Sony’s fifth-generation console, the PlayStation 5, is more than six months into its tenure. Despite issues with the supply of their consoles, Sony has managed to sell 7.8 million units, which is greater than in the same timeframe for the PlayStation 4 in 2013. However, interestingly, despite their size, Sony doesn’t consider the sales of the hardware itself as a key signifier of the success of the console and its generation. Could Sony’s reliance on the games themselves and the push for a post-console business model be influenced by other aspects of digital entertainment, such as the online casino industry?
As a bonus for being hardware-free and therefore appealing to a wider range of people, online casino games can be targeted at a more diverse range of people. For instance, as we can see with the bingo and slot games offered by Betfair, which can be accessed by smartphones and desktops alike, there is a wide range of themes readily available. Players can jump from Deal or No Deal-themed bingo to the Legend of Athena, a Greek goddess-inspired game, to the Highland Reels Scottish clan-themed game, and then over to Arabian Nights-inspired Ali Baba’s Luck.
The growth of digital entertainment, which is essentially console-free from the get-go, is a major contributing factor. Most people have a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. So, most people already possess the hardware necessary to engage with online casino games.
Sony could definitely be inspired by this approach. By showing that expensive hardware isn’t crucial to the PlayStation experience, new gamers could be inspired to join the industry. Mobile gaming is also extremely accessible given how many people have smartphones. Buying this dynamic hardware for a multitude of uses, one of which happens to be gaming, is more economical and justifiable for many than solely buying it to play games on.
Many suggest that mobile gaming has surpassed console gaming. Many people new to gaming could now be considered to be regular gamers simply for owning a mobile and passing the time on it. Games such as Candy Crush Saga appeal to middle-aged women as a demographic, for instance, who represent a gaming target market that would usually be overlooked in the console gaming market.
Sony is focusing on its PlayStation Plus subscribers, who are a key facet of its ongoing success. These now number 47.6 million, with 3.2 million additional PlayStation Now subscribers. Thus, the subscription aspect of the company is worth billions. Sony’s presentation suggested that software and peripherals that weren’t the consoles themselves have grown from 52% of Sony revenue in 2013 to 80% in 2020. So, it’s clear that the console company is considering the future of a post-console world.
It is unlikely, given the sales figures, that Sony will refuse to make any more consoles. But we can see that it is not placing all its eggs in the basket of the next PlayStation and is instead hedging its bets by following the rest of the digital entertainment industry.