Despite a strong few months by Xbox One, and decreased unit sales year-on-year in the region, PlayStation UK boss Warwick Light has confirmed to Games Industry that “PS4 remains Britain’s best-selling console for another year.”
Interviewed for the first time since becoming the head of PlayStation UK, Warwick added, “We comfortably won the Black Friday period, and the Christmas Peak and January. So we’re delighted with our sales. But it has been a fiercely competitive market.” He also heard from UK retailers that PS4 was “the most searched item for Black Friday across all categories.”
When Games Industry suggested that PS4 sales had reached their peak (Sony’s latest financial report shows they’re still rising), Light said, “There’s always been, historically, a natural bell curve occurring. I guess there are three ways we are trying to address that. The first is PS4 Pro, the second is VR, and the third, I guess, is great games.”
Discussing PS4 Pro, he said Sony is pleased with it so far:
Pro was a gutsy move by SIE. It’s iterating on a console mid-lifecycle with a view to giving players a heightened, or enhanced, PlayStation 4 experience. It’s no secret that it is following a mobile phone market model, which worked well there, but it is still risky. It takes a lot of investment to pull that off. I would say we are pretty pleased with the way that has gone, but it is early days. We need the enhancements in the console and the content to gain traction, we need supply to improve and then we can start widening the message out on that to a broader audience.
In the UK, 40% of PS4 Pro buyers were new customers, meaning that 60% of Pro owners upgraded from their standard PS4.
As for PlayStation VR, Light said, “We had a fairly measured launch. We kind of knew that demand would outstrip supply, so we had to be careful ourselves not to over-hype the product.” Once the supply issue is addressed, Sony “will be able to go out with a lot more mainstream messaging on VR.”
Light also thinks “VR has huge potential,” and it’s “plausible in the future that the console becomes the peripheral for VR, rather than the other way around.”
In terms of software, “there’s a whole raft of titles that we are looking forward to in the future,” including Horizon Zero Dawn, Gran Turismo Sport, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Horizon is up first, and Light says to expect a big marketing campaign for it.
Light finished up the interview by saying:
It is going to be another big year for gaming. As I said, we’ve got fantastic momentum. Nintendo is back in the market. Xbox… who knows what they’re up to? Scorpio could be interesting. What we are seeing is a great deal of attention in the category, and that has got to be good for all of us.
Worldwide, PS4 was the #1 selling console from 2014 to 2016.
[Source: Games Industry]