We don't know why PS4 is selling - Yoshida

Sony exec thrilled with system's early success, but nervous because he doesn't fully understand it

The good news for Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida is that the PlayStation 4 sold through 10 million systems in nine months, far exceeding expectations. The bad news, as he told Eurogamer, is that he can't figure out exactly why the system has done so well.

"We are so happy," Yoshida said. "But I for one am a bit nervous because we do not completely understand what's happening. You need to understand why your products are selling well so you can plan for the future, right? It defied the conventional thinking."

Yoshida said he's been asking journalists for their impressions of the situation, as well as Sony's own marketing people. The latter group has surveyed new PS4 owners, and found an unusually high number of them didn't own a PS3, with some not having any systems from the previous generation of hardware. Yoshida said he didn't know where those people came from, or why they bought a system now.

"As soon as we see a great sales number, our instinct tells us we should be concerned about future sales, right? Are we exhausting all the core gamers? If we sell this number of units, there are no more consumers we can sell to," Yoshida said. "That's a really terrifying prospect. So we want to understand who are these consumers who we do not necessarily consider core gamers, who are purchasing PS4 and why they are doing it and what they are doing with PS4, so we can create a bit more of a positive future, rather than saying, 'Wow, we have sold to every single core gamer.'"

Sony isn't standing still while it waits to get an answer to Yoshida's questions. He said the company is working to improve the PS4's features, network services, and game library.

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Latest comments (13)

Francisco Javier QA Engineering & Coordination, Saber Interactive Spain7 years ago
LOL. Really, they don't get it? It's called Fidelity. With the PS3 they have showed to the gamers that they're not only into shooter or casual, but that you can have all type of experiences. From Killzone to Journey, to Heavy Rain and Last Of Us. Or Beyond Two Souls. They offered a wide range of type of products. With the X360, you liked shooters or you got tired of the system, meanwhile with the Wii... gamers doesn't had a change with the system catalog (and that's why WiiU isn't doing well even the greatness of Nintendo own games).

Another big winner has been the PlayStation Plus. I'm a Nintendo fan here, but with the Playstation plus thing I had no regrets into buying the PS Vita or even the PS4. I bought these systems not by the actual games, but more because I can wait for the games and pay 100 less in the future, or I can enjoy keep enjoying the system with whatever gives joy while getting games "free".

That's my position right now. Got the WiiU, the 3DS, the Vita and the PS4 (not to mention pass gen) and I'm enjoying and buying games from Nintendo consoles, however, I ocasionally enjoy playing the games on Vita or PS4. First game I got with the PS4 has been Las of Us.

I think that a lot of people jumped on the PS4 with the same reasons.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Francisco Javier on 19th August 2014 4:43pm

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Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia7 years ago
@Francisco, did you even read the article? What's puzzling Sony is the unusually high number of customers who bought a PS4 and did not own a PS3 or even another console prior to that. There's no doubt PS4/PSN offer great value, I guess they're simply surprised at the amount of new customers it brought in versus already acquired customers upgrading.
The latter group has surveyed new PS4 owners, and found an unusually high number of them didn't own a PS3, with some not having any systems from the previous generation of hardware.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 7 years ago
Question being how this figure was raised. Lots of consoles were resold on Amazon and Ebay, those were not gamers buying them at the store. If you go by PSN accounts, then who says if every new account, really is a new person. People forget passwords and login data all the time. Does Sony track IPs and social interaction on PSN?

Sony not being able to make sense of the data is used in this article to raise questions about the audience. But were the means of creating the data infallible? Big data addicts think so many times and are still often wrong.
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Show all comments (13)
Reza Ghavami Marketing Analyst, NVIDIA7 years ago
Why doesn't he ask that know-it-all Pachter? He seems to have the answers to everything.
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Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia7 years ago
@ Klaus

They probably can track a new system being activated and is it with a new PSN account or an existing one.
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Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios7 years ago
Microsoft trying to shaft everyone with their DRM. Plus not being able to buy XB1 without a Kinect (back then) have to be factors. Might seem odd to you lot, but a lot of people still don't realise Microsoft backtracked on all that. Chinese whispers spread fast.
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Ben Link Video Game Enthusiast and Graphic Artist 7 years ago
Microsoft's mess up at E3 2013 has a ton of people rooting for Sony. People underestimate what effect that had on this generations launch. Even though Microsoft has changed a lot of things. Gamers are like Elephants, they never forget.
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Christopher Ashton Carlos Software Programmer 7 years ago
I am glad the PS4 is coming along nicely. I think part of the reason of trade in ownership had to do with a few things.
1. Price
2. Communication
3. Focus.

1. The price of the PS4 just hit the spot, and it shows. Microsoft had to rush the price down, remove Kinect, and play catch-up because they gave consumers no choice. Sure the PS4 oferrings is "bare bones" in comparison, but they didn't feel the need to add the camera on, add to the costs, and make owners of a new system pay for something that wasn't ready or even used properly.

2. Sony said they were for the gamers, they had games, and it shows. I think when we go back to the DRM fiasco people were afraid about for Xbox One, and how Microsoft has gone changing their policies, and overall road map of what they want the Xbox One to be, it leaves consumers a bit concerned.

3. The focus that Sony had was ultimately provide a gaming device, unlike PS3 which was a multi-media device focus at times. They also had a focus to make it more a social machine, and the share features you get with it are a nice addition that are evolving and feel well thought out. The simplicity of their statement was not just games, but sharing games, and with the future addition to share games with friends, or help a friend remotely coming up, they at least seem like they are continuing that pathway regardless, and that at least gives consumers a clear idea of what they should expect in the future. They stuck their guns, and have stood by it, while communicating them effectively.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
Microsoft's early blunders may have played a part in it but I think that most people buying a PS4 early are doing it for it's potential. Right now theres not a lot of worthwhile games on PS4. Personally I haven't seen a single game that would make me spend $400 on one. But this is another reason why the monthly free rentals from PSN help to quell over gamers until good games actually start releasing on the system.

So while I feel that the PS4 is more powerful and focused than the XBO I definitely don't see it as the superior game machine as far as current releases are concerned, though to be fair the XBO isn't doing much better either as we are still in early days for both systems. But I think people have really been running out and buying PS4 for it's perceived potential. How long will this last? About 16 more months.
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Kaveh Rassoulzadegan CEO & Co Founder, OK-Roms, Corp.7 years ago
Maybe it could be related to the fact that the PS4 was out of stock for a long period ? Perhaps the new customers (apparently casual gamers) wondered what was so special with this system and bought it to be sure to have one ?
The design may have also played a heavy role too (nice SCEI new monolyth, btw) in the eyes of those new comers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kaveh Rassoulzadegan on 20th August 2014 10:57am

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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee7 years ago
1. Not 425.
2. Marketed as "For the Players"
3. Decent architeture so no 1 year delay vs the competition.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
...but I think that most people buying a PS4 early are doing it for it's potential
Paul, you cracked me up because I automatically thought of that famous pre-launch PS3 media briefing when we were told that we were "buying into the potential" of the system and just about every editor slammed that statement (for all the wrong reasons). Now, it's more acceptable because Sony has pretty much proved that it can deliver once the usual launch jitters shake themselves out.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development7 years ago
Let's not overthink this one. Microsoft messed up big time, Sony didn't.
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