By Alex Sousa, Managing Editor, @TwoFistedSousa
I’ve never been one to participate in the “console wars.” Maybe that’s because when I was growing up the choice between a Nintendo and a Sega was moot because I couldn’t afford either of them. But even as I’ve gotten older, and my allowance more robust, the console war has always felt like one of those manufactured debates. It’s a byproduct of the internet doing what the internet does best: turning nothing into something and making people take sides.
That being said, I’ve been a Sony guy for a long time. I have my reasons, a lot of them coming from my being no good at “Halo,” but mostly it’s because I’ve always felt more comfortable with Sony. Whether the result of good marketing or just because of the way I’m wired, Sony has always appealed to me more. They’re a stay-over from when I was young, and I’ve always stuck with them.
However, while I’m no zealot of the console wars, it is nice to be in the wake of E3 and feel like I’m being rewarded for my choice. Yes, I’m going to buy a Playstation 4 whenever I collect enough loose change and decide to join up with the next generation of gaming. I feel like Sony has given me every reason to do this.
Even before the press conferences announcing the new systems, I had pretty much settled on buying a Playstation 4. But, after all the guffaws of Microsoft in handling the launch of their new system, it’s nice having my choice justified. As Microsoft scrambles to fix the grievous mistakes of their internet check-ins, their high price point, and their prohibition of sharing or trading games, I feel confident in my decision.
Every facet of Sony’s launch model for the PS4 seemed to echo their “relentless focus on gamers,” as Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, put it. It really seems to be a matter of respect. Sony understands their customers, what their customers want, and they’re willing to give that to them and try to build a relationship.
The price point alone is evidence of that. Almost ten years ago when Sony launched the Playstation 3, consumers balked at the $500 price tag. Sony obviously listened and is launching their new console at a price point $100 lower than that of Microsoft.
And if the price wasn’t enough to bring a lot of consumers into the Sony fold, Microsoft’s biggest gaffe since the announcement of their new system was their treatment of the games themselves. People have been swapping games and trading them in since they were on cartridges; it’s a business model that has been around as long as gaming. Maybe Microsoft wasn’t aware of that since they’re really the newest kids on the block. But, once again, Sony has come out and said that they are willing to build a relationship with their customers by staying true to the systems that the gamers themselves have put in place.
Sony knows the field; they’ve been doing this longer than Microsoft. They’ve made their mistakes and this newest generation says to me that they’ve learned from them. Their treatment of the consumer reflects a respect for the relationship they share. Because of that, people are willing to allow them some changes, like the Playstation Plus model for multiplayer gaming, and move on because Sony is trying to strengthen that relationship.
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of respect. Sony, with their structure and their presentations, has said one thing collectively: The consumer—the gamer—is what’s important to them.