Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida has revealed his admiration for Microsoft’s swift decision to change their polices associated with the Xbox One. But despite his admiration he admits Sony has a tough fight ahead of them to take control over the North American games market.
In an interview with Games Industry Yoshida expressed his opinion on competition, “It’s always great to have two companies fighting each other,” he said. “People like it; it creates a news story. The games media will cover any platform launch, but the general media – a big Sony versus Microsoft battle is a bigger story. Microsoft launching Xbox One in the same year, the same Christmas – people compare them, lots of news stories are written.”
When it was suggested that the PS4’s strong pre-orders were due to the Xbox One’s controversial restrictions, and Microsoft’s poor marketing Yoshida was quick to deny these claims. He called Microsoft’s efforts “great”. Yoshida explained that Microsoft showed a great sign of acknowledging their fans’ demand.
“We know they’re very smart people,” he said. “It’s great that they were able to quickly realise that some of the things they were doing were not popular, and were able to make really quick decisions to change some of those things – even things that their engineering group must have spent a lot of time preparing before the launch. It must have been a very tough time for them. That shows how smart they are, and it shows their dedication to making Xbox One successful.
“We never took them lightly. Especially in the States, we are the challenger – we’re trying to compete with them. Some of the messaging that they stumbled on just gave us more chances to compete with them in the States. Other markets are very different – in Europe, we have a larger market share and in Japan, we have a much longer history of being here. Being consistent and persistent helps; the legacy and people’s associations with the brand, their memories of having a great time before.”
Yoshida concluded by reiterating Sony’s stance with the PS4. Their sole aim is to provide hardware that is gamer focused.
“We continue to say what we’ve been saying since February,” he said. “PS4 is really designed for consumers and focused on how people want to play games. At the same time, we’ve really made sure that it’s hardware which game developers will enjoy making games on. We want consumers to look at how much fun it is to use this system, not just for playing games but for finding out about games and sharing the experience with other people.
“Something that can be a weakness but can be a very strong asset for the PlayStation team is the management team that we have. Many of us in key positions have gone through all the transitions from the launch of PS1. Andrew House, Jack Tretton, myself and many of the executives were all there at the beginning. We’ve gone through great times and pretty difficult times together. I’ve never worked for another company, so I can just imagine, but we have a very efficient way of discussing issues and being open and honest. We make quick decisions when necessary, and that’s something that’s very fresh to me.”
The Xbox One is set to launch globally in 13 territories on November 22. The PS4 will be available on November 15 in North America and November 29 in Europe.