While Sony Corp. wants to be very open about the PlayStation 4 video game console to attract maximum attention and get positive image for the brand, the company remains tight-lipped over a number of aspects. One of such aspects is whether the firm actually will introduce the PS4 globally, or only in Japan this year. According to a GameStop exec, the PS4 will be launched worldwide in 2013. However, the company will unlikely meet the initial demand.
“We know that Sony will introduce the PlayStation 4 globally in 2013*, but we are still waiting to see what Microsoft's final plans are. We have scenarios with one console introduction, as well as with two. Even a single launch in 2013 will drive double-digit console growth in 2014; and two launches would likely drive the console category north of 20% growth,” said Michael Hogan, executive vice president of strategy business and brand development at GameStop, during a quarterly conference call with financial analysts this week.
Previously, it was expected that Sony will release the PlayStation 4 in Japan only, or in Japan and the U.S. this year, whereas Europe and Australia will see the console sometimes in early 2014. Since GameStop does not own any retail businesses in Japan, but operates 6700 retail stores in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, when it says “global availability”, it should mean availability for at least the bigger part of its shops.
“With Grand Theft Auto V and Battlefield 4 releasing in the third quarter, and the PlayStation 4 launching in the fourth quarter, we expect a return to growth for the back half of the year,” said Robert Loyd, chief financial officer of GameStop.
According to the company’s internal consumer research, there is extremely strong consumer interest in the new consoles. Based on the survey of loyal customers of GameStop, 34% of them expect to get a PlayStation 4 in the next twelve month. Moreover, nearly 900 thousand of GameStop clients signed up to receive information about the PS4. Give so high interest towards the console, GameStop does not expect Sony to be able to meet demand towards the PlayStation 4 initially.
“Although we have been given no official numbers by Sony, we do believe that demand will far outpace the supply of this product during the launch window,” said Tony Bartel, the president of GameStop.
Financial analysts from Macquarie Equities Research recently estimated that Sony would ship around 2.5 million PlayStation 4 video game consoles this calendar year, which also points to global launch and limited supply.
Sony PlayStation 4 is based on a semi-custom AMD Fusion system-on-chip that integrates eight AMD x86 Jaguar cores, custom AMD Radeon HD core with unified array of 18 AMD GCN-like compute units (1152 stream processors which collectively generate 1.84TFLOPS of computer power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or some mixture of the two), various special-purpose hardware blocks as well as multi-channel GDDR5 memory controller. The PS4 will come with 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory sub-system (with 176GB/s bandwidth) for both CPU and GPU as well as large-capacity hard disk drive.
Sony PS4 will be equipped with Blu-ray disc drive capable of reading BDs at 6x and DVDs at 8x speeds, USB 3.0 connectivity in addition to a proprietary aux port, Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR wireless technology as well as HDMI, optical and analog outputs. The new system will also utilize new DualShock 4 game controller with integrated touchpad as well as better motion sensing thanks to new PS4 Eye tracking cameras.
*GameStop’s fiscal year ends in early February, hence in case the executive mentioned fiscal year 2013 (the most likely scenario), the chances that Sony launches the PS4 globally in calendar 2013 are high since a) no new major products are launched commercially in January, b) the company already expressed expectations to boost its sales thanks to the PS4 launching in Q4 FY2013, which suggests actual availability during a high spending season.