PS4: Yay or Nay in the Gaming Sector?
Yasir is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Sony (NYSE: SNE) is one of the leading names in the gaming industry, along with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). The company's most awaited 2013 event took place on Feb. 20, after the company released its "see the future" ad campaign. The event had everything ... the shiny lights and the game demos. Everything except for the PlayStation 4 itself.
The PlayStation consoles had a monopoly back in the early days, however, Sony lost out on market share as competitors came into the gaming industry. While Sony's PS3 has outsold Microsoft's Xbox 360 in 2012, the latter has been quite successful by the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 as Microsoft sold over 281,000 consoles in the previous month.
Even though the PS3 and Xbox 360 can still offer a lot in the future, it is now time to turn towards the 8th generation in video games. The new PS4 is part of Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai's new restructuring process in order to take Sony back on top. The Xperia Z was Sony's first offering this year, while the company's recent event showed some of the next generation features of its upcoming gaming console. Even though the PS4 wasn't officially unveiled, which left many disappointed, there is still a lot to be optimistic about with Sony's event this month.
Firstly, the hardware is as good as anyone would imagine with the PS4. Developers got what they were expecting with the x86 8-core CPU and 8GB of RAM. With the highest possible graphics and the switch to a different hardware, users won't be able to play PS3 titles, although, this is done for a greater good as the PS4 will take console gaming to a whole new level.
Software is another improvement that can help Sony outperform Microsoft's upcoming gaming console. PS3's software improvement was quite significant from PS2, however, PS3 lacks the "modern" sort of interface. Sony has worked quite a lot on the basic software in order to get users a better experience. From integrating social media using all the social networks to sharing videos almost instantly, Sony has definitely stepped up its game.
The new dual shock 4 controller is another thing to be optimistic about. The PS3 controllers didn't bring much compared to the PS2 controllers, however, the newest controllers will have several new features including a touchpad, a light bar and a dedicated share button, which shows how keen Sony is in terms of integrating social media and sharing content.
Another possible advantage could be the price point. While we still don't know what the PS4 is going to cost, reports suggest that the console should be priced relatively lower than PS3's initial release. Shuhei Yoshida, Sony Worldwide Studio's president, recently revealed that as the company went for standard AMD hardware, it saved on research and development costs, along with production costs. If Sony can get the price right, then there is no doubt that Sony's gaming division will have some bright years ahead.
Possibly the most disliked thing about PS4's launch has been the lack of backwards compatibility. This means that the average PS user won't be able to trade his/her PS3 for a new PS4; but he/she would also have to sell all the games with the console. While a new PS cloud feature will allow users to stream their old PS games on the PS4, it is still a disappointment.
Another disadvantage, from Sony's event and not the PS4, is the lack of enough information. A lot of people were disappointed due to the lack of information on pricing, with no actual PS4 at the event. Apart from that, there shouldn't be other problems with the PS4 or its launch.
The gaming division is one of Sony's 3 key divisions, which will be the most important for the company, as a whole. The PS4 definitely brings some quality features and nothing bad can be said about the "super powerful gaming PC." The event also revealed some good news for the struggling PC Vita, as users will be able to stream PS4 games directly onto their portable Vita console.
While many analysts believe that Sony's PS4 event was a disappointment with Sony's Japan stock down nearly 1.7%, Sony's gaming division is definitely on the right track and only time will improve the company's position. We will have to wait till the holiday season for the PS4 madness to start and that will be the time when Sony, hopefully, has something to smile about.
Meanwhile, we'll have to see what Microsoft does with the upcoming Xbox "720" due mid-2013. The Xbox 720 should have similar features as the Sony PS4 and we'll have to wait and see Microsoft's reply to the PS4. Many analysts believe that Sony needs to release the PS4 before the Xbox 720 if it wants to get a better start, with an early release being a key strength to either of the two companies.
yasirrfc has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!