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Forums - Sales Discussion - Why Sonys Play Station is the standard for home consoles since 1994 ?

PS being the standard is incorrect they simply made gaming mainstream but other companies are the ones who have done the standard features in home consoles today:

NEC: First Internal Memory 
Nintendo: First modern console and controller, Practical Motion Control, Shoulder Buttons, Modern Analogue Stick, Wireless Controller, Rumble, Retro Service (VC)
SEGA: Online, CD Format, Memory Cards, Online Connectivity out the box, Analogue Triggers
MS: Integrated HDD, Modern Online Ecosystem, Universal Integrated Chat, Introduced Digital Distribution



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DonFerrari said:

Which disc format did consoles released after PS3? PS4, X1 and WiiU all used BD. So they defined the standard with PS3 as well =p

No, it didn‘t. Nintendo never follows Sony. On the other hand Sony followed Microsoft which defined standards for online gaming, console shooters, paying for online gaming and indie games on consoles (Nintendo adapted the two latter standards as well).



Sony has a tried and tested formula with the Sony Playstation, I will show why.

a) Sony has a lot of influence on the overall trends in the mainstream.
They own film studios, music studios, game studios and have a lot of extra money to market them. Sony actually have the power to tune people into certain forms of entertainment, and push the interest for them through marketing. In that sense, they have an edge.

b) Sony has marketing brand and cash power
Sony has always been a relevant brand, even from before the Playstation. Who doesn't remember the walkman, Sony TVs or stereo tape players? The SONY brand has been in the psyche of consumers for a long time, and the company has been able to position themselves in the favors of people for a long time. They also have the cash to push big marketing campaigns like they do during sporting events. This kind of marketing and brand power is what helps them sell games in the area of sports and simulation (like Gran Turismo). Their brand is also not limited to Video Games, and if Sony is in a market, it is because they plan on winning in it. If they are losing money, they get out. This gives them a sense of reliability that a competitor like Nintendo might not enjoy in the home console market. Nintendo has had sure-fire hits with the portables, but not with the home consoles.

c) Sony is strong in 3rd party relations
Sony has developped an ability to work with 3rd parties, often developing very strong bonds of success with their partners. Upon reading the FFVII Polygon article, we got to peek inside how Sony cultivates its relationships with 3rd party partners. In order to build these strong ties, their recipe stands on the following factors: money (lots of money), listening to the needs of 3rd parties (since they are typically the ones driving the console) and making decisions based on that feedback, and their track record. These factors make Sony the go-to provider for a 3rd party video game platform. While Microsoft has its own strength to capture 3rd party partners, such as cross-compatibility with computers and simplification of the development process, Sony has a more complete package to allure 3rd parties.
https://www.polygon.com/a/final-fantasy-7

d) Sony has built a library of exclusive IPs
Over the 4 generations that Sony has been a part of the console race, they have built up a decent port-folio of exclusive Intellectual Properties, further strengthening their games library, and buffing their exclusive games selection, making the Playstation more attractive than their direct competitor MS from a games library perspective.

e) Sony aims for diversity, quality and broadness in games
Sony seeks to work with as many partners as possible to offer the most diverse, the broadest library and the one with the highest overall quality. This is what makes the Playstation a very solid proposition, because its library is known to offer games of high quality for all tastes.

f) Sony sticks to tried formulas
It's no secret that the Playstation is a console that takes ideas that worked and puts them to use. A perfect example is the dual-shock controller, which was the main controller for the playstation for the majority of its lifespan. The controller seldom changed, and stuck to a proven shape and set of buttons. The Playstation included the Move only when it was proven as a sensation on the Wii. Sony will once in a while play with new ways of playing, but never in a way that is central to the console, such as the EyeToy peripheral, or PS VR.

g) Sony is not afraid to copy its competitors
Steve Jobs famously said in 1996: "Picasso had a saying -- 'good artists copy; great artists steal' -- and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." From PSBR to Resistance, to Crash Team Racing, to the PS Move, Sony has never been ashamed of copying ideas from its competitors. This keeps them relevant when the competition is gaining an edge in the market, and attenuates the spotlight their competitor is given.

h) Sony is an electronics company first, then a game-maker
For this reason, Sony is able to make the Playstation a full media device since the very first playstation which was able to play back CDs. The PS2 was DVD-playback ready, the PS3 could play blu-ray disks and the PS4 Pro had 4k capabilities. This fits well with the brand image Sony has as a maker of reliable electronics hardware, and gives the Playstation extra selling features.

Having said all that, there is no such thing as a console standard, and such a thing is not desirable for gamers, who need variety and competition so that there can be different machines living in the market at the same time, allowing for more freedom to choose a preference. To push for a console standard is to push for conformity, and that is generally not desirable.

Edit: One more point. The PS3 and PS4 in the list have an issue. Firstly, the PS3 sold 80m, which made it basically tied to the X360 in sales worldwide, while the Wii outsold it. The PS4 number is also an issue because the PS4 is strong everywhere except in Japan, where it is being severly beaten by the Switch. This puts into question the idea of the Playstation being the standard for home consoles since 1994, since the numbers don't show that the PS3 was in 2nd or last place depending on how you look at it, and the PS4 is strong everywhere but not in Japan.

Last edited by padib - on 08 June 2020

For all the talk about "Sony" brand meaning so much in the 90s, there sure wasn't much evidence of that early on.

The Saturn was outselling the Playstation quite easily in Japan for example.

The N64 was destroying the Playstation's sales pace in North America and also had a way stronger launch in Japan.

Money-hatting IPs like Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider is when the Playstation started to accelerate in sales, not their brand.

They would have gotten beat by the N64 plain and simple if Nintendo had compromised with their close partners like Squaresoft and Capcom and used CD-ROM. You could still have had cartridge based games too if that's what Miyamoto wanted. They would not have been able to compete against Nintendo's 1st party IP of the day like Mario 64, GoldenEye, Zelda: OoT, Mario Kart 64, etc. on top of things like Nintendo having exclusive Star Wars games and 3rd party titles like Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2/3 (day and date), Dino Crisis, Chrono Cross, etc. 



DonFerrari said:
OTBWY said:
The PS wasn't the standard for home consoles in 1994, 95, or 96. The SNES was.

And besides, why are you counting PS3?

Which disc format did consoles released after PS3? PS4, X1 and WiiU all used BD. So they defined the standard with PS3 as well =p

Hard Disk format. The storage media used to get the game home from the store isn't really as important as the controller standard that Nintendo has set. My maths tells me that the joycon is about to become the most popular/best selling controller ever.



Nov 2016 - NES outsells PS1 (JP)

Don't Play Stationary 4 ever. Switch!

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EnricoPallazzo said:
...... will have the best library of first party games which have been built since PS1 and most likely will be increased during the generation.....

must......not......get.....myself.....banned



Nov 2016 - NES outsells PS1 (JP)

Don't Play Stationary 4 ever. Switch!

Soundwave said:

For all the talk about "Sony" brand meaning so much in the 90s, there sure wasn't much evidence of that early on.

The Saturn was outselling the Playstation quite easily in Japan for example.

The N64 was destroying the Playstation's sales pace in North America and also had a way stronger launch in Japan.

Money-hatting IPs like Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider is when the Playstation started to accelerate in sales, not their brand.

They would have gotten beat by the N64 plain and simple if Nintendo had compromised with their close partners like Squaresoft and Capcom and used CD-ROM. You could still have had cartridge based games too if that's what Miyamoto wanted. They would not have been able to compete against Nintendo's 1st party IP of the day like Mario 64, GoldenEye, Zelda: OoT, Mario Kart 64, etc. on top of things like Nintendo having exclusive Star Wars games and 3rd party titles like Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2/3 (day and date), Dino Crisis, Chrono Cross, etc. 

I think people underestimate the huge power Sony had as a company back then. They were "the" electronics company. Always setting out for market standards when it came to formats and other media. Some failed hard like Betamax, but then you have Trinitron or the Walkman. And with that power, they put a huge marketing budget behind it. First: moneyhatting Japanese developers (and in the west to some extent), using old fashioned Tokyo relations (as opposed to Nintendo's Kyoto relations) and driving that with massive marketing worth billions today and utilizing their extensive global distribution network. They were definitely not some kind of underdog. They were more like IBM coming into the personal computer market. 



Playstation 1 profited from Nintendo's mistakes and from there on they just could go on "cruse mode", meaning doing what the average gamer expects from you and don't risk anything. I don't mean it as a critic - it's a brilliant strategy once you are the king.

Re Nintendo's mistakes: I think it has one name: Hiroshi Yamauchi the old Predident and CEO of Nintendo. He actually never understood the videogames market, all the weird and plainly wrong decisions are coming from him. He was actually a real mortgage for Nintendo. He's doing actually had a negative effect on Nintendo long after he stepped down as President and CEO. However, there's one real big talent he had: He really had a good nose for hiring the right people. Who would hire a young uknown designer and give him great freedom (Shigeru Miyamoto)? Who would hire a weird electronic engineer with weird ideas and give him great freedom (Gumpei Yokoi, inventor of Game Boy)? Who would hire a banker and bring him into your videogames company (Tatsumi Kimishima, unknown quite but very imporant man behind the scense, later on became interim President and CEO)?



It is funny people are saying if Sony didn’t Have FF7 if this if that, Sony won, it is not that deep.



OTBWY said:
Soundwave said:

For all the talk about "Sony" brand meaning so much in the 90s, there sure wasn't much evidence of that early on.

The Saturn was outselling the Playstation quite easily in Japan for example.

The N64 was destroying the Playstation's sales pace in North America and also had a way stronger launch in Japan.

Money-hatting IPs like Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider is when the Playstation started to accelerate in sales, not their brand.

They would have gotten beat by the N64 plain and simple if Nintendo had compromised with their close partners like Squaresoft and Capcom and used CD-ROM. You could still have had cartridge based games too if that's what Miyamoto wanted. They would not have been able to compete against Nintendo's 1st party IP of the day like Mario 64, GoldenEye, Zelda: OoT, Mario Kart 64, etc. on top of things like Nintendo having exclusive Star Wars games and 3rd party titles like Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2/3 (day and date), Dino Crisis, Chrono Cross, etc. 

I think people underestimate the huge power Sony had as a company back then. They were "the" electronics company. Always setting out for market standards when it came to formats and other media. Some failed hard like Betamax, but then you have Trinitron or the Walkman. And with that power, they put a huge marketing budget behind it. First: moneyhatting Japanese developers (and in the west to some extent), using old fashioned Tokyo relations (as opposed to Nintendo's Kyoto relations) and driving that with massive marketing worth billions today and utilizing their extensive global distribution network. They were definitely not some kind of underdog. They were more like IBM coming into the personal computer market. 

I was there, I remember what it was. In fact I remember reading about the Playstation in 1991 when it was the SNES CD-drive. 

They basically aped the Super Nintendo and stole the 3rd party developers and locked them out from making Sega games. Once they got a few key ones on board the others followed suit. 

That was basically it. 

But early on? The Playstation was getting its ass kicked rather handily in several key markets. The N64 had way more hype and was selling way faster than the Playstation in the US and Japan. In Japan the Saturn was also outselling the Playstation. 

People were not that impressed with the brand "Sony", yeah they were a popular electronics brand but one of many, they were not anything like say Apple where the brand has a fanatical following. If you had a Panasonic stereo instead of a Sony one, no one cared and Beta was seen as a huge failure/laughing stock. 

The "Walkman" was old news by the mid-90s, dozens of different electronic companies had portable cassette players, it wasn't a big deal to specifically have the Sony branded one.