PS4 is the biggest launch in Canadian gaming history – Sony

Sony Canada exec Steve Turvey also notes importance of maintaining brand loyalty for “extremely small” number with defective PS4s.

PS4 biggest launch in Canadian gaming history, says Sony

Last Thursday night, Sony Computer Entertainment Canada VP and GM Steve Turvey was in Toronto to officially sell the first PlayStation 4 in Canada. As he told GamesIndustry International, it was just the first of many that night.

“The launch was a huge success by any standard of measurement. It was by far the largest launch in gaming history in Canada, and we were really thrilled by the execution, but mostly the response by PlayStation fans and consumers,” Turvey said.

Turvey might have a unique perspective on that “largest launch in gaming history” issue, having been a part of numerous big ones himself. He’s been at Sony for the launches of the PS Vita, PS3, and PSP, but his experience goes back even further than that. In the mid-’90s, he worked at Sega of Canada during the launch of the Sega Saturn, and moved to Nintendo of Canada in time for the Nintendo 64 to hit shelves. That said, he’s confident he’ll be able to back that “largest launch” claim with numbers instead of anecdotal evidence pulled from his career history.

“We launched more units than we have ever in any console launch across any platform at any time, and by far the most,” Hervey said. “Three times, four times as much as we’ve done historically, and still demand seems to be unsated.”

“When you have 1 million-plus people hooking up within a very small window of time, I think there are some inevitable hiccups that will occur.”

Steve Turvey

Outside of a few reserved consoles that had yet to be picked up, Turvey said PS4s were completely sold through in Canada. And while the executive would love to see that demand continue to exceed the supply for a long time to come, Turvey said Sony Canada is working to make sure there are more systems hitting shelves on a weekly basis.

“We have a nice healthy supply of inventory that we’ll continue to flow into the marketplace, and we hope that demand continues,” Turvey said.

Turvey wouldn’t break out attach rates for games or accessories, but he did say both have been strong. Sony is “excited” about the performance of Killzone: Shadow Fall, while fellow first-party title Knack is off to a solid start, Turvey said, with expectations that it will gain momentum heading into the holidays as a family friendly title well suited to gift-giving. DualShock 4 controllers have also been attaching well, and while he didn’t discuss its performance, the PS4 camera peripheral impressed Turvey on a personal level.

Steve Turvey with Erin Harewood, the first person in Canada to buy a PS4.

“I was not dismissive of the camera,” Turvey said, “but it wasn’t something I particularly thought I really needed. But now that I’ve had the camera hooked up, I love it and I think it’s pretty integral to the experience. And I think more and more consumers will figure that out for themselves.”

Not everything went smoothly at launch, however. The PlayStation Network struggled under the user load for a portion of the launch weekend, and reports of defective hardware have not been difficult to find.

“Day One is certainly very important, but maybe too much emphasis is placed on it. The long-term success is built over time.”

Steve Turvey

Of the network performance, Turvey said, “We’re never entirely satisfied when you have any hiccups. But when you have 1 million-plus people hooking up within a very small window of time, I think there are some inevitable hiccups that will occur. But when you look at the amount of people going online at once compared to those who had any issues, it was a very small percentage. And the network seemed to handle the additional volume really very well.”

As for the hardware issues, Turvey didn’t believe they were widespread problems.

“You never want to make it inconsequential, but if it’s a problem at all, I think it must be extremely small,” Turvey said. “Of course, we always do our best to rectify any issue and have a large customer service team on standby taking calls…Brand loyalty is not something we take lightly, and much of that comes from how we handle our issues with our customers.”

As happy as he was with the PS4 launch, Turvey said that when you’re hoping to have a system around for the long haul, the importance of launch day is somewhat diminished.

“It’s great when something is received well by your customer base on day one and out of the gate,” Turvey said. “And when you have day-one demand, it’s exciting to be a part of. But as we’ve been through other iterations of PlayStation, the lifecycle is a long one. We’ve prided ourselves on sort of future proofing many of our consoles and building future technology into them so that it is in your living room and capable and functional seven to 10 years from now. So while launch is important, it’s not everything…Day One is certainly very important, but maybe too much emphasis is placed on it. The long-term success is built over time. You see PlayStation 3, many would suggest it struggled out of the gate, and yet 80 million homes worldwide now are enjoying it, so it would prove to be a success.”



Xbox One Twitch streaming coming in 2014

Microsoft’s console won’t have built-in Twitch streaming at launch.

Sony’s Playstation 4 can already stream gameplay to viewers around the world over Twitch and although Microsoft has announced that a Twitch app will be available on Xbox One at launch, Twitch streaming from the console won’t be available until the first half of 2014. The Twitch app can be downloaded by Xbox Live Gold members and will include Xbox One media achievements.

“We know the ability to instantly broadcast gameplay is something the gaming community is excited about, and we are too,” said the company on its Xbox Wire news site. “We are working to ensure the initial Twitch on Xbox One broadcasting experience meets the expectations of the Twitch community, so while this feature won’t be available right away, we’ll let you know as soon as it is ready. Our goal is to deliver it during the first part of 2014.”

Xbox One owners will still be able to share their video via the Xbox One Game DVR and Upload Studio, which can upload gameplay clips to Xbox Live or Microsoft’s cloud-based SkyDrive service. Once on SkyDrive, the game clips – which will be 720p mp4 files – can be downloaded for editing or upload to another video service.



Sony breaking even on PS4 hardware costs

IHS teardown of new console puts Sony’s cost of goods and assembly at $381 per system.

Sony breaking even on PS4

The gaming industry is officially through the looking glass. Nintendo, a long-time advocate of turning a profit on its hardware, is selling every Wii U at a loss, while Sony is just about breaking even on the PlayStation 4.

According to an AllThingsD report, market research firm IHS has conducted a teardown of the PS4 and estimated Sony’s cost of parts plus assembly on the hardware to be $381, while the console itself retails for $399. That’s a far cry from the PS3’s launch economics, when IHS estimated Sony manufacturing cost for each machine at $805, far exceeding even the system’s already steep $599 retail price.

Most of Sony’s PS4 costs are accounted for by the system’s CPU and memory. The AMD chip at the heart of the system is estimated to run Sony about $100, while another $88 was attributed to 16 separate memory chips in the system. The Dual Shock 4 controller was pegged at an $18 build cost.

“If your cost is within $10 to $20 of the retail prices, there’s very little chance you’re making a profit on the console,” IHS analyst Andrew Rassweiler told the site.

The IHS estimate falls in line with comments Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida made to GamesIndustry International prior to the PS4 launch last week.

“In a sense, we’re doing great because we’re not losing billions with the launch of PS4,” Yoshida said. “In fact, we’re pretty much breakeven in this launch year of PS4…”

Sony’s Koller: PS4 reminds me a lot of the PS2 launch

“Of the five platform launches we’ve had, this is the best game line up” says VP of marketing.


Sony’s vice president of marketing has offered a number of insights into the company’s recent PlayStation 4 launch, including his thoughts on the launch line up, stock numbers and extending consumer demand.

“The launch overall, just in business terms, we feel great about it,” Jon Koller told GamesBeat.

“The pre-orders are through the roof. The demand is huge. Of the five platform launches we’ve had, this is the best game line up. It reminds me a lot of the PS2 launch, when we had such pent-up demand – ‘When is the PS2 coming?’ The same thing is happening here.”

He said Sony had ensured “adequate supply” for consumers, but that a strong demand would continue through the festive period.

“When you look at some of our past launches, you could argue about the various points of supply. We had a lot of demand for PS3, and we were short. We didn’t want to relive that. It’s hard when you don’t have a lot of supply. But even so, we have a lot of demand this time around.”

He also argued that this launch had the “best game line up” of the company’s five platform launches (a sentiment the critics might not agree with) and that he expected the appetite for the new console to stretch further beyond launch.

“We went out at $599 with the PS3. Xbox was out there for a year. They were $100 cheaper at that time when we launched. But still, an expensive proposition. This time around we’re at $399. There’s much more opportunity, from a spending perspective, for people to be able to come in and buy a couple of games with that,” he explained.

“We maybe didn’t have that flexibility last time. I think John and other analysts are right. The demand for this will be sustained for a longer period of time at a real high level than we’ve seen in the past. We see it in a lot of our quantitative modelling – a lot of pent-up demand, a lot of passion to get into this next generation.”



PlayStation 4 US sales exceed 1 million units in 24 hours

Sony’s new console posts record sell through numbers for a console launch.

PlayStation 4

Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that the recently-released PlayStation 4 console has sold through 1 million units since its launch on November 15, 2013.

“PS4 was designed with an unwavering commitment to gamers, and we are thrilled that consumer reaction has been so phenomenal,” said SCE president Andrew House. “Sales remain very strong in North America, and we expect continued enthusiasm as we launch the PlayStation 4 in Europe and Latin America on November 29. We are extremely grateful for the passion of PlayStation fans and thank them for their continued support.”

In contrast, Nintendo’s Wii U has sold 1.75 million consoles in North America as of September 30, 2013, and is up to 3.91 million sold globally. Microsoft’s Xbox One launches in the United States this Friday, November 22.

Sony will be launching the PlayStation 4 in the EU on November 29, 2013, in a host of other regions over the month of December, and in Japan on February 22, 2014.