Tonight, Sony took the wraps off of its next-generation console, the PlayStation 4. Normally, a hardware announcement would happen during the annual E3 conference, but Sony took the initiative to run its own event months before E3 2013. EEDAR vice president Jesse Divnich believes that Sony chose the right path with its early reveal.
"It was wise of Sony to announce the hardware and key features early in the year. By announcing early and at an isolated event, it allows Sony to capture 100% of the attention of gamers, technology enthusiasts, and industry insiders; whereas historical hardware announcements would occur at E3, which often created a mind-share battle between others announcing new technology. Sony's announcement now gives publishers plenty of time to prepare for E3 and it shifts the focus of the show to the software, which ultimately is what gamers look forward to the most," said Divinich.
Sony's announcement tonight also put it ahead of its competitor Microsoft, who is expected to show off its next console at E3 2013. Recent rumors have Microsoft pushing the reveal of the next Xbox, code-named Durango, up to March or April to lessen the momentum tonight's reveal may have given Sony.
"There are pros and cons to both announcing early and potentially being the first market, but what it comes down to is the current sentiment in the market. If the market is vibrant, thriving, and innovation is still occurring, you generally want to abstain from being first to market with a new technology. In our current climate, console sales have stagnated. We've squeezed nearly every bit of innovation out of the current platforms and consumer interest in high-definition gaming is waning. Sony's timing was perfect," added Divnich.
Of course the earlier announcement doesn't mean Sony's console will be the first to hit store shelves. Microsoft has experience with shrinking the announcement to launch window with the Xbox 360: the console was revealed in May of 2005 and launched in North America and Japan in November of 2005. Sony's PlayStation 4 is confirmed for holiday 2013, but that release window gives Microsoft some room to play with.
"Sony's best chance at changing momentum is being first to market," said Divnich.
Many noticed that Sony's event tonight lacked a physical design and a price for the console. It's possible that we will see a firm price at this year's E3, alongside more software offerings for the console.
"For competitive reasons, I am not surprised that pricing was not discussed. I think Sony learned a valuable lesson with the launch of the PlayStation 3 and I wouldn't expect the same mistakes to be made next generation. We wouldn't expect pricing announcements until closer to launch," said Divnich.