Sony’s working smart. Not Hard.

Posted April 2, 2015 by Sean Capri in Video Games
Batman Arkham Knight PS4 Limited Edition

It’s all in the hips.

Have you ever noticed how calmly a duck looks as it swims? Above the water, everything’s cool, baby! But that duck isn’t motoring along by chance. Below the surface, coordinated and powerful motions drive the duck to its destination.

Sony is a duck, swimming along and looking good doing it. Their effortlessness is a result of confidence. And their confidence is a product of the ongoing execution of a sound plan: appeal to gamers first. This week’s announcement of a Limited Edition Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundle, featuring a custom faceplate and DualShock 4, is the ultimate illustration of Sony’s dedication to gamers.

That’s not to say Microsoft has been letting Sony walk away with this position. Microsoft has been working tirelessly to establish a leading position, at least perceptually, in the minds of gamers. Massively expensive and seemingly endless ad campaigns, countless bundles, including heavy hitting franchises like FIFA and Assassin’s Creed, and aggressive price drops show Xbox One is taking this now-gen thing seriously, now. But it might be a little late and a little misguided; two signs of a knee-jerk change of plans. A topic for another discussion, or the comments below, if you like.

You didn’t even know you wanted this and now it’s all you can think about.

Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 Console

Sure it’s sexy. But does it affix to my utility belt?

Sony shows it is intimately in touch with gamers and has dedicated a Limited Edition console to what many perceive as the first “true” next-gen title. Sony did the same with Destiny. These sorts of things don’t just happen. These are coordinated and powerful motions, driving Sony forward.

Without requiring a timed-exclusive and thinking creatively, the PlayStation 4 has hardwired a strong perceptual connection with two giant, hardcore, and gamer-targeted titles, each with their own gravitational pull. This force is more powerful than any commercial or value proposition can ever be. It is about brand and its is about being cool and hip (as the kids say, I’m sure).

Oh and by the way, I’m not sure about you, but after hearing about the Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundle, I completely forgot about all that Halo 5: Guardians excitement this past weekend. In fact, I nearly forgot to mention it here. Microsoft says: we have Halo – mic drop.

Then Sony drives the Batmobile over the mic and everyone forgets why it was on the ground to begin with. Effortlessly. Like it was all part of the plan; because it was. Since launch, the PS4 has been on trend. And when Sony’s got a bit of a swagger going, good things happen for gamers. Too much of a swagger gets us a PS3 launch, so let’s just take this in stride, shall we?

Two steps forward. No looking back.

On the other side of the fence, Xbox seems to be, strategically speaking, where Nintendo is. These two companies seem to be relying heavily on beloved, established, and exclusive franchises to sell consoles. The only problem is that once you start looking at exclusives, these games have to be in a league of their own. And so far, arguably none of the exclusives (including PS4) seem to have won the illustrious title of Best of Next-Gen. We certainly haven’t had that Gears of War moment like we did with Xbox 360. And with Uncharted 4 now delayed until 2016, Sony understands that we might not have another moment like this, with an exclusive title, for some time.

Sony’s gamer-first strategy answers the question “which console should I buy?” before consumers even ask it. I own all three systems and know games look gorgeous on each of them. Mario Kart 8, to me, can go toe-to-toe with Sunset Overdrive or Destiny in the visuals department. Yet, Sony has me convinced that games will be better on PS4; certainly, enough to persuade me to choose the PlayStation version of games like Shadow of Mordor, Destiny, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, and so many other cross-platform games.

A Limited Edition Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 Bundle. This wasn’t just an announcement. This was a power move by Sony. A display of strength and fortitude. And if I’m an Xbox or Wii U executive, I’m intimidated. As a gamer, I celebrate these moments as free-form competition has three juggernaut console companies imagining new ways to get us excited about game.

About the Author

Sean Capri

I am a beady-eyed Canadian. I play video games and feed/walk my three dogs.