An Open Letter to Sony About PS4

Originally Published: 2013

Dear Sony,

I’ve been playing video games for about 23 of my 27 years on this Earth, and yet you and I have never really connected. Sure, we’ve spoken a few times and I’ve even allowed almost all of your creations to stay in my house at various times. But you’ve always really been an after thought – an addition to a collection rather than the focal point of it.

Well now I’m playing the role of the beautiful high school girl to your lonely nerd. I’ve been hanging around with my jock boyfriend for the whole of our time together at school and all I need is for you now to stand up to him for the jerk that he is, and I’ll fall gushingly into your arms. I’m yours for the taking and you know exactly what you need to do.

You see, there’s this big presentation coming up where people are going to need some information from you surrounding certain aspects of your new console, the PlayStation 4. I know that you’re not idiots and everybody knows that you are quite aware of the general consensus around the recently gleamed information from those other guys. So I ask you on behalf of all of my brethren who also enjoy this wonderful medium we call video games – do the right thing.

Microsoft doesn’t see you as competition. They’ve built this obnoxious dictatorship where they think that they can dominate the gaming landscape while taking a simultaneous fight to mobiles, tablets and desktop computers. They have failed to realise that every single thing they do to emulate those competitors is just that – emulation. They’ve forgotten the one simple reason why gamers everywhere own games consoles as well as mobile phones and tablets: gaming experiences unlike anything else.

From what I can see of Xbox One, it does all the things that my iPhone does and my Sky TV does. Except I think that Microsoft kind of forgot that my iPhone and my Sky TV already do a good enough job for me to have already assigned them both with pretty simple tasks. What my iPhone and my Sky TV don’t do is bring me the best in gaming from around the world, give me a disc to play it on and just let me throw it in my console and get going. That’s where your PlayStation 4 comes in.

You have a market right in front of you. You partially created it. We’re still here and we still want the same thing. Cramming more irrelevant stuff in doesn’t impress anybody when all we want is a primary function that can’t be offered anywhere else. We just want that, and that’s why we’re gamers and not gamer-skyping, TV-watching, fantasy-football-playing, motion-gesutring idiots. We play video games – you make video games. We were good with that relationship. Let Microsoft fight Apple and Google, us gamers don’t care about that.

Now I know that you’ve been hurt in the market before, but Microsoft can’t get away with bullying any more. If you trust people enough to vote with their wallets and side with you, then you have the power to openly welcome back all those people you’ve lost to the other side. We’ll come back to your party, but you need to stock the kegs with the beer we like.

It’s really easy – just do the opposite of what Xbox One is doing. If you continue to support our consumer rights as people buying a physical product that we want to own and use in any way we see fit then, even if Microsoft are offering trade decisions up to publishers, you’ll still have a bigger portion of the gaming market and you can start calling the shots the way they have.

Remember that whole “give Xbox 360 timed DLC exclusives or your game won’t be on Xbox 360”? Well, you just do that with the ability to trade, lend and borrow our games as we see fit. You’ll see quite quickly how the market – the people who your entire business revolves around – reacts to that. You’ll like it. I promise. The publishers will have no choice but to go with the market too. It could be a massacre.

The majority of us aren’t pirates. We love video games and our friends do too, so we just want them to have a go at some of your products that we love. We aren’t going to just give it to them, they’ll come back to you and buy some more stuff – don’t worry about that. You know what else we want? We want to be able to play your games 16 years from now like we do with the original PlayStation. So don’t make us have to cross our fingers that you’re willing to run servers until the end of time. Just give us a disc and let it keep working until we are done with it.

Just remember the key points here, guys. Remember who we are and what we want, sell us something that remains of value long after we’ve bought it, don’t make us suffer if your servers go down/we move house/our internet provider packs it up, and don’t restrict what we do with our own physical products. E3 is so ripe for your picking that it’s almost hard to fathom. You’ll see an unprecedented reaction if you treat your target market with respect and you’ll be able to reap the financial benefits of those millions of people who will look to the other side and say “I don’t want that.”

You have the power to be the most relevant part of next generation gaming, so do it. Put on a show that will have people cheering in unison all over the world and remind us all of why we helped you get to the top of the gaming industry. Prom Night’s nearly here. Go punch that jock in front of all his friends and I’ll meet you by the punch bowl.

Yours anxiously,

Alex Aldridge
Editor – A Winner is You

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