Thu, Apr 04, 2013 | 08:36 BST
PS4: Sony went for “cheaper hardware” for fear of smaller install base – Cousins
PS4 is made up of cheaper hardware than its predecessor because Sony fears it will see a smaller install base in next-gen, ex-Battlefield producer and EA exec Ben Cousins has suggested.
Former EA exec Cousins is now heading up development of The Drowning at Scattered Entertainment, a game that promises to push boundaries in the tablet space. It’s a corner of the industry he clearly feels strongly about, along with the notion of triple-a free-to-play titles.
Speaking with GI.biz Cousins suggested that his team would be targeting gamers who buy into a console cycle mid-way through and buy games like FIFA and Call of Duty, rather than dabbling in far-reaching titles. He argued that tablets are going to become a more attractive prospect for this particular brand of gamer.
“We kind of feel that particularly tablets are becoming, will become, a solution for that problem or for that need”, he said. “Soon it will be like actually, I’m getting everything I need here, do I really need to buy a console? These are the sort of guys who buy a console halfway through the cycle rather than right at the start.
“I think the problem with the console model and certainly with the previous generation was that it needed the ultra-hardcore, the kids, and those kind of mid-core or whatever you it call it, mainstream gamers, to a buy a console in order to make a profit because it just needed massive volume.”
Cousins suggested that Sony has realised that this shift in player-base is changing when developing PS4 and explained why this may have prompted them to go for cheaper hardware than it did with PS3.
“It was interesting to see PS4 clearly go for what looks like cheaper hardware than last time around,” he continued, “so maybe that’s a kind of defensive move against their expectation that they’re not going to have the same install base, or maybe they just want to hit profitability quicker because of Sony’s less stable financial state at the moment.”
When asked if this was also because of Sony’s lesser financial situation than this time ahead of the PS3′s launch, Cousins replied, “Exactly, so that was interesting. That feels like they’re kind of acknowledging the threat and they’re kind of doing the best they can to kind of defend against it.
“But I do still feel like…and maybe it’s a selection bias, but most of the people I talk to and whose work I read are kind of in agreement…that this time around console install bases will be smaller. And probably will be focused more on that core audience. It’s certainly not going to be kids and casual gamers buying consoles any more I don’t think, they’re going to be all on mobile.”
What do you think about the tablet space and its ability to challenge the console gaming archetype as we know it? Let us know below.