While Microsoft is touting that it hasthe greatest games lineup in the history of Xboxgoing into the 2015 holiday season, Sony has commented that while their offering is strong, it could have been stronger.
Speaking to GameSpot at a PlayStation 20th Anniversary event in Sydney, Michael Ephraim, Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, acknowledged that Sony has been focusing on third-party partnerships to promote PlayStation 4 during the end-of-year period.
“Games that have been released this year, from Destiny, Call of Duty, Star Wars — most of them we have a collaboration with for additional content if you play on PlayStation 4, so we’re pretty confident with the way Christmas is going. The demand is strong.” Ephraim said.
He added: “We have worked very closely with third parties this year because our first party lineup was not as a strong as we would have liked.”
The PlayStation 4 had only a handful of major exclusives in 2015, a list which includesBloodborne, The Order: 1886 and Until Dawn.
However, Ephraim was very optimistic about 2016: “Next year, our first party lineup looks incredible. You’ve got Street Fighter, Uncharted 4, No Man’s Sky, The Last Guardian, Gran Turismo. These are all exclusives, and two of them are new franchises.”
Sony is also planning on releasing its virtual reality headset PlayStation VR to consumers next year. While Ephraim was positive about the technology, he was hesitant to position the new hardware as a vital part of Sony’s 2016 strategy.
“We’re still in the planning stages of PlayStation VR, and clearly based on the responses we’re getting so far: it’s very solid. But our core business right now is PlayStation 4 and the offerings we have on there. Disc, digital, downloadable season passes and endless entertainment. So, it’ll be another component.”
“In 12 months time, PlayStation 4 is still the primary business because it’s the foundational device. PlayStation 4 will still be our primary objective to grow the install base. PlayStation VR is new, everyone wants it, there are a lot of publishers developing for it. But whether it’s going to just go completely nuts early, or if it’s a slow build, time will tell.”
Though his outlook was reserved, Ephraim, who has been at the helm of PlayStation’s Australian business for 22 years and also serves as a Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, was positive that the company’s willingness to do a variety of different things was part of its success this generation.
“The PS4 is the fastest selling console ever for PlayStation globally and in Australia, PS4 is the fastest selling console in hardware history” he stated.
“What we’re doing is we’re saying: How do you want to play games? What kind of games do you want to play? Indie games? Big games? Do you want to play online? Do you want to stream older back catalog games? And next year, do you want to play games in VR? It’s the evolution of PlayStation 4 morphing into where the trends are, and to how people want to ingest content now.”