Five Ways Sony Can Maintain its PlayStation 4 Dominance Over Microsoft's Xbox One (MSFT, SNE)
At the same time, Microsoft also eliminated the anti-used game measures that would make it difficult for consumers to share or sell their software.
While prospective Xbox One buyers were thrilled by these announcements, they may not have been music to Sony's (NYSE: SNE) ears. In addition to selling PlayStation 4 for $100 less than Xbox One (and $200 less than the premium PlayStation 3 package when it was first released), Sony did not impose any of the restrictions that accompanied Xbox One.
This made the Japanese tech giant look like a star in the eyes of many, particularly at a time when consumers were frustrated with Xbox One's restrictions and Wii U's lack of software.
Now that Microsoft has more or less leveled the playing field (the MSRP remains at $499), Sony could be in for a real fight this Christmas and beyond.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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Quietly Urge Developers to Avoid All Forms of DRM
Sony and Microsoft will both allow developers to employ some forms of DRM (digital rights management), if they wish.
This includes the Online Pass feature from Electronic Arts, which required players to enter a code (which came packaged with new copies of their games) before they could play online. If they didn't have the code, they'd have to spend $10 to get it.
EA designed this feature in response to the sale of used games. The company hoped that if people purchased a used copy of, say, Madden 12, they'd be willing to cough up some extra dough to play online.
This restriction was not favored by consumers, so EA got rid of it -- but other publishers are still dabbling in DRM. Sony should step in and tell them that if they want to please their customers (and inspire new sales), they have to back off.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Sony got to where it is today by doing the exact opposite of what Nintendo did with N64, GameCube and Wii U.
First, Sony encouraged (but did not rely on) third-party developers to make its consoles great at launch.
Second, Sony made sure that the majority of its own games were released on time.
Third, Sony charged a fair price for its consoles (in terms of raw horsepower, PlayStation 4 is light-years ahead of Wii U, but it only costs $50 more).Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Take Back Every Third-Party Exclusive
The majority of Xbox One's best third-party games are coming to PlayStation 4. Many of them are also being developed for the older game consoles, such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
There are some, however, that are currently in development exclusively for Xbox One.
Dead Rising 3 is arguably the most prominent of the bunch. While the first game was made exclusively for Xbox 360, the sequel was released for three platforms (PS3, Xbox 360 and PC).
All things likely, Dead Rising 3 will eerily creep its way to PlayStation 4 in the spring or summer of 2014. If that's not already a guarantee, however, Sony should do whatever it takes to ensure that it happens.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Secure Exclusives That Never Go Multi-Platform
One of the best parts of owning a particular console is that consumers get to experience unique games. This value diminished greatly during the last generation after developers decided to produce virtually every game for every console.
When Sony dominated during the late '90s and again in 2001, the company offered more exclusive games than any other platform. From Final Fantasy X to Metal Gear Solid 2 -- and the biggest of them all, Grand Theft Auto III -- Sony made it very difficult for consumers to resist buying a PlayStation 2.
To stay ahead of Microsoft, it must do the same with PlayStation 4.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Don't Delay Any Launch Games
Right now, everything looks perfect.
Sony and Microsoft both seem poised to release a plethora of exciting games when their new consoles are released this fall.
Sony, however, has been known to 'pull a Nintendo' and postpone the release of a game consumers cannot wait to play. That can't happen.
If Sony delays the release of a big game, it won't matter if the reason is completely justifiable. The delay itself will be all Microsoft needs to get the attention of disappointed consumers.
Sony knows this better than anyone -- it was, after all, the beneficiary of the numerous delays that plagued Nintendo 64 in 1997.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons