Everyone has been pleasantly surprised by the PlayStation 4 so far. Developers like the hardware, gamers like the games, retailers are impressed with the hype that’s being built. Sony has done a great job so far. But the PlayStation 4 does face some challenges when it launches this year. We’ve rounded up the top 5 challenges Sony faces this year with the launch of the PlayStation 4. In no particular order, here they are:
Enough PlayStation 4 inventory
During the PlayStation 3 launch back in 2006, there were huge lines of people waiting to get a console around the US. In fact, riots almost broke out and at least one person got stabbed in line for a PS3. The limited availability meant that some lucky buyers were able to fetch over $2000 on eBay for their brand new PS3 consoles. According to a recent report, Sony hopes to ship 16 million PS4 consoles in 2013, which sounds unlikely.
Sony had built a lot of hype for the PS3, but didn’t have enough inventory to support that hype. By all accounts, the PlayStation 4 will be just as popular, especially since it will no doubt launch at a lower price. Sony has to make sure there is enough inventory to meet demand, which is easier said than done.
PlayStation 4 production is rumored to kick off in August, which would give Sony just a few months to build enough consoles to supply a launch in three territories.
On the flip side, having a shortage is usually the best way to create even more hype for a consumer product such as the PlayStation 4. Nintendo tried something similar with the Wii U, which didn’t work out too well. We’ll see how it goes this Fall.
Launch-ready online features
We’ve already reported that not all PlayStation 4 online and cloud features will be available on day one. Certain features such as online multiplayer, trophies, etc. will of course be ready. However, some of the more technically advanced features, such as streaming old PS3 games, might actually launch after the PS4 hits the store shelves this Fall.
Cloud features such as the “Share” option where players can watch their friends play and even take over gameplay sessions will likely be pushed to a later date.
We think Sony will focus on essential features first, such as online multiplayer, social media integration, etc. But the sooner they launch everything, the better.
PlayStation 4 price
The PS3 launched at $500 and $600, which is a lot of money. It was even more money back in the great-world-economy days of 2006. While the PlayStation 4 will likely launch with two SKUs just as the PS3, we expect the price to be significantly lower. According to rumors, Sony is targeting a $400 launch price for the PlayStation 4, which sounds very reasonable. And quite cheap, considering what’s inside the box.
A $500 starting price will be highly unlikely, even if it means that Sony will take a loss on each console sold. They’ll probably do that regardless of the price.
Sony played the tactics game with PS4 launch titles. On the first party front, Sony has Killzone Shadow Fall for the action fans, they have DriveClub for the racing fans, and they have Knack for family gamers. They even have PS4 Eye for the casual crowd. Third party publishers will bring their slew of franchises, such as Assassin’s Creed 4 from Ubisoft, and EA will likely bring their annual sports franchises to the console.
But does the PlayStation 4 have the “killer app” launch title? Many would point at Killzone Shadow Fall, and from what we’ve seen so far, it does seem like a must-have launch title. So does DriveClub, but we’ve barely seen enough of either game.
Another important aspect is the post-launch game lineup. Nintendo made a huge mistake with the Wii U in this department. After a good launch with some decent first party games, there hasn’t been much over the past few months.
Sony needs to make sure there is a steady flow of good games to the system in the first few months after launch. It’s rumored that they’ve slated inFamous: Second Son to launch in this period. Be sure to check out the full list of confirmed PlayStation 4 games.
Microsoft will likely launch their Xbox 720 during the same period, which is makes it even more important for Sony to have a great launch lineup. Nintendo is expected to launch Zelda The Wind Waker HD on the Wii U, which will no doubt get a lot of attention.
But Sony’s major competitor this year will be Microsoft. And so far we know very little about the next Xbox. The rumors suggest that Sony will have the upper hand when it comes to hardware and power, which will win over the hardcore crowd who care about those things. But Microsoft could make the PS4 launch much harder by launching with one of their major IPs, be it Halo or Gears of War, or Forza Motorsport.
One thing is certain: by revealing the PlayStation 4 ahead of the next Xbox, Sony has put themselves in a favorable position.