Week in Review: 4/18/2014 – Sony Sales Figures Put Them On Top
Welcome to the Week in Review, a feature where Dan Oravasaari and Alex Osborn will break down what happened over the last week and discuss what it means to the industry as a whole, and to you the gamer.
Dan: We have been hearing people keep saying that this will be the last generation of consoles, and that the industry will forever be changed in the coming years. Honestly, I do think that we are seeing changes within the games industry, but I don’t think it is the leap away from a console market, but one of a more open ended ecosystem. So, I don’t think there is a question of if we will get a PS5, but when and what will it be like?
We are still seeing gamers holding on to the PS3 generation, and it is difficult to argue with them, as the backlog of amazing titles have been simply impossible to keep up with, making it easier to wait on moving to the PS4. But, I don’t think this is a sign of reaching the last years of needing am advancement in hardware, but more of a changing in how consoles are being conceptualized.
We are seeing SDK kits being produced for the mass market. We are finally seeing a console embrace incredibly small development teams and what all of this means is that, publishers can no longer use money to close off access to the install base. This means that we are seeing a completely new paradigm within the console scene, and depending on how things progress from here, will shape what we see on the next-next-gen piece of hardware.
Alex: I agree. The sheer success of PlayStation 4 is a testament to the fact that the home console market is far from dead. That said, technology is evolving at a steady clip, and there’s a good chance that whatever the next step is for Sony in the gaming space, it will be wildly different than what we have right now. Will it be a streaming box? Will PlayStation Now carry the torch and remove the need for a traditional console altogether? You never know.
I selfishly hope that we do get another round of traditional consoles, as I like having dedicated hardware. That said, if everything is moving to the cloud, there’s a case to be made for simply ripping off the band-aid sooner rather than later. If the home console model becomes a relic of the past, I’ll just have to suck it up and embrace what comes next.
Alex: Despite the fact that PlayStation 4 is selling incredibly well for Sony, the company isn’t doing so hot otherwise. As such, finding any way to maximize profits is proving to be essential, and selling its stake in Square Enix is one way to make that happen.
It’s been crazy to see the strong relationship between the two Japanese companies dissipate over the past several years, as Square-Enix has branched out far beyond its eastern-focused mindset. We’ve not only seen the Final Fantasy franchise go multi-platform, but the publisher has made a major push in the mobile space and shifted its focus on gamers in the west. The Squaresoft of old is no more, and its relationship with Sony has changed as a result. I guess Sony’s decision to sell off its shares is basically solidifying that fact.
Dan: I really couldn’t have said it better, this is really a sign of the times. During the beginning years of the PlayStation, it really was Squaresoft that helped make Sony’s console what it is today. Sadly, now Square-Enix has shifted focus away from exclusive titles to multiplatform, and have been taking on more and more western concepts of development. Something I think has led to Sony dropping all of their equity in Square, as they really are not the company they once were and any sort of partnership between the two has been gone for some time.
Dan: I knew the PS4 had been selling well, and that the fact that it is available in over 72 territories it had to have moved a serious number of units. But, I was not expecting to see the figured that we got this week. During the early months of the PS3 launch, at this period it had only moved a little more than half of the same amount. This is obviously due to price, and the fact that Sony’s competition hasn’t really made it difficult for them to take the point this generation.
Many people have already been spouting about this being the nail in Microsoft’s coffin, and I can’t say these figured don’t show just how poorly they have handled the launch of the Xbox One. But, MS still have moved a decent number of consoles at a fairly high price point, which is exactly the situation that Sony was going into the last generation and we know how much ground they had made up. So, I think these figures are great, and show just how much love the industry has for the decisions Sony have made, but I think we are too far from calling this a one horse race. What do you think Alex?
Alex: I totally agree. Sony’s incredible success doesn’t spell doom for Microsoft at all. Just yesterday it was revealed that 5 million Xbox One consoles have been shipped since launch, which is still an incredible number this early on in the game. It’s doing much better than the Xbox 360 when it first launched, which, in all fairness, also had to do with its limited supply, but is impressive nonetheless. If there’s one thing we can take away from Xbox One and PS4 sales, it’s that the home console market is alive and well.
It will be really interesting to see the way things shake out as we head into the second half of 2014. E3 will no doubt bring with it some major game announcements from both Sony and Microsoft, and it’ll be interesting to see how much longer PlayStation 4’s momentum will continue to put a strain on supply.
Alex: It’s pretty crazy to see PlayStation Vita at the top of the hardware chart in Japan, especially when considering the PlayStation 4 is still so new in the region. You’d think the PS4 would be the hot ticket item right now, but Japanese gamers love gaming on the go, and with the current lack of Japanese-centric titles on Sony’s new home console, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of gamers are still holding onto their PS3s while they wait for Final Fantasy XV.
It’s also important to point out that the sales for the standard and LL models of 3DS were separated, so technically Nintendo’s portable device was the overall best-selling gaming platform. That nuance aside, the uptick in Vita sales is great for Sony and gamers alike.
Gamers in the west also have much to rejoice about, as three of JAPAN Studio’s Vita games will be making the trip across the Pacific to those of us in North America. Soul Sacrifice was a great game, and from what I hear Delta offers a whole lot more awesome to an already amazing experience. On top of that, we’re getting both Freedom Wars and Oreshika, both of which I don’t know a whole lot about beside the fact that they have cool art styles, which, admittedly, is enough to pique my interest.
Dan: Yeah, I don’t think anyone can dismiss the success of the 3DS and the LL (or XL in the US) in Japan, and yes as a whole, the 3DS is still on top. But, seeing the handheld still get some love across the sea, and so many games coming out stateside, could mean that the handheld that could, will get some real time to shine.
Dan: Unlike the normal news we have about people being let go, or simply being apart of a normal development cycle staffing shift, this little bit of news seems to have a bit more drama behind it. Sadly, we really don’t know what is going on, or the situation behind it. So, it would be unwise and unprofessional to say that one party is at fault, or that even this is a situation at all. The fact of the matter is, that no matter what the circumstances of Martin O’Donnell’s departure from Bungie is, I could only imagine how difficult it would be to leave a company that you have been with for 14 years. Thankfully, according to his Linkedin page, he has now started up his own company Martin O’Donnell Music.
Alex, do you think that this will end up hurting Destiny or even its sequels at all?
Alex: Bungie has since confirmed that Marty’s music will be in the game, so I don’t think it will hurt Destiny, at least initially. If there’s enough there, perhaps Bungie plans to roll with what O’Donnell has produced for the entire duration of the franchise. Destiny promises to be an ever-evolving experience lasting a solid decade, so it will be interesting to see whether or not we get sequels in the traditional sense. That said, if Bungie does need to enlist the talent of another composer, I don’t envy the incredibly difficult task that lies ahead for that poor individual. O’Donnell is hands down one of the best in the business.
Final Fantasy: XIV – A Realm Reborn
Alex: I love the Final Fantasy series but I’ve never played the MMO entries. As such, I don’t have a whole lot to say about A Realm Reborn. The fact that it’s already available on PlayStation 3 and PC does steal a bit of thunder away from the PS4 release, but now that Square has had the time to polish and smooth out all of the rough edges, there’s no doubt PlayStation 4 gamers will have a solid experience right off the bat.
What about you, Dan? Do you plan on diving into the world of Eorzea?
Dan: Well I had already played a decent amount of FFXIV:ARR on the PS3 when it first launched, and i still have about 3 months of credits sitting in my account. So, at some point I will revisit the world of Eorzea, but probably not until we see a dry spell or people request it for PSLS Live. I think both Sony and Square-Enix have handled the launch well, as it being a free one-time upgrade from the PS3 to the PS4 was a great idea. As, I would never buy the game again, especially since it has a monthly subscription.
Again, it was one of those weeks with almost nothing to really speak about. Fanboys get to bathe in the PS4 sales figures and wear out their keyboard spelling doom for the Xbox One. The Vita takes the top spot, but only if you discount the splitting of the 3DS models and Sony breaks up with Square-Enix. Thankfully, PS4 gamers finally get to play through a beautiful version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which is something, but sadly, something that has been going on for months already.
Overall Score: 6
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