The launch of Activision’s much-anticipated sci-fi shooter Destiny, helped the console achieve these sales in less than ten months, beating its predecessors. Pre-orders for the special PlayStation 4 Destiny bundle – a unique white version of the console, with the game included for free – propelled cumulative national sales through the million barrier.
“It’s a fortuitous coincidence that the launch of Destiny will bring us over the million mark,” said Fergal Gara, managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment UK. “If you reflect back to last year, we announced PS4 and Destiny at the same time.”
Although Destiny is also available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Gara said that the development of the game and the machine were entwined, and there is exclusive content for PS4 owners. “The two projects really have run in close tandem,” he said. “Feedback from the team at [Destiny developer] Bungie helped shape what the PS4 would be as a console itself. So the hardware and the software are quite aligned, and that will help from a performance perspective.”
Sony has also struck an exclusive marketing deal with Activision, so that Destiny’s advertising only mentions PlayStation 3 and 4. Microsoft recently retaliated with a social networking campaign purporting to be an advert for “Destiny: the new fragrance by Xbox”, which clicked through to a website explaining that Destiny is also available on its consoles.
At this stage, Sony appears to have a clear lead in the latest round of console wars. The last milestone Microsoft announced back in April saw the Xbox One hit the five million global sales mark. Sony revealed a worldwide PlayStation 4 sales figure of ten million units at the Gamescom gaming event in August.
PlayStation 4 has reached the million mark in the UK at record speed for the brand – only the Nintendo Wii has sold faster. Sony’s PlayStation 2, which sold over 155 million units worldwide, remains the best-selling console ever; yet Gara says, “We’re a good couple of months faster than PS2 at the same point, so we’re really pleased with that. And the PS2 had a second Christmas in its period of getting to the million.”
The launch of Destiny denotes the start of the annual run-up to the crucial Christmas market, during which the vast majority of games and consoles sales take place. For Gara, this Christmas is all about the games: “Obviously there was enormous excitement last year, fuelled by the fact that you had two new consoles coming to market. The focus last year was on the devices and the so-called battle. I think it’s healthier that the focus this year will shift far more onto the games.”
But on that front, the battle could be intense. Asked if Sony had enough exclusive titles coming this Christmas, Gara admitted: “Well, I think you can always have more.” Many of the big PS4 exclusives, like Uncharted 4, Bloodborne, The Order 1886 and No Man’s Sky, won’t arrive until 2015 or later. This year’s PS4 hits are likely to include Driveclub and LittleBigPlanet 3, plus the likes of Minecraft and Lego Batman 3, which Gara hopes will extend the console’s appeal to a young audience.
Microsoft’s Xbox One, meanwhile, will get open-world racer Forza Horizon 2, hyper-colourful shooter Sunset Overdrive and the Halo: Master Chief collection, which collects and updates the four main titles in the hugely successful Halo series.
Whatever the outcome in the battle between the two machines, game players will win. “The games that are coming this Christmas – including, very high up the list, Destiny – are really going to entice people in,” said Gara of both consoles. “We’re talking about far more complete games, that people have had a chance to work on for longer, and therefore we’re expecting to see higher standards.”
- PlayStation 4 hits 10m sales as Sony announces SharePlay initiative
- Why has the PlayStation 4 been so successful?
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010