Sony Acknowledges it's the Underdog in America
"We never took [Microsoft] lightly."
by Luke Karmali
October 3, 2013
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Sony's Shuhei Yoshida has expressed his admiration for Microsoft's decision to change the Xbox One, saying competition is healthy.
In an interview with Games Industry, the Sony Worldwide Studios boss acknowledged the company faces a fight to make the PlayStation 4 the dominant console in North America, but he's glad that Microsoft changed aspects of the Xbox One to make things harder for Sony.
"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."
We never took them lightly. Especially in the States, we are the challenger - we're trying to compete with them.
When the interviewer suggested strong PS4 pre-orders were due to Microsoft mis-marketing the Xbox One, Yoshida was quick to disagree, calling the rival company's efforts "great". Asked to expand upon this further, he explained that the swiftness with which policy changes were embraced showed Microsoft was committed to gamers, which can only be a good thing for consumers.
"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."
Despite this appreciation for Microsoft, Yoshida is keen to emphasise the strengths of the PlayStation 4; specifically the fact that the console is completely gamer-focused, with a hardware design that'll enable developers from all walks of life to coax the best out of the machine in the years ahead.
[The changes show] how smart they are, and it shows their dedication to making Xbox One successful.
"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 due to launch globally on November 22, while the PlayStation 4 will be available in North America on November 15 and in Europe on November 29. Both are available to pre-order/reserve now at online retailers in multiple territories.