS4 is selling when there is literally nothing (Interesting) for the Console...

Maybe its people that moved away from Nintendo and Microsoft land?

I might be overthinking now, but it seems a lot of people that only had a 360 during last generation are actively staying away from XB1 on this one...

LazyAza:
Sony HQ:

CEO: "Guys we're making all this money, how did we do it!?!?!"
Random Shlub: "Uh I think cause we made it like, good? and customer friendly? and nicely priced?"
CEO: "Hmmmm, that sounds like crazy talk to me"

*meanwhile at microsoft*

CEO: "So how's phase 5 coming along? you know the one where we start actively stealing money from people with XboxOnes?"
Random Minion: "Uh We're still finishing up phase 4 sir, operation kick everyone in the nuts, we haven't figured out how to kick girls in the nuts yet but we'll come up with something!"
CEO: "Excellent" *maniacal 80s villain laughter* *lightning strikes and thunder as camera zooms out from evil lair*

And so concludes my explanation.

The bit about a good product and nicely priced isn't true of every country, here in Canada they upped the price tag to 450 per console(with no special editions.) and the games come just shy of 100$ with taxes. That's ludicrous. I refuse to pay that much extra when I literally live on the god damned border. To make matters worse, you don't see Microshill doing the same thing. Know why? Because they're not on top right now, that's the only reason Sony thinks it can get away with this kind of bullshit. I honestly hope they all crash and burn, it's about time they stop thinking they can do as they please and send bullshit declarations from on high and we'll just accept them without pause or reasoning.

gigastar:
Is it possible to have an obligatory sales comparison whenever console sales are brought up?

Its no secret that the PS4 is doing better right now, but its always irking me that nobody seems to know by how much.

PS4 has sold about twice as many units as the xbone
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/it-sounds-like-xbox-one-sales-have-reached-at-leas/1100-6421798/

Nintendo tends to holds its sales figures back, so they are the unknown currently.

Demagogue:
I thought that last Gen only Nintendo sold at a loss... either way, selling your console at a loss is perfectly okay, really if they are trying to make money off their consoles they are doing it wrong. Like Yoshida said, consoles are a long term investment (well 5-10 years) you don't make your money off them, you make your money off the royalties from games, and subscriptions (XBLive, PSN).

At the time of release, the Xbox 360 and PS3 were both selling at a loss. The Wii's the only one that actually sold at a profit, which is why its sale numbers were such a big deal for Nintendo.

By about 2010 though, the hardware had become cheap enough that all three consoles were selling at a profit.

Mr.Mattress:

Last Generation, Nintendo was the only one to sell at a Profit out of the Gate (Since the Wii was pretty much 2 Gamecubes with Motion Controls). The PS3 never really sold for a profit, and it (Along with the PSP) helped cause Sony's modern Financial Problems (As well as Sony's general Incompetence in other Areas). The XBox 360 sold at a profit about 2-3 years after release, but it didn't make enough profit to finance the Money Drain that was the XBox, which never made profit in it's life.

OT: Nice Interview, but I too wonder why the PS4 is selling when there is literally nothing (Interesting) for the Console...

Agayek:

At the time of release, the Xbox 360 and PS3 were both selling at a loss. The Wii's the only one that actually sold at a profit, which is why its sale numbers were such a big deal for Nintendo.

By about 2010 though, the hardware had become cheap enough that all three consoles were selling at a profit.

My bad, I remembered there being some big difference between the three last console, apparently I remembered the wrong way. Thanks for clearing that up.

Hairless Mammoth:
Well, thanks to both the PS4 and Xbone being made with mid-range PC parts, I'd bet the US Military and independent research groups aren't buying them to make cheap supercomputer clusters like what happened with the PS3.

Er, actually, the US Air Force bought PS3s because they were ideal for the task at hand. (And also cheap.) They were intended to be used online so they were easy to fit up into clusters, they had Cell processors for crunching large amounts of spatial data, and they could (at the time) be loaded up with Linux instead of Sony's gaming-oriented OS.

Yes, both the PS4 and XBox One are essentially PCs; but if you wanted modern hardware to do what the USAF did with PS3s, most of your processing wouldn't be in the CPUs of the computers involved but in the graphics cards. I am fairly sure that the price/performance curve of GPUs has already left both the PS4's and XBox One's GPUs behind, and that will only get more apparent.

Yes, it is surprising that the PS4 is doing so good. Even though it is the better product, I don't understand why so many people found the need to get one so early when almost EVERYTHING worth playing on it is available on the last gen as well...
I love my PS3, and I own every system and portable by Sony, from PS2 onwards, and I still see no value in getting a PS4 yet.
There is nothing worthwile. Nothing unique. No system seller.
And I am busy with the huge last gen backlog, and I'm having a lot of fun with my Wii U.

That said, to me it is even MORE surprising (and depressing) that Xbone managed 5 million. Why would someons purchase a system by Microsoft after they have shown their intentions of implementing draconian anti-consumer policies. No, backpedalling isn't good enough. "We failed, so we changed our minds" doesn't make it alright. And it was more expensive!
Xbone should not have had sold ONE SINGLE UNIT. The consumer should have vocally refused it.

I know that there is people with more money than common sense, but please... Vote with your wallet, guys.

Demagogue:
It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times.

It might be worth remembering that Nintendo were anything but humble five years ago at the height of the Wii's sales, trying to bury everyone in shovelware and essentially abandoning the core market that had propped their home consoles up for a decade. Whilst Sony attempted to dictate to the market in 2006 and charge what it felt like whislt providing developers with an extremely sub standard set of development tool.

Sony might well be humble over their successes now, but that's because they were delivered an massive kick in the teeth in the past, which they appear to have learned from.

If only Microsoft could be similarly contrite after the RRoD, although the Xbone's launch year seems to be convincing them that Sony's approach is more profitable.

BigTuk:

Demagogue:
It still amazes me that Sony & Nintendo can be so humble at times. What I got out of this: "Oh wow, we're selling a TON of consoles... how do we make sure these people stay customers"

If this was XBox with these numbers the article would have been more akin to "Woo! We're #1! Suck it Sony!!"

There's reason. You have to consider what you call 'a sale'.

See retailers like Walmart, Gamestop, etc buy hundreds of consoles from Sony (per store). These are sales. Now the question is...how many of these sales are translating into consumer purchases? If the retailers are buying but not selling, that's a different picture.

The Sony European CEO made a point to state that the sales numbers were to consumers, not to stores in this article.
http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/12/ps4-worldwide-sales-hit-10-million-xbox-one-on-5-million-4830599/
Your second point is a re-tread as to why Yoshida is worried and why he wants to know exactly is buying PS4's.

My brother is one of those. The only person I know to have a new/current gen console and he isn't a gamer. He bought it for a blu-ray player which may one day play one or two games, probably FIFA ones. I bought him the only game he has for it (Tomb Raider) and then, only because I got it for 8 and figured he might enjoy it one day.

I'm a core gamer, and I don't own a current gen console. But that just means I'm of no interest to Sony (which is fair enough).

BigTuk:

There's reason. You have to consider what you call 'a sale'.

See retailers like Walmart, Gamestop, etc buy hundreds of consoles from Sony (per store). These are sales. Now the question is...how many of these sales are translating into consumer purchases? If the retailers are buying but not selling, that's a different picture.

Actually that is shipped, not sold. When it comes to this stuff shipped and sold have some fairly non flexible definitions. old means from store to consumers, shipped means from company to store.

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