Over the past few weeks, PlayStation chief Jim Ryan has received more than his usual share of emails.
Since the time the PS5 has been sold out (within minutes), there has been an influx of people to grab one for launch day, and who better to help them out than the person in charge? This is not surprising. Every PlayStation launch Ryan has been around for ever – he has been used to this.
But what surprised the CEO of PlayStation is the types of people who are sending emails.
“Since prior orders went live, every day I open my inbox with a lot of emotional and heart-touching emails from a lot of people,” Ryan says. “But there are a lot of them in their mid-50s who say they’ve been a PlayStation gamer since 1995, and they are asking us to help catch the PS5.
“With PS4, we were coming out of the very scarred PS3 platform … now we’re starting with 100 million gamers”
“I’m amazed at the number of people who are like that and writing for me. It’s really taken me back. It’s indicating that the demographically age profile is growing steadily with each generation Is. And at the same time, I actually get emails from youngsters. Gamers, often beautifully written… are often better written than gamers at 53 years old. They are just passionate, just interested and just Excited to PlayStation like someone who is old enough to be their father, maybe even their grandfather. ”
This is not Ryan to explain the PlayStation brand’s sheer popularity; This is actually part of a conversation about how PlayStation 5 can enable PlayStation 4, which has now shipped nearly 114 million consoles worldwide. Sony CFO Hiroki Totoki said during the company’s second quarter earnings call that the company is “committed” to surpass what PS4 has achieved. This is not an easy feat.
Ryan’s anecdote about his inbox highlights the opportunity he sees on PlayStation of various age groups. Still I countered her story with one of my own. I am in my mid-30s, and all my friends who have spent their youth playing Metal Gear Solid and Crash Bandicoot are now busy with careers and children. Many of them are also considering a PlayStation 5 as a result.
The phenomenon of ‘people out aging’ in game consoles is very real in my world right now, and that’s probably why there hasn’t been a huge amount of audience growth for the console industry in the last 20 years.
“First of all, I think – and that’s the hypothesis – but maybe some of the 50-year-olds [who emailed me] Ryan reported that they came back to us when they were having their children and had some time and money, “Ryan suggested.” A lot of it comes to clinginess and tribal nature. The community we create. The sense of community probably did not exist to the same extent. It certainly existed, but it was two more companions sitting on the couch playing with FIFA, who by its very definition needed physical proximity, and so it was difficult to organize.
“We have data to support this – the networked nature of entertainment these days allows communities to be collectively more clingy, and kind-homogeneous. The concept of clinginess is that once you get stuck it’s It is difficult to be unstable. It gives us the opportunity to retain people where they might have gone in the past. ”
We’re talking about how the PS5 can exclude the PS4, but the installed base is actually an old way of recognizing the console’s performance. If we measure success by establishing a base alone, PlayStation reached its peak a decade ago with its PS2.
“It’s become a lot more granular,” Ryan agrees. “For example, a reference point, we sold a lot of PS2s, but many of them were at $ 99, on a format that was too heavy, too heavily pirated. There’s metric engagement right now, and it’s clearly two axes. Can be seen at.: The number of people you engage with, and the length of time you spend engaging with each of those people.
“We are growing rapidly in terms of the number of people we think may have an engagement with the PS5. First of all, because we don’t start with a permanent start like we did with the PS4, when We were coming out of a very lackluster PS3 platform, with low levels of networking throughout the community. Now we’re starting with 100 million gamers, who we expect to transition a lot on the PS5. And it took a Huye is a tribal, networked community that will be deeply and deeply engaged with them. PlayStation 5 is, we hope, from the very early moment.
“The work we’ve done with the female protagonists, we see that it has increased the presence of a female demographic within the PlayStation community”
“The second is that the PS5 is built as a network device, with features and functionality that have been out of experience for the last six or seven years, giving network gamers a better, richer, deeper, faster, more intuitive network gaming Designed for. Experience. I’m sure you’ve seen [PS5] Unveiled UX – which is very difficult to do remotely, but I think people did a great job … all the adjectives I used before were in mind when we Designed that UX. ”
Establish Aadhaar is not the only measure of success for PlayStation 5, but it is clearly an important one. There is still a goal to exclude PS4 for PS5, and it is a challenge. The PS4 may be behind a disappointing PS3, but it also launched while its direct competitors were waving at Microsoft and Nintendo.
Ryan says the expanding demographics and “stickiness” of the PlayStation experience is one way in which it will bring in more customers. But there are other opportunities.
“We have done a lot of work with female protagonists in gaming, we are definitely seeing that buzz and consequently the female community’s demographic presence has increased,” he says. “And then there is clearly geography. The PS4 generation saw that we had made a lot of progress in Germany and the Middle East, and I think there was progress in those two areas even further. But equally, I think Asia – Outside Japan – – There are huge possibilities for us. And there are huge possibilities for us in Latin America. ”
The geographic reach of PlayStation is already very strong. The brand has a significant presence in markets where its competitors barely touch parts of Eastern Europe. And it is an advantage that the business plan is to make the most.
“When I was in charge of Europe, we had a very clear template for how we would open up the market,” Ryan continues. “Some markets opened up faster than others. It took a while in Germany, but we got there. The Middle East, parts of that were very difficult, but we got there. Very capable, on-the-ground Teams with simple but focused distribution., And proper investment in the brand and proper marketing, can get significant dividends very quickly.
“Latin America in particular can be very difficult. Currencies, import duties … geopolitical situation in a lot of countries. I won’t pretend that it will be easy, but when you look at the statistics, the mathematics of this is, of course, There are opportunities that we should exploit.
With the launch of PS5 just a few weeks away, most conversations have focused on the future of that platform. This is going to be a big launch. Ryan reiterates the fact that PS5s will have more PS5s at launch than PS4s – “seeing everything depends on us, it’s a big achievement,” he says, referring to the COVID-19 epidemic.
But the PS4 will remain an important platform for a while. The device has over 100 million subscribers, and recent hit shows such as The Last of Us: Part 2 are how audiences engage. In fact, with the coronovirus epidemic, the PS4 established base is as busy as it ever was. It is no surprise that Sony plans to make many of its upcoming titles playable on both the PS4 and PS5.
“Obviously, our eyes and our horizons have been lifted in relation to what’s possible with that PS4 community, based on what we’ve seen in the last six months,” says Ryan, an increase in players as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns. . “It can be quite powerful, because in 2021, 2022 … the PS4 community that we’ve talked about will be the vast majority of people on PlayStations at the time. It’s important that we keep them engaged and happy. And the last six months have demonstrated that we can do to the extent that was not possible when we were setting our brains to CODID. “
“I invite anyone to check out the launch window line-up of the PS4, or PS3, and we’re going to compare it to the PS5. There’s no comparison.”
If launching a new console during an epidemic was not tough enough, the second challenge for PlayStation is competition. Nintendo is in a strong position right now, while Xbox is rapidly purchasing new studios to ensure it can capture more customers for its Game Pass subscription service.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda for $ 7.5 billion raised some eyebrows, but this is really only a major moment for an industry that has been consolidating for some time. More game companies are going public and using those funds to fund and acquire them, while giants like Microsoft and Tencent are actively seeking teams to buy them. Sony is also joining with the $ 229 million acquisition of Spider-Man developer Insomniac.
Ryan says more acquisitions are possible, but he was keen to remind us that Sony’s existing studios have grown significantly over the last generation.
“It is probably not widely appreciated or understood, to what extent we have systematically increased our game development potential during this generation,” he says. “Apparently, it’s been helped by the acquisition of insomnia, and it’s amazing for them as part of the family. I’m just going to let anyone see and compare the launch window line-up of the PS4 generation, or PS3 generation, I will invite you. What we are going to bring to the PS5 equivalent stage. There is no comparison.
“That is not a mass-spending fruit, but very, very fast, meticulously planned biological evolution. Probably the best example I can give … I could have clearly talked about the naughty dog, But they’ve always been making great games. But let’s talk about the ghost of Sushima, which has been a significant joy and certainly a commercial delight to the extent that we didn’t. It was the versions for that work. Speaks which Sucker Punch has done to build on his previous canon.work.
“We’re lucky to have five or six studios that fall into that category … but that’s not luck, because we’ve been working on it for years and very quietly, in a very PlayStation way, we’re in these studios.” Something special has been created with. You can do it with frenzied acquisition, or measured acquisition, or you can do it systematically. ”
With changes across the industry, strong competitors, a global pandemic and a troubled economic situation, the PS5 makes a strange moment for the world and the video game business. But with a promising line-up for the next 12 months, and a busy group of PS4 players to pull from, Ryan will deliver on Sony’s new machine but remains positive.
“Now it’s really exciting,” he concludes. “We’re right on the verge. Everyone is four or five years old in this, and it’s really great to be close to a very big moment. You know, I’ve done all of them, and it’s easily someone’s Is the most extraordinary of them. Of them. “