There’s a saying thrown around that goes like this, “Put you money where your mouth is.” Frankly I think this phrase doesn’t make any sense, as money tastes disgusting and I couldn’t even begin to describe how many germs are on any given dollar bill. What this phrase comes down to is convincing someone to back up their statements or claims with something tangible like money. Putting your faith in something is hard to do, backing it up with money is even harder.
When we buy anything, be it food, water, or even video games, we are placing an investment into it. We are giving up precious money in the hopes that the experience or the purpose of the item is fulfilled in a sense that makes us feel like it was worth the investment of money. Now these items I’ve listed cost between five and sixty dollars. A small investment compared to the cost of an entire video games console.
The PS4 and Xbox One are releasing in less than a month. Both are asking for hundreds of dollars. A substantial investment for any middle class consumer like myself. The PS4 is a hundred dollars less in price, and in my opinion is the better investment, even in the long term. Of course, this is a simple opinion, to use another phrase, it “doesn’t hold water”. Well, time to patch up the cracks in my glass, and substantiate this claim.
What is the PS4 going to give me for my Money?
Your four hundred bucks is going to go a long way with the PS4. How long you ask? Ten years. Sony has committed to a ten year life cycle for each of their main consoles. Even though PS3 has only been out for about seven years, we are still seeing several years of consistent releases for the system, and a continued production of the system’s games. This kind of commitment is hard to find in the industry.
Other companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung are releasing new generations of their products left and right. The old ones get some support but mostly are left in the dust. With the Xbox 360, Microsoft has spoken of continued support for the system, but they lack hard numbers like Sony is willing to provide. These other companies live in the moment, they put the past behind them and expect consumers to blindly follow. In some cases they do, but Sony realizes that some people are just getting on board with PlayStation 3 and they want to enjoy it before they move on to PS4.
Sony’s Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton spoke about this in a recent interview on GameStop TV where he expressed that he wants consumers to jump on PS4 as soon as they are ready, but he also wants them to feel value in their current console, especially if they are a recent adopter.
Am I saying that investing in the Xbox One or the latest iPhone is bad? No, of course not, but I think it’s important to recognize how quickly such items become obsolete in the grand scheme of things.
The War of the Features
The features of a console weigh heavily in terms of representing a sound investment. When looking at the PS4, we see a wealth of features. We see incredible exclusives, unmatched technical specifications, and plenty of third party support from services like Netflix, Gaikai, and developers. Looking at this current generation and moving into the next with PS4, we see a huge publisher like Ubisoft who has consistently provided exclusive content for the PS3 and soon to come PS4 versions of their games. Assassin’s Creed is a perfect example of this, as both the third and fourth iterations include over an hour of exclusive content on PS3.
A recent study conducted by ABI Research’s Game Console Competitive Assessment found that Microsoft has edged just in front of Sony when examining the impact of the upcoming consoles. The factors that were used in this study fell into categories based on Innovation and Implementation. Below is an excerpt from the article discussing the study:
“Sony fell to second in the game console assessment in part because key PlayStation 4 (PS4) differentiators like cloud gaming are still untested (and won’t be fully available at launch), but largely because Microsoft has shown more features on the broader entertainment front (e.g. hybrid premium/OTT services).”
A few things jump out here. One is the point of cloud gaming. Cloud gaming essentially refers to utilizing remote servers away from the consumer’s home console to offload data and certain processing elements and free up the console itself to do more tasks. It essentially takes a load off the console. This sounds great, but it comes with several caveats. One is that this kind of cloud gaming requires a constant internet connection to be fully utilized. As mentioned in one of my previous articles, I see people constantly in my video game retail job who will not be connecting their systems to the internet for a variety of reasons.
For these people, any benefits of cloud computing or cloud gaming are null and void. Another thing to consider too is that these features, including the cloud streaming with Gaikai’s service, will not be available at launch. This means that Microsoft will have the edge in this regard, but only for a limited time. The study doesn’t seem to take into account the long term effects of these features and how Sony is going to implement them.
A final note on the above excerpt, it mentions that Microsoft is showing more features on the entertainment spectrum. While this is true, I ask again, how many people will take advantage of these features? Perhaps if they were free, included with the initial investment, but they are not. Microsoft requires a premium subscription to even access these extra features. Taking into account the fact that most of these features will require a subscription of their own, and you have a much larger investment than most consumers are willing to do. Sony is providing many of the same features without the need for PlayStation Plus which again provides consumers with more benefits branching out from their initial investment into the console.
The People’s Opinion is Everything
I know it probably feels like I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but we all remember the backlash from Microsoft’s initial policies on the Xbox One. Did Sony take advantage of that weakness to win over consumers? Absolutely, but in this industry such chinks in the armor shouldn’t exist in the first place or they are asking to be attacked.
In one of my recent articles about consumer opinion on the Xbox One and PS4, I weighed consumer’s opinions of Microsoft and Sony heavily into my article. One of my readers commented, making some good points about how consumers are willing to forgive and forget, and how the Xbox One’s titles would ultimately put it in the lead.
I replied to the reader and thanked him/her for their comment. I think people are willing to forgive and forget, but I also believe it is a slow healing wound. Invading people’s privacy, or trying to control their buying power, is a quick recipe for creating paranoia, which is exactly what Microsoft did initially. Now that things have settled down, people are warming back up to the console, but I still see plenty of people in my day to day work that fervently attack Microsoft, and I try to be objective in informing them that the policies were revised, however the terms and conditions specify that Microsoft reserves the right to change anything at any time.
In a few months, once the dust has settled, the games will be the ultimate factor in deciding the strength of the investment these consoles ask for. The PS4 will be a great investment, the best in my opinion, because the exclusive titles are unmatched. Killzone, inFamous, The Order: 1886, these titles are already building massive amounts of excitement from consumers, and it is no secret that Sony owns the greatest studios in all of gaming. Naughty Dog, Santa Monica, and others are still quiet about their PS4 debuts, but we all know they will be titles that solidify the power of the PS4, and the strength of an investment into this incredible console.
What do you look for in a sound investment? Do you think the PS4 is a good investment? Tell us in the comments!
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 10/28/2013