The past few years have been a bit rough for the videogame industry. It is still a growing industry, which makes it difficult to really fathom how it could be a rough few years, but we’ve seen feast or famine for a lot of companies, as well as some poor decisions and a lot of layoffs and closures. It seems to be a part of the natural ebb and flow of the gaming world; some publishers will fail, some development houses will be closed and lots of personnel will come and go. The thing is, if anyone expected the gaming juggernaut of Sony to be in any danger, they were probably some sort of sage. The Sony brand in general has been hurt over the past few years with their sterling reputation for consumer electronics still around, but many opting for other, cheaper brands.
We’ve seen Sony scramble to remain profitable within the past year, while still losing tons of money, but the stark reality that has faced Sony for a while is not a pretty one. The PlayStation brand is sadly a part of the problems for Sony as the PlayStation 3 was a costly device to manufacture, market and support, all while still lagging to the Wii as well as the Xbox 360 for most of its tenure on the market. It isn’t that they’ve done poorly, just that they haven’t had as much luck as they have in the past where the PlayStation 2 was clearly the industry leader for many years, that magic was simply not there for the PS3.
It isn’t even like Sony is losing a lot of money on the PS3, in fact, they are just about breaking even on it, which isn’t exactly bad, but for a capitalist venture, it isn’t exactly what they want, either. Companies are not in business to break even, they are in business to make a profit, which is something that the PlayStation brand has not been doing for Sony as much as it has in the past. This is why the upcoming announcement of the Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) is going to be such a big deal. This is coming at a pivotal time in the world of technology where we are seeing shifts towards mobile devices and tablets and every TV, DVD player and set-top box offers a ton of features, even some games.
Not to be overly dramatic, but the PlayStation 4 is really a do-or-die product for Sony’s PlayStation brand. I simply cannot see Sony keeping the brand alive or not selling it off unless it can show them some serious profits. The PS3 generation might be a lost cause, but we’ve seen some dramatic shifts between console popularity between the generations, so there could be a shift back to Sony this time around if the PlayStation 4 can deliver the right features at the right price at the right time for gamers.
So we wait with baited breath for Sony’s big announcement and hope that they don’t make too many flubs, because it is a delicate situation resembling a tight rope walk right now.