Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House is very confident about the elements that differentiate, according to him, the PS4 from its rival, the Xbox One, as he explained today in an interview on The Guardian.
I’d point to price – which, as we’re still in straitened economic times, is going to be a key consideration for a lot of people. We’re very confident that our architecture, particularly around graphics performance, is really going to make our games sing on PlayStation 4 – even those that are multi-platform. And I think we’ve done a really nice job with the interface, and facilitating the social aspects around gaming, in a way that is seamless and very intuitive for people.
So you can broadcast your own in-game experiences via Twitch, and I think we’re the only platform that has Facebook integration. That’s going to be a key differentiator.
Interestingly enough House also mentioned the use of real names online as a positive factor that might contribute to creating a better community.
One of the things that Mark Cerny and I talked about a lot is how we could change the overall dynamic of what “connected via play” means. I appreciate that sounds rather vague and high-falutin. But does it have to be just around anonymous IDs, highly combative and based on trash-talking? Those are great experiences, and I’m not denying them, but wouldn’t it be great if we could have people connect in different ways, and allow us to broaden the audience as a result? So, having a network that’s based on your real name is really critical.
I was talking about this with the folks at Facebook the other day: it just makes people behave in a different way online, and possibly makes the whole community a bit more welcoming. It makes it easier to find friends and like-minded players. That’s another core example of how we like to differentiate the platform.
Finally, he also talked about the focus of the platforms on games, even if he specified that there’s more to the PS4 than that.
Partly why we’re seeing such good momentum for PlayStation 4 is because people are recognising that it’s a best-in-class games platform. But at the same time, unlike PlayStation 3, it now comes fully baked with a suite of non-games entertainment services. That functions as the secondary reason for purchase. We’ve seen that being very powerful in the past, particularly regarding adoption by families – with PlayStation 2, you got a DVD player, and with PlayStation 3 it was a Blu-ray player.
The primary purchaser will buy it for playing games. But it’s a great convincing mechanic, maybe, for other people in the family. And it gives you an opportunity for multi-usage within the same household.
Those are all solid reasons, but will they be enough to give the PS4 a long lasting edge over its competition? We’ll have to wait and see about that. For the moment Sony’s new console seems to have an advantage in sales, but only time will tell.