The Playstation 2 was and is the best-selling home console of all time. Why do you think that is? It certainly didn’t have the best graphics and online play of its generation, so that’s out. Some would say the dualshock controller design and DVD player helped sales, but would that really have been such a huge deciding factor for consumers? Most people say that the PS2 was so successful because it had the best game library. It had a massive amount of first and third party exclusives, not to mention ports of pretty much every other game that generation.
But why was that so? Nothing was stopping all the developers and publishers from packing up and releasing their games on the Xbox or Gamecube if they had to. No, something got the ball rolling for PS2 sales. Something made the PS2 popular in the first place, making everyone focus on developing for it. You want to know what that was?
It came first. It released in 2000, a year before the Gamecube or Xbox.
Consider now the Playstation 3. Sure, it had a high price tag and a strange cell processor that hindered development of games for it, but it also came out a year later than Xbox 360. By the time November 2006 rolled around and the PS3 came out, what were the chances that hardcore gamers didn’t already jump onto the 360? It already built some steam thanks to a decent library of hits, such as Call of Duty 2, Perfect Dark Zero, NFS: Most Wanted and Dead Rising, and it was only growing with each month.
Ultimately, my point is that it’s worth using this theory to speculate on Sony’s choice of teasing the PS4 before the next Xbox.
We already got word a while ago of Sony’s intentions to beat Microsoft in this next-gen race, and today’s release of Sony’s “See the Future” teaser trailer is even more reason to believe that Sony is keeping their promise. A February reveal was teased in the video, which is sooner than the predicted original March reveal for Sony and Microsoft’s consoles. The PS4 is definitely coming, my friends, and Sony is dead set in placing second in the next-gen race rather than third.
People are already rambling about the Wii U’s lackluster game library and not-that-much-of-a-leap visuals, so many have already decided that they’ll wait for the other two juggernaut publishers’ consoles to arrive, and let’s face it; gamers are impatient. They’re already drooling at the mouth for next-gen to arrive and many will gladly pounce on the first console out the door. Even those who decide to buy both consoles will obviously be more attached to the first one they buy. It seems to me like whoever comes first has a huge advantage, and one that should not be taken lightly.
After all, a console’s library is arguably the most important distinction between it and other platforms, and once steam starts to build up for it, it becomes increasingly harder to pull audiences and devs alike away from it.
Ultimately, I’ll leave you all to discuss this. What do you guys think? Is Sony being really smart in trying to beat Microsoft to the punch, or is this whole thing inconsequential and meaningless? Can a console come later and still succeed? How much does a platform’s library really matter? These are all questions we can ask ourselves right now while we’re waiting for both publishers’ consoles to arrive. It’s an uncertain future, to be sure, but history has taught us that certain trends are eternal. The early release of a console factoring into its success may just be one of them.