By now you’ve heard the news that Sony has managed to sell ten million units of its PlayStation 4 console in just under a year of its release, signifying a huge turnaround success for the company since its PlayStation 3 days. However, that goal hasn’t always been easy to attain, especially with oft-delayed projects like DriveClub (which is arriving later this year) and The Last Guardian (which is still delayed) affecting potential for the system.
Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida recently expressed gratitude for the sales, and also explored the idea that it could affect long-term sales.
“The 10m sell through in the first nine months is well beyond what we had hoped for,” said Yoshida, speaking with Eurogamer. “As you know, we have struggled to keep up with demand of PS4 for so many months. It was hard to find and purchase PS4. Now we are able to supply units so in every territory I believe you can find PS4. So we just managed to catch up with demand.”
He continued, “It’s just beyond our imagination. We are so happy. But I for one am a bit nervous because we do not completely understand what’s happening. You need to understand why your products are selling well so you can plan for the future, right It defied the conventional thinking. Lots of people thought the dedicated game hardware might not be needed going forward, but still lots of people are very excited. When you see the new games coming out and being announced this E3 and Gamescom, I think there’s a good enough reason for a gamer to believe this is something worth investing in.”
As far as future sales are concerned, Yoshida said, “As soon as we see a great sales number, our instinct tells us we should be concerned about future sales, right Are we exhausting all the core gamers If we sell this number of units, there are no more consumers we can sell to. That’s a really terrifying prospect. So we want to understand who are these consumers who we do not necessarily consider core gamers, 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, rather than saying, wow, we have sold to every single core gamer. So that’s what we are doing.
“At the same time there are many things we are working on to add new features to the firmware and our network services and game catalogues, so we hope we can continue this momentum and reach a wider audience than we were able to do on PS3,” he continued.
The line-up for the forthcoming PS4 holiday season is impressive, but delays for certain projects, like The Order: 1886, have put some things into question. “I was disappointed as well. And our marketing people were disappointed<” he said.
Still, there’s potential for greatness ahead. He believes that “the purchase decision of consoles is a long-term investment. It’s not like a smartphone where every two years you purchase new hardware. So people hopefully are looking at a bit longer term. The Order, it’s not like it disappeared. It moved from Christmas time to February, so it’s two or three more months. It’s looking great.
“And there are games coming out this Christmas from both third parties and first-party,” he continued. “Destiny is a great product. You can play Destiny on other platforms as well, however, we are talking about the breadth of content from both first-party and third-party. When you extend your view to next year’s titles, Bloodborne we are extremely excited about, and Uncharted 4 is coming out. And we have announced other games like Until Dawn and many digital titles. I was so happy to watch the new trailer for Rime. These days indie titles’ quality is so high. It is very hard to tell which is what. Like Wild. So hopefully people see the holistic view of third-party and first party and hopefully they find games available now good enough to spend their time on PS4 this Christmas.
“Another great surprise is the sell-through of The Last of Us. It just released and is doing extremely well. Because so many people didn’t own PS3, for those people who purchased PS4 this is the first opportunity for them to try The Last of Us, one of the best games of the last generation,” he said.
Finally, Yoshida concluded, “We are taking in all these things happening and understanding what consumers on PS4 are enjoying. It’s very encouraging to see the initial sales of PS4 titles. Not just our games but third party games. I wasn’t expecting the first year from the very beginning, when third-party games released on both cross-generations, PS4 versions some of them outsold the PS3 version, like Watch Dogs. It’s an amazingly quick move from PS3 to PS4.”