Why Sony Thinks PS4 Is a Massive Success

"Many people [who own a PS4] didn't used to have any last-gen console, even Nintendo Wii."

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Back in August, PlayStation boss Shuhei Yoshida said Sony was mystified by the smashing success of the PlayStation 4. At the time, he said the system's overwhelming popularity "defied the conventional thinking," which the executive said could in fact even be a problem. To understand where a platform is going, you need to know how it got there, he argued.

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Now, Yoshida says he might have found that answer, or at least gotten closer to it.

Speaking with GameSpot this week at PlayStation Experience, Yoshida started off by saying the analysts who predicted new consoles would be a failure were "clearly wrong."

"But when you ask the question; what did the PS4 and Xbox One do better than PS3 or Xbox 360, it's a harder question almost to answer," he said.

As of November, the PS4 hold sold 30 million units worldwide. Microsoft has not announced any new Xbox One sales numbers, but that platform is selling well, too.

Compared to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the PS4 and and Xbox One are up on a double-digit percentage basis compared to where the last-generation consoles were over the same period of time.

Yoshida said the PS4's focus "completely shifted" compared to the PS3's. With the PS3, Sony attempted to build a "super-computer," he said. The idea was that developers would quickly understand how to make the most of the hardware and the platform would be a rousing success. But that didn't exactly happen. As it turned out, the PS3's Cell processor wasn't the simplest to understand right away, and it "took a long time" for developers to get fully acclimated to the system.

When setting out to design the PS4, Sony's planning teams changed course.

"So what we really focused on for PS4 was ease of development and ease of use by consumers and developers," he said. "And I think that's paying off really handsomely."

Yoshida went on to say that the PS4's ease-of-use has attracted tons of indie developers (their support is "really, really helping" the PS4 overall, he said), as well as big-name studios like Electronic Arts, Activision, and Sony's own studios.

This combines to create a "vibrant, exciting offering for consumers," Yoshida said. "I feel like it can be compared to the excitement of the PS1 days almost."

Another reason why the PS4 has enjoyed such strong success, according to Yoshida, is that it's attracting people who never owned any last-generation console.

"We see numbers of people coming back to console," he said. "Many people [who own a PS4] didn't used to have any last-gen console, even Nintendo Wii. Those people are coming back."

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