I bought a PS4 on Friday. I chose to buy a new console, and a PS4 specifically, for a number of reasons, and I’m not playing it for one really big one. But we’ll get to that.
This PS4 is my first console since my Windwaker Gamecube bundle back, oh, a long time ago. I didn’t buy an Xbox 360 or PS3 because at the time I had a pretty great gaming PC, an interest in upgrading that gaming PC, and none of the games on either console really interested me. So, I’ve been gaming on that PC (and iterations thereof) for a good long time. But now, finally, I decided to pull the trigger on a console.
Why? Because I had the money, and the new consoles seem interesting, and I can do reviews for OnlySP. No real reason, just because I felt like it, really.
Why did I choose the PS4 in particular? I’m still primarily a PC gamer, and Titanfall is on PC as well as Xbox One. I figured that a number of Microsoft exclusives would come to PC as well as Xbox One, so I’d probably get the most value out of the PS4. The Dualshock 4 apparently works well on PC, too, so that’s added value for me. The PS4 lineup doesn’t look as appealing as Xbox One’s, but it’s a little premature to judge a console based on launch lineup. But, the deciding factor was stock. Amazon spontaneously released new PS4 stock that promised to arrive within a week, instead of having to wait until next year to get box, at the right price point for me.
So I’m no Sony fanboy, I have no brand loyalty in this instance (I’ve never owned either an Xbox or a Playstation, in any form), and my choice was made on a whim based on price and availability.
So why am I not playing my Playstation 4 with Killzone bundle right now?
The reason is because I don’t physically have my PS4. I ordered it from Amazon, and shipping is taking between 2-5 work days. I ordered it Friday night, so it should be getting here on Wednesday – or, more likely, Thursday. That’s not my gripe – I expect shipping to take a certain amount of time, and it would be incredibly unrealistic and unfair to expect it to be here already.
No, the reason I don’t have my console now is because the PS4 is not going to be released in Australia until November 29th.
Why? Because reasons.
I watched the Spike TV PS4 launch event, streaming through the internet from halfway across the globe. I saw the excitement of everyone there. I watched the new trailers and reveals and the hype machine in full-flight. I had to – had to get the news up. And I saw that Sony, releasing one week before the Xbox One, snagged the majority of next-gen hype. And I knew, I knew I would have to wait two more weeks until Australia got the PS4.
Well, sort of. There was a PS4 launch event in Sydney – strictly industry invite only. Some big media outlets and Sony partners had a big shindig with PS4s in the city. And they celebrated the “launch” of the PS4, despite knowing, as I knew, that the only place that the PS4 had launched in was America. Australia’s – and Europe’s – official release date for the PS4 remained the 29th.
And I say “official”, because there are one or two caveats. Firstly, some PS4s leaked out early, due to street breaks. This isn’t uncommon for new hardware or games. Secondly, there’s a little thing called globalisation.
This means that someone from, say, Australia, can use a global communication service, say, the internet, to contact an overseas company, say, Amazon, to buy a product, say, a PS4, and use that company’s local release date, say, November 15th, to purchase it when it gets released overseas. Pay the, say, $28.99, for express shipping, and voila – I’ve ordered myself a PS4 that will arrive before it’s officially released in my country.
This begs the question – if Amazon can physically send a console from America to Australia in 2-5 days, why can’t Sony?
Sure, there’s shipping to take into account. Sony has to physically ship all those big heavy boxes all over the world, and that takes time. I understand that. But I also understand that the company who organises the shipping and distribution also sets the entirely arbitrary release date. Why would Sony want to release the console in the US market two whole weeks before the rest of the world? Obviously it’s not to test the consoles, since the release dates are so close together that zero changes can be made based on US userbase feedback. It’s not to bolster revenue from regional currency exchange rates – the PS4 earns more money per unit everywhere in the world compared to the US price, and those who are impatient (like me) will resort to purchasing US consoles for US prices (like me). It’s not to capitalise on the global first adopter excitement, since in non-US countries the PS4 is released one week AFTER the Xbox One. And it’s not to be consumer friendly, because regional release dates are never consumer friendly. To top it all off, Microsoft seems to be capable of pulling off a simultaneous global release no worries, since everywhere in the world is getting the Xbox One on the same date – the 22nd (well, excepting Japan and a handful of European countries).
In an increasingly global economy, a delay in distribution can be devastating – just look at the piracy rates of cable shows that have no legitimate global digital distribution platforms. Australia is the Game of Thrones piracy capital of the world, due to the fact that the first few seasons were unable to be purchased and accessed digitally for a comparable price in a reasonable time.
Obviously, a physical product is different to one distributed digitally, but it doesn’t have to be treated differently when it comes to simultaneous global releases. Sony could have capitalised on the one week jump ahead of the Xbox One and swept the field. Sony could have received even more initial revenue, more market share, and even more future revenue by releasing the PS4 globally on the same date.
Why Sony didn’t do this is a mystery.
I should have been able to walk down to my local store and pick up my PS4 on November 15 (after preordering, of course).
Still, I’m pretty darned excited to get my hands on the fancy black rhombus. Expect lots of next-gen reviews in the very near future.