Sony Takes a Beating in May 2015. And How to Fix It

Both PS4 and Xbox One have been on the market for about a year and a half.  However, both Sony and Microsoft got the ball rolling by first promoting their systems in the first half of 2013 (about two years ago).

In that time span, Sony’s PS4 has been on cruise control.  A combination of poor MS marketing, a more expensive Xbox One $500 bundle, and fewer countries having Xbox Ones.  Coupled with PS4’s slightly better multiplatform games and its marketing position of “a gamer’s system” have all combined to give PS4 a sizable lead.  At last count in the ballpark of 7 or 8 million consoles.  The guesstimate across the internet is PS4 in the low 20 million units sold, while Xbox One is around 13-14 million.  Give or take a million for each.

As time passes, PS4 is starting to show its true colours.  And it’s not a good thing.

Xbox One Beats PS4 in April 2015 NPD

In early May, the April 2015 NPD report came out.  While exact data has to be reverse engineered due to NPD not releasing data anymore, Xbox One actually sold more.  In a battle of PR statements, Microsoft stated:

“As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month,” Xbox marketing boss Mike Nichols said. “Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014 and Xbox Live comparisons showed the number of active global users [Xbox One and Xbox 360] grew 24 percent. We are grateful to our fans for their passion and support and are looking forward to sharing more on the best game lineup in Xbox history at E3.”

How to fix it

You can’t fix the past, but you can fix the future.  Microsoft systems have been selling quite well despite no key exclusive games so far in 2015.  What they have relied on is improving internet PR which is upcoming games and system features, and bundle promos going for about $350, which includes a system and game.  The $350 Halo: MCC bundle is their latest offering.

Sony can easily top this.

However, they’ve stood firm on $400 with games bundled in.  Regardless of which games are included, that’s still $50 more than Xbox One.  People see price first.  And some people base their purchase on price no matter what.  Some people will do math and factor in the costs of the games and trading them in to get a more accurate “net cost” basis, but some don’t.

Sony doesn’t seem to be promoting key exclusive games yet either.  While Microsoft plugs Rise of Tomb Raider, Halo 5 and monthly OS updates, Sony is more concerned with humming along so far in 2015.  Although E3 can change that, and we don’t know what Sony has up their sleeve.  Sony has to start marketing games and system features more and get back to the PS3 days where their unique games overshadowed endless Forza, Gears and Halo games.

Or they can simply match Xbox One’s $350 and blow it away.

The Shift to Third Party Games and Ancillary Revenue Streams

Sony held an Investors Relation Day 2015, which covered various divisions.  Gaming and entertainment included of course.  To recap a a previous article that covered the gaming slides in more detail (link here), the summary of the slides is that Playstation gaming will focus on third party games, VR, PS Vue, PS Now, various third party apps and trying to maximize PS Plus subscriptions.  There was literally one line about first party games.  PS Vita was mentioned solely on the basis of “writing off expenses”.

Add up all the slides and as Sony stated, a key goal is increasing ARPPU.  That means increasing the Average Revenue Per Paying User.

Here’s a few slides to give you an idea.  But the full PDF is here.

Sony PS IR Slide 11Sony PS IR Slide 9

Andrew House during the Investors Relations Day chimed in:

Sony’s PlayStation President, Andrew House, has acknowledged the PS4 first-party lineup of games is looking “a little sparse this year.”

When you have professional slides presented to the industry and an exec supporting the slides saying first party games are thin, it’s not looking good.

How to Fix It

This is a tricky one because if sales is the ultimate goal, and Sony’s stance is maximizing that with various apps and services that are not really gaming related, my suggestion may not be sales related, but more gaming related.

What I mean is if Sony wants more gamers focused on gaming, and they want keep up the “4theplayers” mantra, then release more awesome first party games!  Knack, KZ: SF, 1886, MLB, and Infamous aren’t exactly hot picks.  TLoU Remastered is a PS3 rehash and the best game Bloodborne is actually a partnership game with From Software.  Sony still has tons of internal studios, so where’s all the games?

2015 seems like it will have a dry second half, so the next big game is Uncharted 4 coming in 2016.  Even Planetside 2 (which was plugged in 2013) still isn’t out yet.

Another facet they can focus on is more cool features for PS4’s OS.  Where?  When?  Microsoft has monthly updates.  It doesn’t seem hard for them to do them, so why can’t Sony?

Sony Vita is on Life Support

Coming from the same investors meeting:

Speaking at Sony’s 2015 Investor Relations Day, Sony Computer Entertainment’s President and Global CEO, Andrew House, called the PlayStation Vita a “legacy platform”. Furthermore, Sony’s handheld is not part of the company’s strategy for fiscal year 2015.

This should come as no surprise given Vita’s market performance over the last three years. While Andrew House did indeed acknowledge Japan and Asia as regions where Vita maintains a “strong and vibrant” presence, it hasn’t done anywhere near as well elsewhere. His presentation was also aimed at investors whose expectations must be managed accordingly given Sony Computer Entertainment’s strategy going forward.

How to Fix It

Don’t.  Despite what some Sony fans claim, Vita games are drying up and the quality of ports can be lousy anyway.  Put it this way, even Call of Duty for Vita (a series that seems to get good reviews no matter what), got crushed in reviews.  Dev teams seem to be putting their B or C-team in making Vita games.  Or outsourcing them to no-name companies.  So what you get is B or C quality.

For sake of propping up PS4 games, all internal and third party companies should just finish off whatever in-progress games they have ready to release on Vita and then move on to PS4 or other platforms.  If a dev still wants to make games on the go, make them for smartphones, tablets or 3DS.

Sony has claimed Vita as a “legacy platform”, and the only mention of Vita in their PDF slides has to do with “write-off costs”.  So if Sony doesn’t believe in it, you shouldn’t either.

PS4 Ultra Street Fighter 4 is Awful

Despite what you may think, the PS4 version of USF4 was handled by Sony.  Sony and Capcom worked together in licensing, but Sony contracted out development to a small studio called Other Ocean Interactive.  They are a tiny dev used to making budget games including software like #IDARB.

Seems reasonable if arcade ports of Knights of the Round or Final Fight were headed to PS4, but it’s USF4 we’re talking about.  A fighting game.  A genre which needs precise controls.  A gaming community that demands perfection.  A well known franchise that can easily be nitpicked for shoddy quality.

And the game is terrible.  Poor responsiveness, buggy visuals and sound, quirky moves and timing, you name it.

And some reason Sony picked Other Ocean Interactive.  There is only one reason I see:  Sony gambled by choosing a low cost dev in hopes to maximize profit.  Sony rolled snake eyes.

The EVO 2015 tournament ditched the PS4 game (which was originally planned as the version to use), yet the PS4 game is so buggy they actually decided to resort to the 360 game.  Sony and Capcom partnered for SF5, so PS4 USF4 was chosen.  Full credit to EVO for picking a better version despite marketing programs.

How to Fix It

Simple.  If Capcom wants to outsource it, and Sony lands the deal, make sure to pick a suitable dev to make the game.  Or heck, Sony you landed it, so you can also make it yourself.  Some games you can get away with hiring amateurs.  Beefier games need more established devs to handle it.

You have a wedding to go to.  You can go to a dollar store and find a $2 tie.  You can go to a department store and buy one for $50.  You can also go to Walmart and find one for $20.  I think we all know which store Sony went to.

 

  • dark-kyon
    • KeeseToast

      Just ignore them. True Vita fans know how awesome this system is.

      • Poor PS Poor people

        Yeah, DEAD!

  • D_Smith

    “Sony takes a beating”, but the article has no stats on income/revenue. Convenient to omit since including it would render the whole argument the article makes incorrect. Playstation has been very profitable in the last year and has actually been Sony’s best performing unit. On top of that, the units sold vs units sold month to month is also pretty meaningless, because PS4 is selling well enough and has sold well enough that they don’t have to do deep discounts to push/dump units like MSFT has done with Xbone recently. An XBONE with combining discounts in the last couple of months could be had for under $200 new pretty easily, compared for ~$350 for PS4. Refurb Xbones can be had for just over $200 anytime. So it’s kind of apples to oranges to compare straight units sold, and without putting those numbers in context is fairly misleading. In the end the article is just clickbait to state some minor complaints about PS4, some of which are valid, but none that support the assertion of PS4 taking a beating.

  • J.j. Barrington

    You’re gonna have to do a lot better than this nonsense.

    Then again, since crap like this will get you clicks…

  • Guest

    This sounds like it was written by a MS fanboy.

  • MS

    To me it just sounds like some MS fanboy pretending to be fair but all his beliefs/the way he sees it, are those of the MS fanboys.

    • Michael

      Or maybe its the truth.

      • J.j. Barrington

        Oh, stop.

  • Guest

    Let’s ignore the fact that ps4 is still outselling the xbone 2-1 worldwide and april npd xbone only won by a measly 15k lead.

  • dogmanx23

    Last time I checked… Sony is up 10M units. They don’t need to fix anything.

    • drjonesjnr

      Well said

    • Spectre_Status

      Exactly, Sony announced 23 million a month ago, the fact that who ever wrote this can’t even get that right makes the rest of this garbage invalid

      • I_eat_culo

        Microsoft has only announced shipped numbers not sold to consumer, no telling what the numbers are for them. One things for sure the PS4 almost doubles it in software sales. Outside of Shooters and Sport games the xbox software sales have been poor.

      • Poor PS Poor people

        Keep waiting. $0N¥ PauperStation Poor!

    • awesome_farts

      Except for their USF4.

      • J.j. Barrington

        Should probably be talking to Capcom about that.

        • awesome_farts

          Would they even listen?

        • J.j. Barrington

          Probably not.

    • Ricoh123

      Justin Beiber sells millions too.

      There is plenty that needs fixing with him. Just like the ps4.

      • Kfal Balli

        Truth

    • Michael

      But don’t have a dime to show for it.

    • Tim Dog

      last time i checked they have sparse holiday lineup and got destroyed last year during the holiday. You as the gamer are screwed over with this type of attitude, #NeverSettle said you are getting destroyed at e3 too, ill be there in person? why ? cause i talk about making xbox better and push it foward, whereas a guy like you says its ok for #sparse. Good job you are truly blind to what matters to you as a consumer

      • Revolver Ocelot

        Dim Doggermania spends all his time begging for news on Twitter while he waits for October. It is the Xbone that has the dead lineup, friend. 🙂

        The Xbone gets destroyed worldwide all the time. You’ll be able to vent your disappointment aboutt that and another weak MS E3 personally to Uncle Phil. Oh, who am I kidding? You’ll be kissing his ass like the sad middle aged fanboy you are. 🙂

      • Revolver Ocelot

        I’d like to ask you Xbox scum why it’s OK for MS to ignore you for nine months of the year and only give you games at Christmas. So you still need Mommy to buy yours? Sad. Keep waiting for games on the Sparsebox Done.

      • Poor PS Poor people

        $0N¥ = lies, overhype and underdeliver.

      • J.j. Barrington

        Last time I checked, people bought games all year. Last time I checked, the XB1 has had zero exclusives this year, while the PS4 has had three.

        • Might need to reexamine this year’s releases then.

          Fable Legends – July/August
          Forza Motorsport 6 – September
          Halo 5: Guardians – October
          Rise of the Tomb Raider – November

          And this is assuming that NOTHING new gets announced at E3 and/or Gamescom… You know, the largest gaming industry event (by population), and the one that Sony is skipping this year.

          This is also assuming that, Crackdown/Scalebound/Rare IP/etc. are coming this year. And that’s also forgetting that Quantum Break is releasing Q1 2016.

        • J.j. Barrington

          Can you not read? Which of those games is out so far this year?

      • dogmanx23

        They got killed over the holidays and are STILL UP 10M UNITS… Good for M$ winning the holidays. Sony is winning everywhere else.

    • Triton

      Good sales numbers doesnt magically give the platform games out of nowhere.
      Investing comes always first, but Sony has invested in budget games.
      And that is a bad investment if your fanbase are bragging fanboys.

      • Poor PS Poor people

        $0N¥ paupers are poorons anyway.

  • Jose David Yacaman

    sony 22 million plus, xbox 11 million to 12 maybe.

  • drjonesjnr

    What a sad article everyone knows Microsoft is clinging on to relevancy lol

  • Bryan King

    14 million ? In what Microsoft fanboy fantasy world are you living in? Maybe if they are still able to stuff the supply chain but sold through is gonna be within 10 to 12 million…. That’s being generous. Feel disgusted after reading this article…. Effing Microsoft fanboys are sweaty little pencil neck idiots…. Good luck with silent hills by the way! Yeah, like that would ever happen. The more desperate they are the faster they resort to lies and misinformation.

  • dead fanboy

    PS4 is utter garabage so far…it depends have good exclusives. I think it’s the worst gaming console in the history of the industry.

    • RAMB0 ALLSTAR

      As a Xbox One only gamer this cracks me up. While the big name exclusives from Sony have been thin i can honestly say the exclusives they have are outselling Xbox One’s. Driveclub for example has sold better than even the highly touted Forza Horizon 2.

      • Ricoh123

        Nobody knows FYI.

        Digital sales information has never been released.

        All we know are estimates based on physical retail copies.

      • Michael

        That usually happens when gamers are starved for content. Xb1 has more and their exclusives turned out better.

        • J.j. Barrington

          Except they have like one more game, MAYBE.

        • J.j. Barrington

          If only that were the case. Tell me, though: which Xbox exclusives could you possibly be playing right now?

    • jznlv

      Its early and both systems have room for more games, but there are a lot of games on PS4 . Many of them may not be popular , but that doesn’t mean they do not exist. And your sales argument is funny, you may want to recheck your information. But in the end games is all that matters , but current sales do help create future games.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Except most PS4 exclusives of note are outselling most Xbox exclusives of note. Not too sure on how well Wii U games are selling, but possibly not as well, given the much smaller install base.

      • Ricoh123

        Console to game ratio, the xb1 is killing the ps4 FYI.

        • J.j. Barrington

          What source gave you that info? Your rear end?

      • Michael

        that’s not exactly true.ps4 is short on exclusives. They have had a weak lineup since launch. Their exclusives should be selling more (because they have lese available) than xb1 but they’re not. Bloodborne is really the only exclusives that got decent scores. Yea its the highest right now but xb1 games have better average scores.

        • J.j. Barrington

          So, in the middle of that weak argument, you switch from sales to scores.

          Guess what?

          PS4 wins in both categories. Try again.

        • Michael

          Weak argument like Sony’s credit rating…lol

        • J.j. Barrington

          Hilarious…

      • Poor PS Poor people

        Because so many low IQ retards fell for the PauperStation hype.

        • J.j. Barrington

          Why pretend to be a hater when you’re actually a fan?

  • jznlv

    Sure Sony isn’t perfect, but they have sold well this generation for several reasons, but the main reason is history. Ps1 Ps2 and Ps3 all had great games . Ps3 launched poorly but they quickly got back on track.(I thought it was a steal because blu ray players were 1000$ ) This time around with the same release window and similar hardware , people chose Sony because of that history , imo. People know what they will get during the generation. I loved my 360, for the first few years, but then they fell off and had little diversity and almost no supprt towards the end of the generation. I will get an Xb1 someday towards the end of the generation when I can buy all the games I want at a lower price, but in the mean time PS4/3 Vita amd WiiU DS is more than I can play already and Xbox is the last in line for me and many . Its not a bad console , it just isnt as diverse as others imo. I know this isn’t everybody’s take on it, but the majority have feel some of these aspects and that is why PS4 is doing so well. For all the mistakes Sony has made Xbox has as well. It comes down to the games and how they are released through the generation and the diversity of games you can expect through it. It is still early and Xbox can make better decisions than last gen, but they have to prove it first instead of me taking their word. Sorry for the book I usually dont write them.

    • Poor PS Poor people

      They sold because of lies and overhype and low IQ poorons falling for it over and over again. $0N¥ = #4thepaupers.

      • J.j. Barrington

        Sad, sad little peon.

      • Revolver Ocelot

        Get a life, Lionheart.

        • Poor PS Poor people

          GFY Pauperboy!

        • Revolver Ocelot

          Cry more, Lionheart.

  • Sylmaron

    I think this is what they call clickbait.

  • Castian Blake

    Baddly done article, clearly this guy is an xbot, he talks abour consoles he does not own or played.
    Skipping from now on.

  • Ricoh123

    SF4 was the latest in a long line of train wrecks for Sony.

    The PS4 is only selling more because of misinformation that it can do 1080p!@ 60fps, which it can’t.

    The real games are on XB1.

    E3 is a beast for XB1 gamers.

    PS4 is extremely bleak and sparse for upcoming exclusives.

    • J.j. Barrington

      I promise we’ll get you some help, man. Just hold on a little bit longer.

      • Ricoh123

        It’s fine. I’m more than capable of independent thought.

        Don’t need help from the sheep that bleet lies.

        PS4 doesn’t do 1080p @ 60 fps. Simple as that.

        • J.j. Barrington

          If that was the best response you could come up with while thinking independently, maybe you should consider being a sheep. Seems like that’d be a step up in the mental faculty category for you.

    • Revolver Ocelot

      Your games are crap and your E3 will be weak.

  • KeeseToast

    So TLOU Remastered is just a PS3 rehash but the USF4 port should have been made by a high-class dev, logic in this article=non-existent.

  • Manoj Varughese

    “As time passes, PS4 is starting to show its true colours. And it’s not a good thing.”

    Mine is black and it’s a good thing. Period. Fix this article instead.

  • Michael

    Slowly but surely people are seeing that ps4 has nothing over xboxone. They have a weak 1st party lineup. They have already admitted to it. Their console isn’t outperforming Xbox one’s performance. Just look at the witcher 3 and other games already released. If your console is 50% more powerful it shouldn’t have games with framrates that’s lower than Xbox one. They continue to fall on their own sword by caring more about resolution while games run like crap. Street fighter and now the witcher.

    • Poor PS Poor people

      $0N¥ = lies, overhype and underdeliver.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Which games on XB1 are better than the same game on PS4?

  • Kfal Balli

    They could release games that makes the system worth owning. The is the most disappointing sony console thus far. They can spout sales figures for days with no games it will just end up as another Wii. Xbox has been doing great since spencer took charge. There are a lot of great exclusives. Halo/titanfall still better than any ps4 fps exclusive, forza horizon 2 is better than driveclub and so on. Bloodborne is great but too little too late. The witcher killed it’s buzz. Sunset overdrive, Ori and The Blind Forest are amazing games. Sony needs to put out some new games it’s simple as that. Tomb Raider, Quantum Break and so much more coming from microsoft. Microsoft CEO supports the one 100% with phil there the brand is only going to get stronger. But I guess fanboys expect one console to dominate. So with that scenario games would definitely be 70-80 bucks a pop on top of a 600 dollar console and stagnation with innovation (see Madden)

    Competition made for better games, better controllers, better online ecosystems and so on. But as of now I’m disappointed with Sony this gen, just as I was disappointed with microsoft from the xbox one unveiling up to when Phil spencer took charge and turned it around and now everything has been looking up. It looks like Sony got cocky again too early and the generation is just beginning. We see what happened when they did that with the Ps3 and microsoft did it initially with the one. Takes a couple years to turn things around.

    • Revolver Ocelot

      You games are mediocre, your line up is dry and Phil is a suit doing what Satya tells Tim, which is to wind up the Xbox brand. It’s over.

      • Kfal Balli

        Sure kid

      • Kfal Balli

        Sure kid

        • Poor PS Poor people

          He’s a low IQ $0N¥ pauper. Just laugh at his retardedness.

  • Tha Truth

    It’s really no surprise that the PS4 is outselling the Xbox DONE worldwide by a ratio of 2 – 1. The Xbone has been trash from day one. It has terrible, sub – HD resoltuons, inferior versions of multi – platform games, terrible shovelware trash for exclusives that reek of low – quality and desperation and which flop on Metacritic like the non – gaming garbage they are.

    The only people who are settling for the Xbone are delusional, braindamaged peasants who can’t afford any better. Everybody with an education and a sense of self – respect has bought a PS4 and sales prove that.

    The uneducated, illiterate, brand – humping Microsoft peasants can cry about “Powah Of Teh Cloudz” all they want but it won’t make a difference to their weak, pathetic, underpowered, poverty – stricken console, The same way that overhyped shovelware trash like Halo and Forza aren’t going to bridge the sales gap either.

  • Revolver Ocelot

    Xbox rats will have to do better before thinking 187,000 Xbones sold the month after the PS4 sold 500,000 means the latter needs fixing.