Is Sony trying to take the wind out of the Xbox One X’s launch’s sails?
Sony had a rather eventful presence at the Paris Games Week this year. This isn’t totally unprecedented, of course- they had a major conference there two years ago, too. But they took last year off, and returned this year, which at first glance seems innocuous enough. After all, last year, they had the PlayStation Meeting where they announced PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim around the same time frame, and there are only so many major press shows you can have.
But here’s the interesting thing about yesterday’s show- Sony went all out. Paris Games Week isn’t as important a show in terms of media presence or prominence as E3, Gamescom, TGS, or even Sony’s own PlayStation Experience- and yet, Sony brought the big guns to the show yesterday, showing off more of highly anticipated games such as Monster Hunter World, God of War, and Spider-Man, as well as announcing Sucker Punch’s excellent looking new IP.
To cap it all off, they showed us another stark trailer for the eagerly anticipated The Last of Us Part 2– at this point the biggest announced upcoming exclusive across any platform- to close the show. Arguably, Sony’s showing at Paris Games Week yesterday was more impressive than their E3 keynote earlier this year.
Which begs the question as to why all this stuff was shown off yesterday- why not save it for the PlayStation Experience, which is just a month away? And I want to postulate that in part, this might have been done to take attention away from the impending launch of the Xbox One X, and bring it squarely back to PlayStation.
Sony has had a great year with the PS4, with its sales beating projections, and the lineup being loaded with quality exclusives- but the attention this year has been squarely on Nintendo’s Switch, and now, the upcoming Xbox One X. To Sony’s credit, they have been smart enough to realize that the Switch’s success is additive- it selling well has not impacted the PS4 one bit. But the Xbox One and PS4 have a major overlap in market- if the Xbox One were to suddenly start doing better, it would be at the PS4’s expense, which is, obviously, something Sony does not want.
And so, with the launch of the Xbox One X just a week away, I want to argue Sony brought out the big guns- a reminder that some of the best, most highly anticipated games are all going to be playable on their platform, not the competition’s. A reminder that their console is the only one with an out of the box, integrated VR solution. A reminder that if you want all the third party games, with quality first party exclusives, the PS4 is the place to be. A reminder to shoppers this Holiday season that if they want games, the PS4 is what they should be looking at.
Did the gambit work? Did they actually undermine the launch of the Xbox One X? We obviously don’t know yet, and won’t until the Xbox One X actually launches, and we know how it does- but Sony’s strategy here, if I am reading it right, has been interesting to observe nonetheless.
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