When it comes to High-Definition gaming on consoles there are two options; Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3. Locally it seems that despite the one year head start, the average South African chooses the PS3 over the 360.
Even more tellingly, through conversations with numerous distributors and retailers it’s come to light that locally more games are being sold for the PS3 than on itsÂ competitor.
More people are buying Playstation hardware AND games. Hit the jump and I’ll tell you why I think that is.
Let me get this straight – this is a simple examination in to why the PS3 is on its way to being the leading console in SA. There is no fanboy agenda, or needless debasing of competing consoles.
We should, by now, all be aware that when it comes to power, both consoles are – as confirmed by numerous developers – practically on equal footing.
1. Brand Recognition and Loyalty
South Africa, much like Europe, has always been Sony country. Whether it be standard consumer electronics like TV’s, DVD players and the like, or gaming consoles Sony has always been king. Recent pushes by Korean manufacturers have started changing that mindset, especially with regards to TV’s.
With regards to consoles, The Playstation and in particular its successor the PS2 were, in their respective generations, pretty much the only ones available.
Console gamers in South Africa have grown up with the Playstation brand, and it’s only natural for them to gravitate towards it.
The original Xbox- an exceptional console – had no local distribution or support, making import the only viable way to own one. With no marketing presence, only the â€œcoreâ€ gamers were even aware of its existence.
With the local release of the Xbox 360 significantly before the PS3, many gamers saw – and still see – the Xbox 360 as a direct competitor to the PS2, and the PS3 as the generational leap.
3 Years. That’s how long Xbox gamers have been lobbying for Xbox Live, the online component that essentially defines the Xbox experience. There have been petitions, emails, awareness drives and the like – all of which have thus far proven fruitless.
Sure – Xbox Live can be accessed in South Africa, if you jump backwards through flaming hoops, committing what amounts to fraud just to use the service.
Xbox Live is still – as far as I’m concerned – the better online gaming service as it stands right now, but many local gamers don’t want to have to fight just to access a service that should – like the Playstation Network is – be locally available.
Furthermore, it’s been confirmed by Ster Kinekor that PSN cards will be available in retail stores this month.
The 360 does still – as far as I’m aware – have a larger local install base, thanks in part to its lower price and the effusive local 360 forums. Why then are software sales lower on the 360 than the PS3?
While it may be that 360 gamers are still playing nothing but Halo3, I think that if not the biggest reason, piracy is still a major factor. A stroll through any flea market, or a visit to any torrent site shows just how prevalent piracy on Microsoft’s platform is.
Whatever the reasons, Microsoft needs to step up its local presence – like through the inclusion of our fair country in its Xbox Live rollout – to maintain its momentum in South Africa, particularly with the newer, much more palatable price of the PS3.
Last Updated: October 9, 2009