How can the PlayStation strategy survive in an era where everyone can play games via smartphones? What do you think is the secret?

PlayStation (and Nintendo, XBox and most PC gaming) are all providing premium products to people they know will pay money. By contrast smartphone games are products for people who in general won’t pay much money up front, meaning that if you want to make a lot of money you need gatcha mechanics (which make games worse) and on unknown hardware.

If we look at the best source I know of for Android stats, Appbrain, it claims that there have only been three paid apps with more than 5 million downloads – and all of them cost 99 cents. (It’s definitely missing data here; it doesn’t have a download number for Minecraft). It also only has 45 paid apps (of which I think 37 are games) with more than a million downloads, period (including office suites) and most of them are only a couple of dollars.

By contrast there were 16 PS4 games that sold more than 5 million copies, all of which I think had a launch price of at least $60, and a further 21 games that sold more than 1 million copies, again at the same launch price.

With the higher expected game sales on the Playstation than Android and games that start selling at about $60 rather than about $3/game Playstation game studios can therefore spend many times more on development than Android studios and produce much deeper and more luxurious games. An Android game is trying to sell you a $5 experience whereas a Playstation game is trying to sell you a $50 experience. If you’ve enough time and not enough money the Android is the better buy, but if you have enough money many find it worth paying for the better experience because your time is, after all, limited.

This isn’t to say e.g. Genshin Impact is a bad game despite being developed for mobile, or that it’s not a lavishly developed one. But Gatcha mechanics are annoying and distracting and take up your time, thereby making the game worse and Genshin Impact is on a very short list of free to play games that can hold its own on a PS4.

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