After Nintendo announced the new Switch console and Xbox One X was officially announced at E32017, many were left wondering how Sony was feeling about the rising threat against the PS4 Pro and future Sony console sales. At least I know I was. Recently Sony had been bragging that the PS4 was selling at least three times as much as the Xbox One in Europe, and that 1 in every 5 PlayStation sold was the Pro console. Are they still feeling that confident that they can hold up their end of the revenue chain?
Gamesindustry caught an interview with Sony's Jim Ross to fish out just how they were feeling about these new threats and if the PlayStation had something to counter them with. The Press Conference and E32017 showed many new titles coming in the future, with a focus on AAA titles rather than any indie games, but there was no mention at the Game Expo what would be done to fight back.
When one looks at Ross' responses, he seems to be quite casual about the matter. For instance, his response to the Nintendo Switch posing a possible challenge:
It's a very interesting question. To the extent that they come in, and the word 'steal' is a bit crude, but they take a more casually-orientated consumer, who might otherwise have been a target for PlayStation 4... obviously, viewed narrowly, that is not to our benefit. But when you look at the whole of the industry ecosystem, having a resurgent Nintendo back, and playing in a meaningful manner - I hear a lot of what they showed at E3 was really good - can only be to the benefit of the industry. And to pretty much everyone in the industry. So we will see. If it means that some of those people, the many millions of people, who got into the Wii start to come back -- in many cases they have been absent for a few years -- if they come back, and they go into a store looking for a Switch, I'll have a crack at selling them a PS4.
So basically, Sony will only worry about it should the Switch actually shift the consumer market. It's not the first time I've heard someone in Sony mention that Nintendo's return to the console market is a good thing though. I look forward to seeing if this stance changes. More importantly, I hope this prompts a return of AAA titles and developers to the PS Vita.
Ross also discussed how the PS4 Pro is drawing in new customers and how Sony would use it to sway potential customers away from other consoles. Will it be enough though? With the Xbox One's new power and the Switch's rising interest, can they hold new customers interested only because of their new content becoming available?
He explains that their main focus at E3 and right now is VR. The more VR they can push, the more they can keep consumers returning again and again. It was one of the sole reasons that no indie games were featured by them.
But what about the Xbox One X? How do they plan to respond to such a monster of a machine?
Talking about competitive plans is never a wise thing to do. Certainly, with 1 in 5 PS4s sold being a Pro, it is clearly going to be a really important part of the holiday season for us. And we anticipate that that proportion will grow. Sometimes when you ship and you're supply constrained, you don't want to talk about it too much because there's nothing to sell. We anticipate we will be in a positive inventory situation this Christmas, and we will look forward to selling a lot of PS4 Pros.
They seem to be holding onto that 1-in-5 stat quite tightly. Yet, if PS4 starts dropping in sales, that ratio will mean nothing at all. So even though Sony has nothing to counter with except strong upcoming games and VR exclusives, they feel pretty confident that they can stand up to the rising tide. I would love to have known what he felt about the new console development in Atari, and look forward to see how the AtariBox will shift the balance in the force.