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Sony Wants Wii's Audience For The PS4
Things are beginning to really heat up in this eighth generation of the console war. There's a lot of unforeseen possibilities that lie ahead and many companies are making moves that some gamers like and others hate. One company who has been rather consistent since their unveil of their technology in late February of 2013 is Sony. In fact, Sony wants to not only maintain the consistency of their dominance but they also want to leverage their position with hardcore gamers by also capturing the 100 million plus audience that Nintendo lost when they released the Wii U.
Nintendo Everything spotted quotes made by Sony's Computer Entertainment president, Andrew House from over on Eurogamer, where House firmly stated that...
“Our big opportunity is to welcome back an audience much earlier in the lifecycle that possibly bought into the Wii previously. Whether it’s based on this is a really good all-round entertainment device for a family in addition to having great games, our consumer data suggests some of those people are already coming in now and that’s what’s contributing to the really great sales we’ve had.”
That's a very interesting way of looking at the situation. Also, I tend to believe that Andrew House has it right.
Before you can get into the casual audience you first must appeal to the hardcore crowd; this was a concept that completely flew over the heads of the executives at Microsoft, which is what led them to the current situation with the Xbox One seemingly faltering on the marketplace.
If you try to go in for the casual audience with a hardcore gaming device you'll be met with crickets and silence. The majority of people out there who casually known about video games aren't going in looking to pay $500 for a device that they only believe is designed for video games. Microsoft hedging on the casuals picking up the Xbox One when Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google's Chromecast offer the same functionality for a significantly cheaper price was such a massive misstep, especially when it came to the specs of the system, which came in far behind the curve in today's market technology compared to where the Xbox 360 entered in its respective timeline in 2005 (in which case, the Xbox 360 was actually ahead of the curve for a few years).
The big difference between Microsoft and Sony in this situation is that Sony can adapt to the home media audience now that they have the hardcore gamer around their finger. Majority of gamers want a capable, future-proof home console. 8GB of GDDR5 shared memory (though technically it's actually around 5GB after taking into consideration the OS overhead) actually guarantees that memory won't be a major problem for the consoles for a long while to come. The biggest bottleneck will probably be with the mid-tier GPU, assuming graphics is an almighty-important thing for gamers.
Nevertheless, Sony came in with a good ideology: capture the cores first. Provide them with lots and lots and lots of games. Make it easy for indies to port their games to the PS4. Make sure you have some room to scale (I'd give it about two years). Make sure the system has the functionality to be turned into a media center (i.e., camera support, built-in microphone and voice commands). From then on, after the core audience is entranced, then it becomes an option to seek out the casual crowd similar to how they did it with the PS2, which is what the PS4 seems to resemble in striking spades.
It's likely that if Sony keeps doing what they're doing and if they can maintain marketing momentum (and with the money they're spending to stay relevant, it's unlikely they'll fade from view anytime soon) they just might be able to pick up Nintendo's leftover casual audience from seventh gen... assuming Nintendo doesn't get them all back with their Amiibo and Super Smash Bros. combination this fall.
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