PlayStation earning an award from Guinness is more of a cheap PR stunt than it is a prestigious honor.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary today, PlayStation announced that it had received a new award from Guinness World Records, the record-keeping company responsible for those massive books you probably used to buy at your elementary school’s book fair. The award was given to honor PlayStation as the best-selling home console brand of all-time compared to its competitors.
PlayStation shared an image on Twitter of SIE President and CEO Jim Ryan holding the award alongside former PlayStation boss Ken Kutaragi. “We’re thrilled to be certified as the best-selling home video game console brand ever, with over 450 million units sold across the original PlayStation, PS2, PS3, and PS4 as of Nov. 7 according to [Guinness World Records],” read the caption of the tweet. PlayStation then thanked fans for making this possible.
We’re thrilled to be certified as the best-selling home video game console brand ever, with over 450 million units sold across the original PlayStation, PS2, PS3, and PS4 as of Nov. 7 according to @GWR.
And it’s all thanks to you 💙 pic.twitter.com/maO0TOVqs2
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) December 3, 2019
Sony has indeed sold far more home consoles than other competitors like Nintendo, Xbox, and Sega over the years, and props to them for the success they’ve had. The only problem that I have with this whole situation is that the award itself from Guinness is extremely hollow and altogether pointless.
If you’re unaware, in recent years, Guinness has essentially become a glorified PR agency that serves to hype up various companies and people depending on whatever record they can attain, no matter how obscure it might be. Guinness even charges some clients to help think up records that they could then award said client, purely for the purposes of promoting them. Being awarded something from Guinness comes with a certain level of publicity, which many companies are always looking to receive. Guinness, in turn, is then paid by said client for the whole ordeal.
Guinness has also worked with some extremely sketchy clients such as dictators within the past few years as well, which shows that they’re almost willing to sell out for anyone. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver had a good segment on this a few months back if you’re interested in watching it down below.
So am I saying that Sony PlayStation paid Guinness to receive this award today? Well, probably. PlayStation is looking to celebrate its 25th anniversary in grand style, one would assume, so what’s better than an award from Guinness to make themselves look that much better than the competition? Apparently, not much else.
Plus, do you notice how oddly specific this award is? It makes sure to specify that only home consoles are being considered here. Otherwise, if handhelds were included, Nintendo would be the overall top-seller of all-time thanks to the countless millions of Game Boy and DS units that have been shipped over the years. So while Sony is technically the best in the home console space, the margins had to be a bit narrower in order to make them worthy of the world record.
Sure, PlayStation is the best-selling home console brand of all-time, but I guess what I’m saying is that Sony didn’t need some vapid award from Guinness to verify as much. They’ve reaped the rewards of their success at the market for the past 25 years and will likely continue to do so well into the future with the PS5, which is releasing next year.
Congrats on the achievement, PlayStation, and I wish you all the best moving forward. That said, this “world record” means about as much as my opinions on strategy games do.