Sony: PS4 targeting Wii owners who skipped PS3 and Xbox 360

Sees huge opportunity for remasters of PS3 games on PS4.

Sony is using PlayStation 4 to target Wii owners who skipped the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

The PlayStation 4 launched last November and became the fastest-selling console ever in the UK. Globally it has shifted seven million units, and is even outpacing the PlayStation 2.

While much of the console's success is down to the early adoption by core gamers, Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House told Eurogamer at the Develop conference in Brighton that there is a huge opportunity to attract those who bought a Wii but not a PS3 or Xbox 360 - in fact it's already happening.

While the PS3 and Xbox 360 were successful consoles, shifting around 80m units each, the Wii was the standout winner of the last generation, selling over 100m consoles worldwide.

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Did you buy a Wii then skip the PS3 and Xbox 360?

"Our big opportunity is to welcome back an audience much earlier in the lifecycle that possibly bought into the Wii previously," House said.

"Whether it's based on this is a really good all-round entertainment device for a family in addition to having great games, our consumer data suggests some of those people are already coming in now and that's what's contributing to the really great sales we've had."

As a result, House is keen for Sony to remaster old PlayStation games for this new audience on PS4. We're already seeing the fruits of this with The Last of Us Remastered on PS4, due out soon. Naughty Dog's game launched on PS3 in June 2013, and Sony believes there are a significant number of PS4 owners who never played it.

"I hesitate to say this because I know committed gamers may roll their eyes about it, but there's an opportunity with some of the remastering or re-imagining from PS3 franchises that will potentially find an audience that hasn't played them in the previous generation because they skipped that generation," House said. "We're starting to see signs of that.

"That bodes well for us as a platform, but it bodes well for developers and publishers as well. I've always looked with envy at the movie industry about what a great job they're able to do with taking content and making it work. Disney is the best example of this, right, of taking classic content and reintroducing it to audiences over time.

"We as an industry haven't done that historically. We're only just getting into our stride with people who now have been playing for 10, 20 years, who have a nostalgia factor, who want to see those franchises come back and be reinvented.

"That is a whole other area of exploration I would like to see PS4 to lead the charge on."

House said that in Europe 40 per cent of PS4 early adopters didn't already have a PlayStation Plus account. "That me was a good indication of whether they were new to this world," he added.

"And anecdotally I've had people who were the Wii generation and who are back in the consideration set. It's certainly something I hear about."

Looking back at the last eight months since the launch of the PS4, House declared himself and Sony delighted with how things had gone. "I look back on it and I struggle to see how it could have gone any better from most perspectives," he said.

The PS4's sales success has exceeded many expectations - including Sony's. It had predicted the console would shift five million units by the end of its last financial year. In the end it sold seven.

"I look back on it and think we executed several things really well that I'm fairly proud of," House said.

"One was being consistent in our message, being focused on delivering for the game first and foremost, but not losing sight of the opportunity to turn a console into a broader entertainment device as well, which is important.

"It's going to sound counter intuitive but it's important for gamers. If the consoles we make find relevance with multiple people in a household and multiple members of a family, those are all opportunities for other people to get into gaming. I see us as almost creating a springboard for that, and that's what a platform business is all about."

There were question marks, House said, over PS4 sales going into 2014, but House said increased production has meant key channels in North America and Europe are approaching full supply, and following that demand is sustaining itself "and it looks to be positive".

"One of the things we benchmark ourselves against the PlayStation 2 to a greater degree," he said, "and we're happy to have been significantly ahead of that. But we need to see a full comparison of a full year of what the PS2 did including a holiday season, compared with a similar period for PS4. And then we'll have a sense of where things are really going."

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