Sony is still riding a wave of publicity – both positive and negative – since it officially announced its PlayStation 4 console will be available this holiday. The PS4 has renewed the next gen debate not only around what Microsoft might offer with its rumored Xbox 720, codenamed Durango, which is expected to launch this holiday as well; but also around the used games business. The next generation console wars are expected to begin this fall.
Lahore, Punjab -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/07/2013 -- GameStop stands to both profit from, and potentially face new obstacles from, the PS4 and its streaming game service, as well as any type of third-party game verification that would impact the retailer’s thriving used games business. Tony Bartel, president of GameStop, expects huge demand for PS4 this Christmas. He talks about the PS4 and discusses a range of topics, including when he expects pre-orders to begin and how he expects streaming and potential third-party game verification to impact used game sales, in this exclusive interview.
What are your thoughts on the PlayStation Meeting presentation?
We’re really happy to see their new system is gamer-centric and I thought they did a great job showing that to the audience. Clearly the technology is just outstanding. The facial features they showed were absolutely stunning and lifelike. I also like that they’re focused on the consumer, which is very consistent with how we go to market. I think they learned from PS3 and have really focused on making it more user friendly for developers. ( Full Playstation 4 Specs here )
I’ve read PS4 won’t necessarily block used games, but instead will support digital distribution and potentially a subscription model for games – what are GameStop’s thoughts on this from a retail perspective?
We are excited about digital content distribution and have had great success selling it at retail. We expected, and are ready for, next-gen consoles to have a significant amount of digital content options and we’ll continue to drive sales of this content through all of our channels whenever possible. We believe that PlayStation Plus is an under-leveraged asset and we are anxious to help gamers discover the rich benefits that it brings.
What type of precursor was it that over 8.1 million people watched the live stream of the event for how launch demand and sales will be for this console this holiday?
It’s clear consumers are hungry for innovation in console gaming technology. Our PowerUp Rewards community echoes this sentiment with hundreds of thousands of them already signing up for our PS4 First to Know list. I think we’ll see tremendous demand for PS4 this holiday.
Speaking of streaming, what impact do you feel the ability for gamers to instantly stream and share their gameplay with friends will have on attracting new gamers to PS4?
Gaming continues to become more social, so I think this will be a great selling feature for the PS4. I am very interested in how this technology will be used by developers, too.
With so many new gaming devices out there, including tablets that GameStop sells, how important will price point be for the PS4?
Price point is always an important factor, especially in a tough economic climate. We expect a lot of consumers to utilize our buy-sell-trade model to offset the price of the new system. GameStop put more than $1 billion in trade currency back in the hands of the consumer last year and that can do a lot to kick start the next console cycle.
What impact do you feel the ability for PS4 to connect with PS Vita as a second screen will have on sales of that portable device?
With multi-screen gaming continuing to rise in popularity, I think you’ll see more gamers purchase a Vita to take advantage of the enhanced gameplay offered by the PS4.
Would you like to see some type of price cut or bundle when it comes to PS Vita as Sony builds up to launch?
We’re always happy to see a price cut! Both bundles and price cuts tend to spur additional sales, so this would make sense leading up to launch.
Is there a price threshold based on prior game console launches that you believe core gamers have? And what about mainstream consumers?
Based on past launches, video game consumers are willing to pay a premium for upgraded technology and new innovation. The beauty of GameStop’s buy-sell-trade program is that it lets you get into a new console for less money – regardless of the opening price point.
Nintendo wasn’t able to keep up with demand with Wii U last fall. Past PlayStation launches have also had shortages. How hard to get do you think PS4 will be this holiday?
The PS4 will top a lot of wish lists and we expect consumer demand to be high. We obviously hope supply will flow well throughout the holidays, but, as with other new consoles, there will likely be some shortages. GameStop will use its PS4 First to Know list to give all our customers an opportunity to pre-order and purchase a PS4 with minimal effort.
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