The PlayStation 4 hasn’t even been shown off to the public yet, but already the box is on the minds of millions of people across the globe. In fact, in a recent earnings call with investors, GameStop president Tony Bartel said that his company has 900,000 people signed up for its first-to-know list on the PlayStation 4. And he expects demand to far outstrip supply of the console when it launches.
Such demand already might surprise some folks. After all, it took a long time for the PlayStation 3 to truly get off the ground and although it’ll likely end this generation with more worldwide sales than the Xbox 360, in the U.S., especially, it’s no match for Microsoft’s console.
To make matters worse, it appears that gamers aren’t all that excited about the next generation of consoles across the board. The Wii U, after all, has been watching its sales slow to crawl and even GameStop said publicly that it’s been disappointed by the Wii U. What in the world would make the PlayStation 4 different?
Well, I think there are a host of reasons. I’m a firm believer that Sony is still a household name in the U.S. and in Japan – its two key markets – and people buy products from the company solely because they trust the name. And despite the PlayStation 3’s initial troubles, the console turned out to be quite a success, allowing its predecessor to deliver solid results next time around.
[aquote]It's unfair to compare the PS4 with the Wii U[/aquote]
It’s also unfair to compare the PlayStation 4 with the Wii U. Nintendo’s console is one that’s a barely updated alternative to the predecessor. As I’ve said here before, I believe the Wii U is a catch-up device. And historically, catch-up devices don’t really perform all that well on store shelves.
The PlayStation 4, however, is a high-end product with all kinds of graphical firepower; it’s the kind of device that true gamers really want. And chances are, Sony will once again have the full support of the developer community to ensure it doesn’t fall short from a library perspective.
Most importantly, though, I think the strong demand for the PlayStation 4 tells us that, despite conventional wisdom suggesting that mobile and casual gaming is the future, console gamers are still extremely engrossed in their favored way of playing games. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.
The fact is that console gaming has a long way to go to ultimately match the promise gamers have been hoping for all this time. And companies like Sony and Microsoft are willing to push the envelope and put themselves in a position where they can capitalize on customers that want a true next-generation device, and not something that’s simply labeled as one.
So yes, I understand the excitement surrounding the PlayStation 4, and I can say without any hesitation that I’m one of those folks that’s excited to see what’s coming next from Sony. The future is now. And Sony is one of the few companies in the gaming industry that’s willing to embrace it.