Increasing the Sales of PlayStation4 Pro in Chinese Market

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Abstract

In this study, research has been done in order to analyse the Chinese market and identify as well as help for the sales of PS4 Pro to increase. This study also provides recommendations for improvement to Sony. It explains the Chinese market through various frameworks like the PESTEL and SWOT analysis, product life cycle and the competitors’ analysis. The objective of this research study is to find the main elements that influence the Chinese buying behaviour, the objective factors of PS4 Pro and the customers’ attitude towards it and issues that impact the purchase behaviour of the customers. It would also answer the questions of what factors influence the sales of PS4 Pro in the Chinese markets, what factors will impact the customer buying behaviour and how, what is the option or perceptions of customers for PS4 Pro and what Sony is supposed to sell to avoid hits with the policy issues in the Chinese market.

Table of Contents
Abstract ii
List of Figures. v
1.    Market Background. 1
2.    Research Questions and Objectives. 3
2.1.     Questions. 3
2.2.     Objectives. 3
3.    Project Methodology. 4
4.    Literature Review and Conceptual Framework. 4
4.1.     PESTEL Analysis. 4
4.1.1.      Political 5
4.1.2.      Economic. 5
4.1.3.      Social 6
4.1.4.      Technological 6
4.1.5.      Environmental 7
4.1.6.      Legal 7
4.2.     SWOT Analysis. 8
4.3.     Product Life Cycle Theory. 9
4.4.     Factors Affecting Customers Behaviour 9
4.4.1.      Brand Personality. 9
4.4.2.      Customer Motivation. 10
4.4.3.      Customer Perceived Value Conceptual Framework. 11
4.4.4.      Reference Group Theory. 12
4.5.     Competitor Analysis. 12
5.    Project Results and Analysis. 14
5.1.     Key Finding 1: Main Elements Influencing Chinese Customer Buying Behaviour 14
5.2.     Key Finding 2: The Effects of Objective Factors to the Sales of PS4 Pro in the Chinese Market 15
5.3.     Key Finding 3: Better Understanding the Attitude of the Chinese Customers towards PS4 Pro. 16
5.4.     Key Finding 4: Understanding Issues Impacting the Customers’ Purchase Behaviour, and Influencing Factors of the Sales of PS4 Pro in China. 17
6.    Conclusions & Recommendations. 18
6.1.     Recommendation 1: Understanding Factors Influencing Sales. 18
6.2.     Recommendation 2: Understanding the Customer Buying Behaviour 19
6.3.     Recommendation 3: Understanding the Customers Perception of PS4 Pro. 19
6.4.     Recommendation 4: Avoid Hits about Policy Issues. 19
References. 20
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

List of Figures

Figure 1: Top 10 Countries by Game Revenues in 2017. 2
Figure 2: Disposable Income Per Capita in China. 6
Figure 3: Population Growth Rate in China. 6
Figure 4: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 10
Figure 5: Conceptual Framework of Customer Value Creation. 11
Figure 6: Top 5 Global Countries by Game Revenues in 2016. 12
Figure 7: The proportion of Sales Revenue in China in 2016. 13
Figure 8: The Chinese Games Market in 2015. 13
 
 
 
 
 

1.Market Background

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), formerly named Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and Sony Network Entertainment, is a multinational video game company. SIE was founded on November 16, 1993, Sony’s owned subsidiary, as Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and later became into what it is known as today, Sony Interactive Entertainment. The first video game console of PlayStation by SCE was launched in 1994 (Bloomberg, 2017). Today, for the video game systems of PlayStation, SIE takes care of the sales, research, production and development of both hardware and software (Sony Interactive Entertainment, 2017). Other than that, for video game titles, SIE also is a developer and publisher and has several subsidiaries in Asia, North America, and Europe which are the largest markets of Sony. Worldwide, the company has been able to sell over 486 million PlayStation consoles overall in 2016 until September 30th (Leonardi, 2016) On Thursday, November 10, 2016, SIE launched the upgraded and a more enhanced version of PlayStation 4 (PS4), called PlayStation 4 Pro in North America (PS5PlayStation5.com, 2013). PS4 Pro began to be released in China on June 7, 2017 (Hollister, 2016). PS4 Pro is not PlayStation 5, which will come someday but this is not it. PS4 Pro is an upgrade on PS4 itself, it will allow its users to do a bit more than what they were previously able to do. It is an upgrade in terms of horsepower, with the ability to produce a much higher resolution and pretty graphics for some games along with other qualities like a decrease in load time (Gilbert, 2016). In the game console market, Sony has a few competitors. One major competitor of Sony is Microsoft; Xbox One S is a competitive game console against PS4 Pro which was launched on November 25, 2016, in China (Madan, 2017). However, PC was one of the major determining factors which led to Sony deciding to offer a high end console. Sony saw some data which suggested that players shifted to PC when they want the very best graphical experience. So Sony introduced PS4 Pro in order to capture that market and prevent the players from migrating (Nunneley, 2016).
On video games, the world spends about US $109 billion out of which Chinese are the biggest players this year. The mainland market is expected to soon become the world's leader which is predicted to be worth US$27.5 billion this year where the global market revenue went up to US$109 billion from US$99.6 billion in 2016 (Perez, 2017). Video games have become a popular everyday activity in China and are increasing even still (Liao & Fung, 2015).These figures show that China is ahead of the rest of the world by leaps and bounds in the video game market (Batchelor, 2017). Entrepreneurial and creative resources are abundantly present in China. This provides the industry of China with an ideal opportunity to construct various industries that are creative and vibrant; this could include video games and computer graphics as part of the new sectors (Tschang, 2010).

Figure 1: Top 10 Countries by Game Revenues in 2017
Source: Perez (2017)
PS4 Pro competes with quite a few rivals in China even though the user experience of PS4 Pro is higher than any game console, and yet the sales cannot reach the expected goal in the Chinese market due to a number of issues (Metzger & Paxton, 2016). As mentioned earlier, the release date in China of PS4 Pro is a year later than the official release date. This became a problem because then the customers were led to buying the product from either other countries or through some other channel. Another issue is the difference between the selling price of PS4 Pro and Xbox One S; where PS4 Pro is sold at ¥2999 for 1TB, Xbox One S is sold at ¥2699 (Rogowsky, 2014). PS4 Pro also has a limitation of the games where they can only be played on a game console with the monitor while Xbox One S can also be played on Windows OS by computer or laptop. Also, not effective promotions and advertisements were done in China in order to establish recognition and awareness (Takad, 2014).

2.Research Questions and Objectives

2.1.Questions

In order to support the research objectives, there are 4 primary research questions which would help in understanding the intentions of the Chinese customers’ for purchasing PS4 Pro game consoles.
  1. What factors does influence sales of PS4 Pro in the Chinese market?
This question will help with identifying the marketing position, brand identity, strengths and weaknesses in the Chinese market of PS4 Pro.
  1. How will the customer behaviour change and with what factors?
With this question the factors could be understood that influences the Chinese customers’ buying behaviour as well as identify the purchasing decision process. will allow the marketers to understand the factors that influence the buying behaviour of the buyer.
  1. What are the options or perceptions of customers for Ps4 pro?
This would help marketers in understanding the desires and demands of the Chinese buyers and hence a market demand curve could be designed through it as well.
  1. What is Sony supposed to sell PS4 Pro to avoid some hits about the policy issues of the game in the Chinese market?
This question would pertain to the external environment where marketers need to consider those principles that are better suited to the national conditions of China.

2.2.Objectives

There are four objectives of this research study:
  1. To figure out in this research the main elements influencing Chinese customer buying behaviour.
  2. To probe into the effects of objective factors to the sales of PS4 Pro in the Chinese market.
  3. To work on better understanding the attitude toward the Chinese customers for PS4 Pro.
  4. To develop a further understanding of several issues impacting the customers’ purchase behaviour, and identify influencing factors of the sales of PS4 Pro in China.

3.Project Methodology

In this research study, the secondary research approach has been adopted. Secondary research uses those studies which were previously completed and is applicable to find the results of a situation. Such researches can be done through the internet and journals which are usually a low cost. However, the drawback to this approach is that the research may not be specific to the business that is being focused on and may be broader (DeVault, 2017); (Hockey, 2006).
For Sony, the secondary research will be done through a number of sources one of them being through the annual reports of Sony. Other than that, academic articles would also be used which are related to Sony and applied as references in this research study. Newspaper clippings, periodicals, journal articles, books and book sections and various websites would be used to find information regarding Sony and the Chinese market and also applied as the references in the research study.

4.Literature Review and Conceptual Framework

The secondary research would be applied for the literature review which would help in providing an overview of the subject under consideration. This would be further emphasized through various frameworks applied on PS4 Pro, which would include PESTEL Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Product Life Cycle Theory, and other relevant factors that affect customer behaviours.

4.1.PESTEL Analysis

One of the most attractive locations with the strongest powers has known to become China now. Due to this, among other reasons, international business along with the improvement in the legal systems of China has been boosted. Investors seek to do business in China due to three main reasons; the very low cost of labour, the size of the market and the potential growth of China.

4.1.1.Political

The political system in China will influence how the business is handled by SIE and have a direct impact on the business. The political factors can provide opportunities to the business as well as limitations. According to Xie & Heijden (2010), the political structures in China has been changing dramatically over the last 15 years in terms of access points for social movements. The political systems of China are strong as well which can help boost the economy. The government is committed to flourishing the businesses and also increasing the production of different types of items. This can benefit SIE as well, as PS4 Pro is a somewhat unique product. China also has right and just regulations which can help keep the economy on the right path of growth and success. For instance, China has taken strict measures to provide a safe environment for foreign investors (Bulloch, 2017). The one-child policy also impacted SIE as children then tend to be lonely and hence play games at home. This impacted the business positively. However, as mentioned by Wang, Gu, & Cai (2016) the one-child policy has been lifted starting on January 1, 2016, where the couple are now allowed to have two children. Although, the policy has been relaxed a little the young population of China still thoroughly enjoy playing games and this would only help increase the number of consumers.

4.1.2.Economic

The rapid growth of the Chinese market is an advantage for Sony. Along with that, the increase in disposable income and the purchasing power is allowing a larger amount of customers to buy PlayStation. The disposable income of China has been progressively increasing and is expected to reach 41767.56 CNY by 2020, as can be seen in the figure below (National Bureau of Statistic of China, 2017). China also has a tremendous rate of savings, a large number of skilled labours and the extensive export business. This can also add to the benefits for the sale of PS4 Pro.

Figure 2: Disposable Income Per Capita in China
Source: National Bureau of Statistic of China (2017)

4.1.3.Social

The current population of China is over 1.3 billion with the 2017 growth rate of 0.43% based on the latest estimates from the United Nations. China ranks number 1 in the list of countries of the population and is equivalent to 18.47% of the total world population. The population is forecasted to reach 1.4 billion by 2026 (Worldometers.info, 2017). This help in increasing the market size of PS4 Pro. The age distribution of China keeps fluctuating, however, with the removable of the one-child policy may increase the proportion of the younger age group and hence also the demand for playing games.

Figure 3: Population Growth Rate in China
Source: National Bureau of Statistic of China (2017)

4.1.4.Technological

In terms of technology, China is developing rapidly as well; however, one major problem is that in China there is no safe and stable online payment system. The Chinese buyers are mostly on uncertainty avoidance level, hence strengthening this problem. The most widely used method of payment of credit card, has been seen through studies that in China has a low acceptance level. Low usage is also being faced by those systems that support the online transactions of credit card (Yang, Liu, Gao, & Li, 2012). This could be one barrier for Sony as it may prevent them from being able to sell online and hence have a greater reach in the market.

4.1.5.Environmental

With rapid growth and industrial development, there is also an increase in pollution and a decrease in natural resources. So, the awareness regarding the protection of the environment is beginning to increase in China and as a result the consumers may be made to shift towards e-commerce eventually. The reason for this being that the use of e-commerce is more towards a paper free environment which is much less polluting with damage to the environment being restricted. As discussed by Shantong & Jianwu (2013), China’s WTO accession, after the rising concern for the environment, will have important implications on the environment.

4.1.6.Legal

Currently, China is revising and considering the existing laws and statutes in order to confirm if they are in accordance with the WTO model. Any laws and regulations that are considered obsolete and being removed and those rules and regulations that are incompatible with the rules of WTO are being revised. Also, a legal basis has been provided which guarantees the rights of independent operations to foreign-funded operations and to provide protection of the legitimate rights and interest of both domestic and overseas investors (Chan & Ip, 2014).
 
 
 

4.2.SWOT Analysis

Strengths:
  • Sony is well known for its technology and electronics. Backed by such a company helps PS4 Pro get a good reputation as well.
  • Sony has a reputation of high performance as well as have a fan base
  • Have multiple predecessors before PS4 Pro that has been well received and loved by the consumers (Saed, 2017).
  • In the larger market the attraction is gained through a number of movie titles existing in its name.
  • Sony learns from their mistakes and comes up with a better version, removing the flaws of the previous version.
  • With high-performance processors and other internal components, PS4 Pro has been able to outperform its competitor, Xbox One S (Stuart, 2016).
Weaknesses:
  • Some consumers may not be able to afford to buy PS4 Pro due to it being highly priced (Tyrrel, 2016).
  • Not enough promotion and advertisement is done which leads to Microsoft having a relatively larger fan base.
  • When it comes to systems bundles that are another weakness of Sony. Nintendo and Microsoft both offer at least 2 games with their console which is not done by Sony. When consumers look for the best value for money then they may not look at PS4 Pro for that.
  • PS4 Pro can only be played on a game console with the monitor while Xbox One S can also be played on Windows OS by computer or laptop (Hollister, 2016).
Opportunities:
  • To produce products in an even more efficient way there are numerous opportunities to increase innovations for their gadgets.
  • Could consider dropping the price to the level of the competitor so that it can stop the need to ride only on the outburst of sales that take place at the start of the launch and increase sales throughout.
  • Reinvesting money in the advertisement campaign can help create awareness and recognition of PS4 Pro (MarketingLessons, 2016).
Threats:
  • Faces tough competition from the leading global competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox One S and also an equally famous competitor, Nintendo.
  • Another threat that is faced by Sony is of online hacking. PS4 and PS3 have been hacked a number of times and this threat will continue to exist if something is not done to come up with ways of securing their servers more.
  • China has a strict censorship system which restricts multiple games of PS4 Pro (MarketingLessons, 2016).
 

4.3.Product Life Cycle Theory

The product life cycle theory is when the marketing for a product is divided into four stages; introduction, growth, maturity and decline. However, when the product is based on sales volume than the first two stages of introduction and growth are merged into one. This basic cycle is followed by almost every product (Bilir, 2014). The cycle may complete over a number of years but it follows this cycle nonetheless (Beir, Fodha, & Magris, 2010). However, when it comes to the life cycle of the gaming consoles, they operate on a rhythm of their own (Cao & Folan, 2012). On the other hand, as mentioned by Hurst (2012)in his book, the CEO of P&G, A. G. Lafley, in his tenure, is said to have believed that the product life cycle does not exist. Both views, the existence and non-existence of the product life cycle, may be true. This is because the company’s marketing people are always in the process of thinking up of ways on how to revitalize their product offerings. For PlayStation the same is applicable; PS2 may be just being put to bed, however, more updated versions are being replaced with it. On the other hand, PS4 Pro on its own has a life cycle as well. In order to elongate the product life cycle and increase sales, Sony is using innovation. This is being done by their main rival Microsoft Corp as well. with Xbox One S (Brustein, 2016). Wang, Hu, & Zhang (2010) discusses in their article that using technological innovation is the principal method of elongating the life cycle of a product. Similar to this view, Thang (2016) says that the traditional life cycle of consoles is dying. The traditional life cycle of 5 to 7 years will soon end and will be replaced by a quicker console cadence, once again due to the fast paced change in the technology. Backed by all these arguments, it can be estimated that PS4 is at its growth stage and is still far off from maturity while PS4 Pro may be somewhere between introduction and growth (Lau, Kwok, & Chan, 2008). However, if PS4 Pro is based on sales volume, then the first two stages may be merged and it can be seen that PS4 Pro is at the growth stage as well (Farooqui, 2014).

4.4.Factors Affecting Customers Behaviour

4.4.1.Brand Personality

When consumers use a gaming console and play on them, they develop a relationship with it as they engage with it. This may lead to perceived brand personality traits to manifest in the minds of the consumers. Brand personalities are often developed in the minds of those consumers who have a long-standing engagement with the said brand. One such personality traits manifestation is mentioned by Palomba (2016) in his article, where he explains how the personality of the video game console may change with the change in gender. For instance, things that would appeal to the male population would be things like direct competition, clear goals and role definitions. Anything that is more physically oriented would appeal more to the male population. On the other hand, to the females, those games would appeal more which provoke the thought. Palomba hence came to the conclusion that the brand personality of the PlayStation is said to have the traits of being up-to-date, confident, and intelligent and to be the leader while being of the upper-class. All in all, it is considered to be ‘progressive’. The designer of PS4, Tetsu Sumii, also, wanted the brand to break away from the past image. He wanted the brand to now have a sleeker, simple, living-room friendly design (Hillier, 2013)

4.4.2.Customer Motivation

Customers are generally motivated by the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs when deciding if they need something and making a decision to make a purchase. In this hierarchy, the human needs are classified into 5 categories, as can be seen in the figure below (McLeod, 2016):

Figure 4: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Source: McLeod (2016)
The theory suggests that the needs at the lower levels need to be met before one can move on to the next level. However, it has been observed that PS4 Pro cannot fulfil the needs to belongingness and love. Therefore, Sony needs to come up with other ways to motivate customers to buy their products. One method, as suggested by Fernandes & Remelhe (2015), one way could be customer engagement. Allowing the customers to be active co-producers could strengthen their relationship with the product i.e. PS4 Pro; such as collaboration to co-create through innovation (Rayburn & Gilliam, 2016).

4.4.3.Customer Perceived Value Conceptual Framework

The economic value of video games has shifted from being part of the niche market into being a blockbuster business. Today, more people play video games than do other activities such as going to the movies. The video game industry is now perceived to be the fastest growing industry and is also considered to have a high degree of dynamics and innovation. According to Marchand & Hennig-Thurau (2013), the conceptual framework of value creates for customers can be seen below:

Figure 5: Conceptual Framework of Customer Value Creation
Source: Marchand & Hennig-Thurau (2013)

4.4.4.Reference Group Theory

The reference group is a theory where an individual or a group compare oneself to another group and uses that other group as a reference (Strang, 2010). Such a reference group provides contrasts and benchmarks that are then used for evaluation of personal characteristics of an individual or that of a group (Boundless.com, 2016). Sony hence needs to take this into consideration. If a reference group is formed with those people who are a user of PS4 Pro, then other consumers may set that as a benchmark and strive towards getting it as well. According to Yu, Dutta, & Pysarchik (2012), reference group have a stronger and positive influence on the attitudes of the consumers. Therefore, Sony should have this in mind and use this to their advantage.

4.5.Competitor Analysis

The competitors of Sony in the Chinese market include the game market of China. The major competitors of Sony are Microsoft and Nintendo. Nintendo in China is known by the name of iQue. Another competitor in the gaming industry of China is NetEase Inc (Ramli & Nakamura, 2017). The use of consoles over others means of playing games is still relatively low as can be seen in the figures below. However, consumers are gradually shifting towards the use of consoles. During that time, the game software could be used as a resource to reach a larger share of the market.

Figure 6: Top 5 Global Countries by Game Revenues in 2016
Source: Newzoo (2016)

Figure 7: The proportion of Sales Revenue in China in 2016
Source: Newzoo (2016)

Figure 8: The Chinese Games Market in 2015
Source: (Newzoo, 2015)
This literature review gives us an overall overview of the Chinese market environment, the consumers of PS4 Pro and the company itself. This shows the issues that may arise for the company operating in China as well as different ways on how to reach out to the consumers in the best possible ways. It also helps explain what makes the Chinese consumers tick and what leads them to make a purchase. This research also helped identify who the competitors are and where the company stands with respect to its competitors.

5.Project Results and Analysis

5.1.Key Finding 1: Main Elements Influencing Chinese Customer Buying Behaviour

Physical factors are one of the elements that the buying behaviour of the Chinese customer can be impacted by. The physical factors are things that the company can control. The customers view PlayStation having a personality that is progressive. In order to encourage consumers to make the purchase, the company needs to ensure that they continue to see the product as that only (Luo, 2009). However, Fergal Gara, the UK managing director, has a gut feeling that PS4 and PS4 Pro may not have a longer life cycle as compared to PS2 and PS3. They believe that the consumers' cadence for innovation in technology is increasingly similar to the rise in the tempo for upgrades in mobile phones. But there is also the fear that Sony may not always be able to come up with a new innovation (Reynolds, 2013). At any future point in time, there is also the possibility that Sony may not be able to come up, at a fast rate, with new technology for the customers and be made available to them. Due to this, to maintain the personality of being progressive and confident of their brand, Sony needs to come up with other ways (Lv & Wang, 2011).
As seen earlier under reference group, what you do or do not buy also depends on those around you. The social situation can have an impact on whether the consumers would make a purchase or not. If all the consumer's friends have a PlayStation and the consumer is the only one who doesn't then that would encourage them to buy one as well. Therefore, the social situation affects the consumption of a consumer, or in this case, the consumers’ buying behaviour (Burns & Bowling, 2010). The consumers’ buying behaviour is also affected by the time of the year. The consumers may be more inclined to purchase a PS4 during the vacations when they are free and do not have anyone to spend the time with (Legohérel, Daucé, Hsu, & Ranchhold, 2009). With the one-child policy and now the start of the two-child policy, the children are used to growing up alone. The children do not have siblings or other children their age in the area to play with. Therefore, they would be more inclined towards buying a gaming console especially during those periods of time when they are free and have nothing else to do (Hall, 2017). The Chinese customers’ buying behaviour could also be influenced by other personal factors. For instance, the personality of the consumer, the gender, age and the stage of life they are at. If the game is such that it involves more physical activities rather than be more about puzzles then it is more likely that the males would buy it (Pelsmacker & Janssens, 2007).

5.2.Key Finding 2: The Effects of Objective Factors to the Sales of PS4 Pro in the Chinese Market

Objective factors are those factors that are inherent in objects, which in turn can have an effect on the sales of the object. There are a number of objective factors of PS4 Pro due to which consumers either decide to buy or not buy the product (Sharma, 2016). One factor is the price; the PS4 Pro may look much sleeker and may be justified in pricing the product at the price that they have; however, the sales are impacted negatively due to this. As Xbox One S is priced lower than PS4 Pro, those consumers who cannot afford PS4 Pro may decide either to not buy it at all or turn towards a competitor (GamesRadar, 2017).
Another factor is that “PS4 Pro” provides a ‘boost mode’ which increases the resolution of the existing games being played on PS4. However, the existing games of PS4 would require a PS4 Pro patch in order for the detailed resolutions to be enabled. This may discourage the consumers from not only shifting towards PS4 Pro from PS4 but also from buying PS4 Pro altogether since these patches are available only at a small fraction of the console’s library. In terms of appearance, the PS4 Pro is slightly bigger in size with a sleeker finish on top as compared to PS4. PS4 Pro is more appealing in terms of appearance to the consumers as well as has an extra USB port, an optical audio port, and uses an HDMI 2.0a, along with all the basic features that PS4 already had. These factors, along with the improvement in resolution and clarity of the images attract the consumers towards buying the PS4 Pro and hence increase sales (Porter, 2017).
PS4 Pro also has a novelty element to it that adds to its objective factors which can help Sony increase its sales. Its appearance is unique and its light weight as well. The console is compact and is loving room friendly. These factors can also have an effect on the sales of PS4 Pro in the market and on the decision of the buyers (Liftig, 2013).

5.3.Key Finding 3: Better Understanding the Attitude of the Chinese Customers towards PS4 Pro

The attitude of the Chinese customers towards foreign brands has begun to change over the years. They have begun to evolve as the perception of the local Chinese brands is beginning to improve. This can be attributed towards the improved design of the products, the increase in customer sophistication, nationalism, a tendency by the media in China to play up any minor or major issue with the product or service of a foreign brand and the marketing and functionality of the Chinese brands itself. Therefore, brands cannot rely on the foreign allure to succeed in the Chinese market. The Chinese customers seek quality, social identity and status in their purchase decisions now (PublicAffairsAsia, 2014). Similarly, when it comes to the experience of playing games, the Chinese consumers generally defect to PC in order to have the best graphical experience. The consumers have a high demand for high-end, very immersive, and a high production value gaming experience. This demand has been met by Sony through PS4 Pro. If the audience wants the best in terms of the graphical experience, then PS4 Pro may be taken into consideration as that is how the company wants their product to be perceived and that is what the attitude of the customers is as well to some degree (Silver D., 2016).
As mentioned by Makanyeza, Macheyo, & Toit (2015), how the product is perceived and the perceived value and satisfaction one obtains from the product can influence the attitude towards the product in a positive manner. Therefore, it is necessary that the customers always perceive the product as one of value and quality in order for them to have a positive attitude towards PS4 Pro. They also had findings which showed that the perception of having a necessity for the product can lead to having a positive effect on the perceived value which can, in turn, have a positive impact on customer satisfaction. So, if the PS4 Pro is perceived as a product of necessity, then that may also impact the attitude of the buyers towards the product. In the article Mpinganjira (2016) also said that post-purchase attitude is important when it comes to the customers. If the post-purchase experience is positive of the customers, then that may change their attitude towards PS4 Pro positively as well. However, if they are not given any attention once the sale has been done and the customer is facing any issue then that may affect their attitude towards the whole brand negatively. Therefore, Sony needs to ensure that all the customers get a very good post-purchase experience and that it continues to be so as well.

5.4.Key Finding 4: Understanding Issues Impacting the Customers’ Purchase Behaviour, and Influencing Factors of the Sales of PS4 Pro in China

There are also a number of issues with the PS4 Pro and the company that is impacting the purchase behaviour of the Chinese customers. One issue was the release date. As mentioned earlier, the release of PS4 Pro in China was a year later than what the official release date was. China lifted a long running ban of 14 years on the game console by the year 2014 and Sony has been working to release its products in China since then (Thomas, Thomas, Tang, & Gwilym, 2005). However, the company is facing issues in launching the products at the same time as the official release date. This causes some customers to either buy the product from other channels or other countries, hence reducing the sales to take place in China (Phillips, 2015). Another issue is the confusion it may cause (Silver & Aidid, 1999). Sony repeatedly has to specify that the PS4 Pro is not the PS5 and that that is to come later. However, as it gives rise to the question ‘who’s it for?’ the PS4 Pro promises to provide a better resolution to those who need it (Wu & Chen, 2000). It does seem to fulfil the promise, however, Sony is said to be using a checkerboard technique that is supposed to fool the user into believing that 2K is 4K when it doesn't really have the grunt to render most games at 4K resolution. Also, the PS4 Pro isn't for those who do not have a 4K TV or is happy with their existing PS4 (Regidi, 2016).
Another possibility that may impact the sales could be that the Chinese customers may have already bought the consoles of Sony through the grey market. So the launch in the Chinese market may not give much of a boost to the overall sales figure of Sony (Karmali, 2015). The customers in China also seek to have simplicity due to lack of time and stress. The customers would be less likely to make a purchase if the PS4 Pro’s purchasing process is too complicated. If the choices are simplified for them and give them the ability to buy exactly what they want without too much stress and a waste of time then the company is likely to be rewarded (Oakes, 2011).

6.Conclusions & Recom       mendations

Through this research study, it can be determined how much of a success PS4 Pro would be in the Chinese market. It helps us in understanding the behaviour of the Chinese customers in the market. The Chinese market is a vast one with a very large market of those who thoroughly enjoy playing video games; it has a huge market for video games as quite a large portion of the money spent on video games from the world comes from China alone. The Chinese seek for good graphic resolutions when playing a game and PS4 Pro can provide them with just that. Although the price of their product may be relatively higher than that of its competitors, the Chinese customers may still be willing to buy them since it provides them with exactly the same experience what they have in mind and wants to get. The customers are also able to get a certain degree of value for their money as they know that the PlayStations have a long product lifecycle. If they buy one version, they know that it would not be rendered useless if a next version comes out soon after. They may be inclined to change their version when they seek to have an upgrade in the experience that they get when playing the game. Therefore, PS4 Pro may be able to succeed in the Chinese market and also be able to increase sales over time if they improve further and also take into consideration a number of recommendations derived from this research study.

6.1.Recommendation 1: Understanding Factors Influencing Sales

One factor that Sony could use to their advantage is the gamers of China. The Chinese are big fans of playing not just any video games but those games that provide them with a good graphical experience. It is one of the strengths of Sony to come up with new, innovated and upgraded versions of the PlayStation. This strength could be used to reach out to the Chinese customers and convince them that theirs is the product that they need and want. Also, Sony should increase their promotion and advertisements of PS4 Pro in order to not only increase awareness and recognition of the brand but to also increase simplicity.

6.2.Recommendation 2: Understanding the Customer Buying Behaviour

In their purchase decisions, the customers now seek quality, social identity and status. They require the best graphical experience when playing a game. If that requirement of the Chinese customers is not fulfilled then these customers would automatically defect towards PCs, other substitutes and competitors. Therefore, Sony must ensure to provide them with quality products that also gives them social identity and status.

6.3.Recommendation 3: Understanding the Customers Perception of PS4 Pro

The Chinese customers view PlayStation as a product that is progressive. Sony, therefore, needs to maintain that image. They need to appear confident and unique and hence in turn, progressive at all times. If that image is to shatter, then that could negatively affect the sales of the company. Reference groups also need to be taken into consideration by Sony. If Sony does not land in being a reference group, then the customers would be less inclined to purchase the product. PS4 Pro needs to be seen as a product that is desired and be more towards an aspirational product to even those who cannot afford it yet but may be able to in some time in the future.

6.4.Recommendation 4: Avoid Hits about Policy Issues

The Chinese government is now seeking to make all their laws and regulations such that they are in line with the WTO. Sony, hence, would also need to make sure that it does not cause any kind of pollution in the environment while operating in the country.

 

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