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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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Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.