Thursday, March 20, 2014

Playstation Venturing Beyond Gaming to Video

Given the competition between the Microsoft XBox One platform and Sony Playstation 4 platform, it comes as no surprise Sony is following Microsoft into the world of original video streaming.  They seem to be sharing the same strategy playbook, premiere gaming, original video content, and connectivity with other online streaming platforms.  What differentiates the one from the other certainly depends on the exclusivity and appeal of the games and content that they carry. 

"Sony's foray is the latest example of how videogaming devices are incorporating more entertainment features as they try to broaden their appeal in the living room. The PlayStation already allows users to buy an array of digital downloads, such as TV shows and movies, and can access streaming services. The company recently said it also plans to launch a service to stream games."  These gaming platforms would certainly love to be a cable box , but unlikely as the value of that connection is too important to the cable operator.  Still, we find ourselves with multiple OTT boxes connecting to our TV set, side by side with our cable box.

Original content, exclusive to one platform, will prove difficult for both Sony and Microsoft to demonstrate success. It certainly creates added value for the owner of these gaming devices but I contend that their primary motivation for owning is the exclusive games themselves.  Besides the fact that the content can only be found on one device, it competes for awareness against other OTT content distributors like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu, that allow themselves to be watched through multiple OTT platforms as well as through mobile devices.  And given the ease of connecting to a show like Netflix's "House of Cards" verse a Playstation show like the newly announced "Powers", consumers will have a far easier time finding and connecting to Netflix. 

So does that mean that Microsoft and Sony eventually open up these "exclusive" shows to other platforms? By keeping them behind their own pay walls, they retain exclusive charm, but limit viewership.  And once they are syndicated to other sites like an Amazon or Netflix, lose their exclusivity and value to the gaming platform.  My advice to both Sony and Microsoft, stick strictly to exclusive games and let your boxes connect to other streaming services like Netflix or Hulu or MLB and compete head-on with the Roku's Chromecast and Apple TV as the preferred device.