Consumers are more interested in what’s in stores than what’s on the horizon, says Microsoft.
Sony is getting ready to share some exciting news with the general public on February 20. Speculation runs rampant that Sony will announce its next console, the PlayStation 4, which sounds reasonable, given the recent release of Nintendo’s Wii U and the presumed similar development of Microsoft’s next Xbox. While gamers are eager to hear the news, Microsoft believes that it won’t make much of a difference to most consumers. The general public, it says, is more interested in what’s out right now than what may release before year’s end.
Jonathan Grimes, the senior regional director for Xbox in the UK, warns that there’s still no guarantee that Sony will announce a PS4 later this month. “The reason why I love this industry is because there’s always new things happening,” he says. “But we are also fantastic at creating stories that may or may not happen.” Even if the announcement proves to be huge, Grimes argues, Microsoft’s focus will still be on the here-and-now, which is where most people’s minds – and wallets – are. “Whatever gets announced on February 20, the majority of consumers in the UK won’t know … Our job will be to ensure that the consumers that are going into stores, going online, still see and experience Xbox, rather than get lost in the industry chatter.” The announcement of Sony’s next console will be huge news for people who live and breathe videogames, but for most people, the PS4 will be a distant spot on the horizon, if they read about it at all.
For most people who frequent gaming sites, it’s extremely easy to forget that internet-savvy core games are a niche market. If Sony announces a game-changer on February 20, it won’t filter down to the mainstream right away. By the time the general public has a good idea of the PS4’s existence, relative merits, and release window, a significant amount of time may have passed, and Microsoft aims to make good use of that time.