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Could Sony revealing PS4 earlier than Xbox mean increased sales?

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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.

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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.

Michael Urban
Now an occasional contributer, Michael Urban is the former Editor-in-Chief at OnlySP and has the nickname "Breadcrab" for reasons his therapist still doesn't understand. From the moment he first got hacked in Runescape, he's been uninterested in multiplayer games and has pursued the beauty of the single-player experience, especially in terms of story and creative design. His hobbies include reading, writing, singing in the shower, pretending to be productive, and providing info and feedback regarding the games industry. It is an industry, right? You can ask him a question or send him spam at michaelurban@www.onlysp.com. Also, follow him on Twitter or the terrorists win. (@MichaelUrban1)

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9 Comments

  1. PS4 will end all wars.

  2. I wouldn’t say PS3 will end up third this generation.
    The world isn’t just the US …

    1. What is this rest of the world you speak of? It’s common knowledge that America is the only country in existence!

      On a serious note, you have a point. That and this generation still isn’t over.

  3. Gaming is such a fickle thing. Like any other consumer product, I suppose. By all logic, the Dreamcast should have trounced the PS2. It released earlier, had better pricing, and there was really no contest in games on the DC and games from the PS2’s first year. I think the thing that hurt Sony the most this gen, besides the insane pricing, was the dishonesty. They promised the ‘be all, end all’, and didn’t deliver, initially. A lot of my friends didn’t like that those early target renders of ’05 weren’t even close to the actual gameplay that was shown on the PS3 later in ’06. Plus, Microsoft struck while the iron was hot at the birth of competitive console online gaming. Even creating the achievement system to keep single player gaming competitive in a way. Sony launched with absolutely horrid everything, to even having to log out of a game to answer messages from other players. I remember the XMB overlay didn’t hit until ’08. Sony’s played a lot of catch up over the years, and while not quite where MS is in terms of the overall gaming experience, they are definitely closing in. Personally, I am pulling for the Wii U. If anything because gaming is becoming more and more a big business, where devs are forced to go under the umbrella of big companies to survive, only to have their fate decided by sales and luck, not the quality of their work. A cheaper development alternative may allow some of these companies to stay alive and independent.

  4. PS2 was successful because it had a lot more third party support than any other consoles of its time. PS3 and XBox 360 have been pretty much equal in status because both systems have been getting the same amount of attention from 3rd parties. You forgot to consider the Wii’s success and the fact that it outsold both PS3 and XBox 360 even though it came out way after PS3.

    1. Oh wait, Wii came out after PS3 didn’t it?

      1. Just checked my facts: Wii came out in Sep 2006 while PS3 came out in Nov 2006. Forget that last part I said about the Wii coming out after PS3. LOL

  5. Ps3 has sold more consoles than xbox 360 wourldwide and it angers me that all the american based siltes say the xbox 360 is still leading when its not lgo to wikipedia best game console sales or something along those lines its there 2 million consoles ahead

  6. The reason why the PS3 had a slow start wasn’t because it came third. It was because it cost as much as a Wii and a 360 combined.

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