Sony needs to announce the PlayStation 4 in 2012
Sony needs to do something big in 2012. Yes, they've got the PlayStation Vita launching worldwide in February of 2012, but judging from sales in Japan, that might not be enough. Now I'm not going to slam Sony for the Vita's performance in Japan -- I think the Vita is a great system. This isn't about that. Rather, this is about Sony potentially losing ground in the living room console war.
With plans to expand the Xbox 360 functionality by including all-new apps, more Kinect support, and a potential DVR, Microsoft is setting up the Xbox 360 to be THE MUST-HAVE entertainment hub in your living room. It seems like Microsoft wants the Xbox 360 to do it all and have it all. And if it has it all, then what purpose would users have for a PS3? As a gamer, I could name a few and definitely see the importance from a gaming perspective of having the PS3, but can the general population justify spending the money on one?
Nintendo, as we all know, is gearing up for the release of its new system, the Wii U. Using an innovative tablet-based controller, the Wii U may not have the best graphics of the group, but what it lacks in graphics it makes up for in originality. If we've learned anything from the past, it's that originality sells. Just look at the Wii. People love things that are new. Not to mention, with rumors of a new app-store for the Wii U, users might be able to use the controller as more of a tablet. It's possible that users could get multiple uses from the single console -- similar to Xbox expanding to include more with their consoles.
But what is Sony doing? What new thing are they bringing to the living room that leads the casual market to say, "I HAVE to have that system!"
Yes, the PS3 offers plenty of apps, great exclusives, amazing graphics, and plenty more, but I feel like Sony hasn't done enough to market to the general population.
I'm not talking about the gaming population, but rather the family down the street with two kids who may not be the greatest gamers but are just looking to have fun. The PlayStation Move is fun, but is it targeting the kid demographic the same way Kinect Disneyland Adventures is? Probably not. Is it targeting mom or dad, who want to work out to Wii Fit to lose weight? No, it's targeting your hardcore gamer who is a die hard fan of Uncharted, Twisted Metal, or any of the other great exclusives for the PS3.
My point is, it's not enough. Targeting such a small demographic isn't enough for families to bring the PS3 into the living room. They need to re-brand, and what better way to do that then to get a head start on the competition by AT LEAST announcing a new console. They don't need to release the PlayStation 4 in 2012, but at least get people excited for its arrival in 2013, 2014, or whenever it may come.
Begin marketing it now, before Microsoft announces the Xbox 720, or whatever they plan on calling it. Get a leg up on the competition and plant your foot as the must-have console in 2013. Use the hype of the Wii U to build up anticipation for the PlayStation 4. Top Nintendo and steal their thunder.
It's not out of the question to ask this of Sony. Analyst Colin Sebastion of RW Baird has predicted Sony would make the first move. He told IndustryGamers in 2011 that he expects "Sony to be the first to market perhaps as early as 2013, but more likely 2014." But why wait that long? I recognize both companies need to recoup from the current generation, as he points out, but Microsoft is prepping their brand for the future -- why can't Sony?