In 1995, Sony (NYSE:
) gave birth to a brand that became one of the strongest and most
resilient around the world - PlayStation.
Not since the creation of the Walkman had Sony produced a
machine that held so much power and fostered so much fan loyalty.
The PlayStation 4 event, which was streamed live on February 20
more than eight million people
, achieved higher ratings than many TV shows.
In fact, it was watched by more people than
NBC's entire Thursday night lineup
26 million people
watched the debut PlayStation 4 trailer on YouTube last month,
making it the most watched ad on the website. The trailer proved
to be more popular than an ad from Samsung Mobile USA, which was
viewed 21 million times.
have signed up for GameStop's (NYSE:
) "First To Know" list, which provides subscribers with info on
when they can pre-order PlayStation 4 hardware, games and
Fizziology, a social media research firm that has a
remarkable track record
in predicting box office success, expects PlayStation 4 to be
this holiday season.
All of this points to a couple of things. First, it reinforces
the strength of the PlayStation brand. Any doubt that investors
may have had was washed away the moment Sony unveiled the new
Second, it shows that consumers are confident in Sony's
ability to deliver a desirable game machine after only a few
games were introduced.
Despite this achievement, PlayStation's success seems to be
limited to game consoles and the company's first handheld,
PS Vita, the company's second handheld, struggled at retail
last year. The unit recently experienced renewed interest and
rising sales in Japan
after the price was cut in that nation, but the device still has
a long way to go before it can match sales of the PSP, which
topped 76 million
The same cannot be said for PSPGo, the weird alternative to
the original PSP. Instead of adding new features to the mix,
PSPGo discarded the UMD (Universal Media Disc) slot. Sony also
modified the form factor, creating a slide-out gamepad that
resembled the slide-out keyboards of old smartphones.
Consumers were not enthused by this device, which quickly
disappeared from the market and is frequently referred to as a
After releasing the PSPGo, Sony was inspired to develop an
Android phone with a similar design. While the device was
Sony has been reluctant to release sales data for its first
motion controller, PS Move, but the company's UK managing
that sales could have been better.
In March 2012,
reported that Sony had shipped (not sold) a total of 10.5 million
units. Sony has not provided any further updates regarding how
the controller is performing.
Ten million might sound like a lot, but it is less than half
24 million Kinect units
sold by Microsoft (NASDAQ:
PocketStation, an unusual memory card peripheral that featured
a tiny screen, seemed to be a hit after selling a few million
units in Japan. Sony had contemplated a worldwide release but
discontinue the device
All of these were lost opportunities to further the
PlayStation brand. While Amazon (NASDAQ:
) has successfully evolved the Kindle beyond its e-reader roots,
and while Apple (NASDAQ:
) has taken its iDevice concept beyond Macs and MP3 players, Sony
has been unable to take the PlayStation brand to another
The new console will do very well at retail. It might even
break a few sales records. Unless something changes, however,
that may be as far as the brand goes.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer
of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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