Though the slimmer, lighter PS Vita — and its upcoming North American release — was squarely in the spotlight of this week’s PlayStation Showcase, PS4 wasn’t left behind. Today, I caught up with Sony Computer Entertainment America Marketing Vice President John Koller for a status check on PS4’s global rollout – an especially relevant topic, with the Japanese PS4 debut less than two weeks away.
PlayStation.Blog: Can you share any updates on PS4’s global sell-through?
John Koller: The response has been fantastic. In the US, PS4 was #1 in sales for next-gen consoles in January, nearly doubling the nearest next-gen competitor. And PS4 remains the cumulative leader here based on today’s report from the NPD Group.
Globally, we announced last month that we’ve sold through more than 4.2 million units as of the holiday season, making PS4’s launch the biggest in console gaming history. I think the PS4 demand is indicative of how we’ve tapped into something special – and that’s that gamers want to be recognized for their greatness and want to enjoy experiences together.
We’re looking forward to what 2014 has to offer, starting with inFAMOUS Second Son next month, Destiny in the fall and The Order 1886 later in the year . There will be lots more games to come too – more than 100 total in North America this year.
PSB: How’s the PS4 supply chain holding up to demand, especially with the Japanese launch in just a few weeks?
JK: Since we launched on November 15th, we’ve sold every PS4 available in the US. It’s clear that PS4 is seeing strong appeal all over the world, and we’ll continue doing our best to provide additional inventory in all of the 53 countries where PS4 is available. We’ve got supply refreshing throughout the channel regularly, so I encourage everyone to check in with their local retailers regularly.
JK: I’ve been a bit taken aback by the explosion of PlayStation Plus memberships, where we’ve seen more than 90% growth since PS4’s launch. Instant Game Collection is a big hit, with gamers sharing their experiences across Resogun, Contrast, Don’t Starve and now Outlast. PS Plus members are not only discovering great games on PS4, they’re also playing together online, logging a total of 172 million hours. It’s a great start, we’re delighted, but clearly we’ll continue to work on making PlayStation Plus the best value in gaming.
Engagement for PS4 is through the roof in general, though. More than 90 percent of PS4s in the US are connected online already. PS4 is clearly helping to define a broader cultural shift centered on social connections and sharing.
We’ve tapped into something special here with PS4 – and while it’s easy to look at the incredible topline demand, the engagement numbers are equally revealing. This is the beginning of something big.
PSB: How about the Share button? Are players embracing livestreaming, video capture and image sharing of gameplay?
JK: What people love about playing games are all of the great moments you experience; that’s what you remember long after you’ve played through a title. During PS4’s development, we knew we wanted to take that a step further by connecting players socially and emotionally, which is why we made it easy for gamers to celebritize themselves with Live from PlayStation. Livestreaming has really picked up steam, with 1.7 million gameplay broadcasts via Twitch and Ustream globally. Overall, the DualShock 4’s Share button is certainly getting a lot of action. More than 48 million “shares” have been captured globally, including millions of videos and photos shared via Facebook and Twitter, which proves that the desire to show off your accomplishments has become a cherished and regular behavior in gaming.
PSB: Exporting gameplay videos is a promising feature, but the editing process is currently a bit limited. Down the road, will there be more ways to add post-production to PS4 Share videos?
JK: We’re just scratching the surface of the potential of PS4. We know that there’s a lot we can do to expand the available toolset for editing, but I don’t have anything specific to announce right now. We’re constantly looking at ways to improve the system and are seriously evaluating various areas of enhancement for PS4.
PSB: On that note, PS4’s latest software update 1.6 brought long-awaited official headset compatibility. Do you have a sense of features that might be included in an upcoming update and approximately when they might happen?
JK: Nothing to share for now, but I can say that we are listening carefully to feedback from our fans. But on the headset point, I do hope that PS4 gamers are enjoying the new Gold Headset. It was developed specifically to emphasize the audio that developers place in their games – and because it’s from PlayStation, gamers know that this is how their games were meant to sound.