Sony Will Release the PS4 Slim the Instant They Fall Behind Microsoft
The PlayStation 3 had a dismal launch.
There were nowhere near enough units to go around, Blu-Ray had yet to be adopted as the high-definition format of choice (it was still battling HD-DVD), the PlayStation Network was in its infancy, there just wasn't enough software, and the formidable $600 price tag was a killer.
Few thought Sony's console would ever catch the Xbox 360, especially with Microsoft's one-year head start. And really, until the PS3 Slim launched, Sony took a drubbing just about every month in the US market. That new slim model, featuring a bigger hard drive and a lower price tag, is what allowed Sony to scramble back into the race.
Ultimately, the PS3 and Xbox 360 sold around 82 or 83 million units (depending on which source you use) and if the naysayers are being honest, they'll remember a time when it wasn't even remotely close, and they believed the PS3 would finish a distant third.
The PS4 situation is almost a total reversal and yet, Sony will save a new model until they really need it
The PlayStation 4 held a much more agreeable $400 price tag at launch, there were more games available, both Blu-Ray and the PSN had long since come into their own, and perhaps most importantly, developers everywhere praised this new system to high heaven. Throughout most of 2013 leading up until the release of Sony's new console, the PS4 was the hottest console in the world...and it wasn't even on store shelves yet.
However, now that the Xbox One has dropped to a more sensible $400 and this year's exclusive lineup could arguably favor Microsoft's console, Sony may soon find themselves in an neck-and-neck battle for the North American territory. We know the PS4 currently has the lead, domestically and globally, and while I'm convinced it will always retain that global advantage, I'm fairly certain the Xbox One will make a strong comeback in t he US.
I think Sony expects it as well, which is why they'll hold off on implementing a newly revamped console until it's absolutely essential.
History repeats itself...?
The PS3 Slim let Sony claw its way back into the previous generation and really, the timing of that system couldn't have been better in my estimation. For the PS4, while you've got the lead, there's no need to alter the winning formula. But when Sony begins to see its market share slipping in North America, they might utilize the same tactic. It makes perfect sense, too:
Not only does a Slim model reinvigorate the brand - in that it fuels gamer interest once again - but it also presents consumers with a positive illusion: "Look, a new system and now, it has lots more games!" Okay, so no core gamer is going to believe it's a new console, but the point is that if it's better than the original unit, and there are plenty of great software options, it will be infinitely more appealing. This is how the PS3 Slim got Sony back into the game (pun intended).
So, when the Xbox One officially retakes the lead in the US (and unfortunately, I believe that's inevitable), it won't be long before you hear about a new PS4 model.