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Forums - Sony Discussion - Is the PS4 Sony's Most Successful Console to Date?

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Which is Sony's Most "Successful" Console?

PS2 40 58.82%
 
PS4 28 41.18%
 
Total:68

I guess this question on how you define "Successful".

Do you think it can be reasonable argued that the PS4 is Sony's most successful console to date? The obvious other contender is the PS2. It is quite apparent that the PS4 won't be able to match the PS2's hardware total. But is that the only way to compare which of the two even numbered consoles is more successful.

The gaming industry is a lot different than it was in the PS2 era. There was no digital software distribution or paid subscription services both of which are huge parts of Sony's gaming business now. The PS4 has sold more software and made more profit than the PS2. It won't ever reach the mass market ($129) price of the PS2.

Nor was the PS4 ever as dominant against the competition as the PS2 was over its contemporaries.

Sony's 1st party software has also  achieved a new level of acclaim and sale success during the PS4 era.

So what do you say? Is the PS4 Sony's most successful console or is PS2 still the king?



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Financially, yes. It should be their most successful system by a distance thanks to the amount of software it has sold, especially through their own PSN store, subscriptions, DLC, microtransactions, etc.

Last edited by Hiku - on 04 June 2021

It is.

Back in the PS2 days, Sony pursued the goal of pushing everyone else out of the console market, so early and aggressive price cuts hurt the profitability of the PS2. In the end it doubly hurt because neither Nintendo or Microsoft called it quits, so it was all for nothing.

On the other hand, with the PS4 Sony knew that neither Nintendo or Microsoft will make an exit, so they rode the generation out without making any further price cuts. Paid subscription services and a digital storefront aided profitability to a degree that the PS2 could never achieve.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

I'm gonna go against the grain and say the PS2. There were about 3,800 games released for it. Nowadays, that's not too much. After all, there are thousands and thousands of digital-only titles. But back then, that was enormous. The PS1 was really the only other console that came close to that physical library in sheer numbers. Now, don't get me wrong. The PS2 had its fair share of shovelware. It undeniably had the most out of sixth generation consoles, but that's to be expected when it was on top.

PS2 was the first console to have a DVD player. While it didn't make much of a difference in it sales, it was an incredible feature for the early 2000s. PS2 also played 95% or more of PS1 titles. And you didn't need an adapter like you did with the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) to play Master System games.

PS2 had hundreds of titles exclusive to it, from Sony games to a lot of third-party titles. New PS2 hardware also stayed relevant for years and years due to the PS3's early roadblocks. Sony doesn't seem to want to abandon their PS4 base yet (hence some of the new cross-platform announcements) but they've brought PS4 hardware production to a screeching halt, while still technically making the console.

And older consoles don't have DRM bullcrap or microtransactions. That's always nice. PS2 was debatably Sony's last plug and play home console, though PS3 is in some ways (in some ways not).

The PS2 is the best-selling video game platform of all-time, and maybe only the Switch has a chance of beating it.



Lifetime Sales Predictions 

Switch: 125 million (was 73, then 96, then 113 million)

PS5: 105 million Xbox Series S/X: 60 million

PS4: 122 mil (was 100 then 130 million) Xbox One: 50 mil (was 50 then 55 mil)

3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)

"Let go your earthly tether, enter the void, empty and become wind." - Guru Laghima

Back around December 2020, an “analyst” suggested that PS4 is the most profitable console in history (at that time)

So yeah, is Sony’s most successful console.



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It's a close call, but I have to give it to the PS2.  A system does have to be profitable in order to be successful (and that is why the PS3 was a failure), but maximizing profit is not the actual purpose of a business.  According to Peter Drucker, the purpose of a business is to make a customer.  Which system made the most customers?  The PS2.

Obviously the PS2 sold the most systems.  However, this is because Sony was actually trying to make the most customers during the PS2 era.  The PS2 was a huge expansion over the PS1.  The PS1 was the best selling system in its day, and yet the PS2 went 50m+ over the PS1's hardware sales.  They kept expanding the PS2 into new markets.  And they eventually dropped the price to $99.99 which was a third of it's starting price.  They were doing everything they could to make new customers.  The PS2 was still profitable during it's $99 price era.  It's not like they were cutting off their own hand to make customers.  Instead they made many new customers while remaining profitable.

On the other hand the PS4 did not make anywhere near this effort to expand into new markets.  Most importantly, it didn't drop the price below $300.  If they were going to do price cuts comparable to the PS2, then they should have at least gone down to $150.  This means that they chose more profits over more customers.  That's a big mark against the PS4.  It is not expensive for them to make PS4's anymore.  They could have easily dropped the price, but they chose not to and that left millions of people out of the gaming market.

On top of that I have to give the PS2 some bonus points for the following reasons:
1. Better software diversity.  A fair amount of those PS4 software sales are people releasing a CoD or Assassin's Creed every year.
2. Bigger game library.  Wikipedia lists PS4 at 3222 and many of those games are digital only.  PS2 has 4380 games and they are all physical.
3. Tougher competition.  The internet is full of people who keep praising the XBox, Gamecube and even the Dreamcast.  In spite of this the PS2 clobbered them all, because it was just that good of a system.  When is the last time you heard someone praising the XBox1?  Somehow it still sold about double what the original XBox sold.  Competition just wasn't very tough during Gen 8.



The_Liquid_Laser said:

It's a close call, but I have to give it to the PS2.  A system does have to be profitable in order to be successful (and that is why the PS3 was a failure), but maximizing profit is not the actual purpose of a business.  According to Peter Drucker, the purpose of a business is to make a customer.  Which system made the most customers?  The PS2.

Basically this. 



While the PS4 is no doubt their most profitable system, even adjusting for inflating, I think the PS2 and even the PS1 were bigger succeses for PlayStation as a brand and Sony as a company, cementing their place as the market leader in an industry they had just entered. They made pretty much the biggest customer base and did it quicker than anyone else had, and as we should all be aware of, brand loyalty is a pretty big deal in the console industry. They set the stage so future consoles simply had to play out their part.



Major Switch Titles Launch Aligned

2021 predictions:

  • Switch - 27m
  • PS5 - 15.5m
  • Xbox Series - 10m

The_Liquid_Laser said:

A system does have to be profitable in order to be successful (and that is why the PS3 was a failure), but maximizing profit is not the actual purpose of a business.  According to Peter Drucker, the purpose of a business is to make a customer.  Which system made the most customers?  The PS2.

Purpose and success are different things though.
Two companies can have the same purpose, and succeed at it differently.

Company A sells 50 million consoles, and 100 million games.
Company B sells 50 million consoles, and 0 games.

That sentence was written 60 years ago, and doesn't apply to something like selling a console at a loss.

If the purpose of the company ends at the console sale, they'd go bankrupt and be out of business. So that can't be it.

He defines a customer as someone that pays for goods and services and keeps the company in business. And just buying a console usually does not do that. Even if the system is not sold at a loss (of what the components cost), it still doesn't recoup the expenses that went into getting the systems unto store shelves. Research & Development costs, advertisement, logistics, shipping, packaging, factory, wages, licensing, etc.

That's why selling software is the goal. And PS4 sold the most software.
Additionally it made more customers (by Peter Drucker's definition) through selling subscription services, movies, microtransactions, etc.
Things that were not available on PS2.

Last edited by Hiku - on 04 June 2021

The_Liquid_Laser said:

It's a close call, but I have to give it to the PS2.  A system does have to be profitable in order to be successful (and that is why the PS3 was a failure), but maximizing profit is not the actual purpose of a business.  According to Peter Drucker, the purpose of a business is to make a customer.  Which system made the most customers?  The PS2.

That is a total nonsense statement about the purpose of a business.  Businesses exist to maximize the total return to shareholders (or whatever term you want to use for rhe owners)  That means maximizing profit, generally in the long term.  Getting customers is an important part of that, but a customer is of no value if you do not profit from them.