Is Sony ‘creating the future’ too soon?

Roberto Campos

Two words spoken during Sony’s presentation about “the future” changed the landscape of the video game industry. Those two words were “PlayStation 4.”

As you would expect, Sony’s PlayStation 4 embodies what it thinks the future of gaming will gravitate toward, and Sony even said its release window would be the holiday season 2013.

But it forgot to address one very important question: how much will this new piece of hardware cost?

When the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox 720 hit shelves, they’re probably going to cost somewhere around $399.99. That’s a hefty amount of money nowadays, especially for the college student demographic.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 68 percent of gamers are 18 years old or older. That’s a demographic that’s investing funds in things like secondary education and fighting jobs in a difficult market – a large demographic that might not be financially ready for the new consoles.

Because of the effects of the recession, the next-generation of consoles – the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 – are going to be launched into a market where consumers are going to be asking, “What do these new consoles have that mine doesn’t?”

Sony and Microsoft won’t be able to rely on the quality of graphics alone to sell their new hardware, which has often been a selling point in the past, along with consumers’ desires to own the next big thing.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are still fine pieces of hardware that aren’t functionally obsolete. Although game developers have plateaued, in a sense, with the technological capabilities of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the quality of games hasn’t suffered. Some of the best games have come out in the last two years.

Sony and Microsoft are attempting to convince people to jump ship towards the future of gaming. But the cold, hard truth is that people may not be willing to jump just yet because the price may be too steep.

It will be interesting to see how successful the launches of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 consoles are because the majority of the target demographic might not have the money or may remain unconvinced that they need to buy this new technology.

While the future seems exciting, nothing about the PlayStation 4 screams, “I absolutely have to have you.” These new consoles may entice the hardcore gamer to purchase them, but now that gaming has become so mainstream, the hardcore gamers make up less of the market share than they used to.

Come the holiday season 2013, people’s wallets will determine if there’s a need for new consoles or if Sony jumped the gun early when creating the future.