Will Xbox One's Non-Interactive Entertainment Features Trump PlayStation 4?
From the onset, Sony (NYSE: SNE) designed its fourth-generation game console to serve its primary market: gamers.
The company's strategy was drastically different from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which initially relied on TV, movies, football and other non-gaming activities to promote the Xbox One.
Even now, after changing its strategy and reversing several unpopular policies, Microsoft is still using sports to sell the console. Xbox One's first TV promo was designed to highlight its NFL partnership and did not feature a single video game.
Thus far, this strategy has not been as effective as the game-targeted approach that Sony took with PlayStation 4. While Microsoft has yet to reveal any specific pre-order numbers, Sony has stated that global PlayStation 4 pre-orders have exceeded one million units.
Software pre-orders are also significantly higher on PlayStation 4 than on Xbox One.
Even so, that does not change the fact that if consumers want non-gaming activities from a console, they might initially get more from Xbox One.
Xbox One, for example, allows users to change channels and switch between media (games, TV, movies, music, sports, etc.) by talking to the console. This feature is a part of the next-generation Kinect, which is included with every Xbox One.
Xbox One can also be hooked up to a cable box to provide users with greater control over their pay-TV services. PlayStation 4 does not have a similar feature.
Mike Aragon, Sony's Vice President & General Manager of Global Digital Video and Music Services, told Variety that not many customers asked for that latter feature. He also said that the company is still exploring ways that it can bring cable TV to PlayStation consoles.
Related: Sony's PlayStation Coming To China
One question remains unanswered, however: is this feature really necessary? It's not as if Xbox One will drastically change the way TV is viewed. Seinfeld reruns won't be any funnier. Revolution won't be more or less revolutionary. And the Super Bowl won't be more of a spectacle than it has already become.
Sony should keep its options open and explore the potential of non-interactive entertainment. But its focus should remain on games, as they are the only thing that may inspire thousands of consumers to line up at Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and other retailers this weekend when PlayStation 4 is released.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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