Earlier this month, Sony revealed a mysterious video hinting at a big announcement to come Wednesday about the “Future of Playstation” from a press meetup in New York City.Nearly everyone expects the announcement to be the long-awaited reveal of the company’s next game console, the “Playstation 4.”
We spoke with IGN PlayStation Executive Editor Greg Miller who tells Business Insider this random meetup in New York is totally out of character for the company.
For that reason, he’s also convinced it’s most likely going to be the reveal of its next system.
However, Miller predicts Sony’s meeting won’t solely be about the expected PlayStation console.
Rather, after a rough year in 2012 — losses in the millions and a reported 10,000 layoffs — its conference will be a look at what’s in store for the company this year and the brand’s future, with a look at game titles and possibly a new DualShock controller.
This week will be Sony’s first big opportunity since the unveiling of the Playstation 3 more than six years ago, to go toe-to-toe with Microsoft’s competing Xbox system again.
“Microsoft destroyed Sony in its last generation because they were out first — and they were out first for an entire year. Sony came in off the PS2 [acting] like ‘we don’t have to worry about this. You’re going to buy [the PS3] no matter what.'”
That’s not what happened at all.
Sony released the PS3 in November 2006 for $499 and $599, and many didn’t want to shell out that sort of money for a game system. Regardless of brand loyalty, there were two more affordable game systems on the market, and that worked greatly against Sony and in Microsoft’s favour.
“Microsoft got to come out with a system that, for all intents and purposes, didn’t work that well — Xbox’s red rings. They overheated, they died,” says Miller. “All this bad publicity should have destroyed them, when instead they were running against a console that came out a year later and it was $600. And, the people behind [the PS3] were cocky enough to tell you that you needed a second job for it.”
Though some still found the PlayStation console reigning supreme, Sony’s system basically toppled from the top of the gaming tower.
The Xbox 360 has been the top-selling game console for 25 consecutive months. Last week, Microsoft released stats saying its Xbox 360 console has sold more than 76 million units compared to the PS3’s 70 million as of last November.
Miller tells Business Insider that, right now, it’s an arms race between Microsoft and Sony to get their products out before each other. If Sony wants to regain its status as the go-to gaming console, it will have to do a few key things at its conference this week.
Photo: PseudoGil / Flickr
1. Show off the PS4
This is a no-brainer. There’s really no alternative here for Sony. The company has to reveal a console if they want to keep up with the world of next-gen consoles, or it’s bust for them.2. Admit its mistakes
Miller says Sony needs to own up to the fact that it slipped after the PS2.
“This is a chance for Sony to come out on February 20th and say, ‘We learned from our mistakes, this is our machine, this is why you want it,’ and then wait to see what Microsoft’s response is,” Miller tells Business Insider. “Sony’s really good about admitting mistakes. And, they’ve kind of done it a lot with the Sony network packet in recent years.”
3. Say it’s a system for gamers
“The way Sony wins is to come out and say, ‘We are the console for gamers, and here’s why,’ says Miller. ‘We want you to have games that transform, intense narratives, the best action, and the best graphics wherever you are because that’s what gamers play.'”
“It’s a huge gamble because obviously we saw that when the Wii hit, Microsoft and Sony spent a year — Microsoft making Kinect, Sony making Playstation Move — to come out and say, ‘Hey casual gamers, we want you.’ But, they overlooked the fact that these systems are complicated.”
Photo: Cate Gillon / Getty Images
4. (Maybe) Surprise the crowd
Miller tells Business Insider if Sony really wants to make a splash, it will get Bungie, the creators of Microsoft’s successful “Halo” franchise, to come out and present its next big video game, “Destiny.”
“If Sony can get the Bungie guys there, that makes the kind of headlines you want,” says Miller. “That would be huge. People will flip out.”
Photo: Courtesy of Xbox
Since speaking with Miller, that last option seems unlikely considering Bungie has since announced “Destiny”.
Miller warns the one thing Sony shouldn’t do Wednesday is come out and try to pitch its console as an entertainment hub — that’s an area where Microsoft already excels. Instead, Sony needs to separate itself and stand apart.
“That doesn’t work. Right now, everyone thinks of Xbox as the entertainment hub. Everybody who already has Xbox already has all the apps and ESPN. They think to go there for that,” Miller tells Business Insider. “The way Sony wins is to come out and say, ‘We are the system for gamers.'”
What we won’t see at the conference from Sony:
Miller says if Sony throws out a price of $400 or $500 then that’s what media will get hung up on and will detract from the spotlight of the console.
A release date
Again, it’s the same thing with the media getting caught up in a number.
“Right now, they get to own the conversation for probably a month,” says Miller. “Everybody I hear talk about the next Xbox said that Microsoft won’t be out of the gate talking about it until March. So, Sony gets to have pretty much — if they don’t screw up — nothing but positive press.”
You can watch Miller and his Beyond! crew over at IGN hash out more predictions for Wednesday’s conference below.
Essentially, they believe it will be a short conference where Sony will unveil the new gaming system, potentially show off an updated Dualshock controller, and reveal a few new game titles.
Check it out:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.