To date, the PS4 has sold a vast amount more than the Wii U and Xbox One, so much more that if you combined the Wii U’s and Xbox One’s sales you still wouldn’t reach the number of PS4s on the market. So what is behind this success? Is the PS4 just that great of a console or are the others just bad? Perhaps it is something else entirely.
As any game developer can tell you, half of the challenge in making your game do well is marketing. The same can be said about consoles. In this case we have examples of poor marketing, negative marketing, and good marketing. Can you tell which is which? Let’s look at each console.
The Wii U launched a year before its counterparts yet struggled tremendously to grasp a hold of the market like the previous Wii console had. Many people misunderstood what the console was, mistaking it for a tablet when the tablet portion of the Wii was merely a controller with a screen which does not behave well as a controller. The lack of hardware power and the exclusion of third party titles on the console has also had a major impact on its sales.
The Xbox One on the other hand had the opposite issue. Lots of people were talking about it, but the things they were saying weren’t good. The Microsoft black box was being sold as the “all in one” console, hence the title. It could act as a cable box and allow you to watch TV, it had several major apps so it in a way acted as a computer or tablet, and it could also play games. That later portion was what caused so many issues. The games seemed to be just a feature of the console and not a core focus. The Kinect was forced onto everyone of the early adopters of the console (before it was removed), the console was believed to require an internet connection, and amongst all this bad press the core audience of gamers felt excluded and lacked a reason to purchase the console.
Lastly we have Sony which seemed to do the best they could have done and made the PS4 seem like the go to system for playing games. Throughout 2014 they made partnerships with many developers to paint the image that the true “gaming experience” was on the PS4. Especially when it came to major titles like Bungie’s Destiny. A title that had several exclusives and its own white console to boot. The console seemed more powerful, which it was compared to the Wii U though it’s about the same compared to the Xbox One once it was no longer dedicating part of its power to the Kinect. It seemed based on advertising that more games were on the PS4 than the other consoles, even though Nintendo has a tremendous amount more exclusive titles on their console and the Xbox One even has the PS4 beat in that regard too.
In the end everything about the PS4 was created for marketing. From the push to make third party games seem better on PS4, to the console’s design to look slick and well matched for your entertainment shelf. That trend seems like it will continue and with Nintendo practically abandoning the Wii U in an effort to push towards mobile and their unrevealed but still announced, NX; it’s just a matter of seeing what Microsoft will do with the Xbox One. They’ll need to take advantage of every situation they can and prove that their console is just as good or better than the PS4.