Sony Battles Nintendo for the Mainstream Audience
Sony Entertainment has once again tapped into its video game prowess and last week released a new, lighter version of its iconic gaming console – the PlayStation 3.
“It is certainly a cleaner, sleeker model that takes up less space and looks cool,” said Mike Hickey, video game industry analyst for National Alliance.
The PlayStation 3 Superslim features two different versions with 120 and 500 GB storage options and comes in a bundle with a free video game – either Uncharted 3 Game of the Year Edition or Assasin’s Creed 3. The console is made to pamper the so-called “hardcore gamers” but is also a response to the increasing digitalization happening across the industry. With the bigger storage option, customers will be able to download and save large amounts of games, movies, music or other digital content.
!m(/uploads/story/493/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)”While we certainly use gaming as our foundation, the PS3 is a complete entertainment center in the living room,” John Koller of the PlayStation hardware team told AFP.
Sony is also expected to launch its “Playstation Mobile” service on 3 October, through which its customers will be able to download games on their tablets or smartphones.
According to analysts, Sony’s slimmer version of its PS3 main competition in the Christmas sales warwill be the Wii U. Nintendo’s latest console is expected to go on sale in the UK on 30 November for the price of £250 and will introduce new titles such as “Super Mario” and “Call of Duty”.
By the end of the year another PlayStation 3 variation is expected to hit the market– the Japanese company has made a low-cost version of its console, which will be bundled with a variety of family oriented games. According to the Fergal Gara, managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment, retailers will set the price of the new PS3 somewhere between £150 and £180, undercutting Nintendo’s new console. This will mark an attempt by Sony to target a more mainstream audience and shift away from its usual teenager customer base. Games such as Wonderbook: Book of Spells based on the Harry Potter universe, where players will learn and enact spells in a virtual world, are meant to be a “significant driver” for the new console. “The video game market may have peaked in the UK but it is only just at the top of the hill. There is a natural lull as people wait for the next big thing,” Mr Gara said as quoted by The Times.
Sony has recently announced it is going to continue support the PlayStation 3 “as long as there is development spigot that’s running hot”. Some observers in the gaming industry have interpreted this as a sign that PlayStation 4 is not due for launch for at least two more years. Others have simply discarded the message as a marketing strategy meant to convince consumers to spend money in this pre-Christmas season on the PS3 by reassuring them that there are plenty of games developed and in-development for the console.
For the rest of the year and into 2013, Sony will be battling Nintendo’s innovative Wii U and Microsoft’s synergetic Xbox 360 for the largest share in a market that is yet to reach its full potential customer base even in developed countries.
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