The Retro Raconteur:
CRank: 5Score: 0

Marketing For PlayStation Meeting Has Been Superb

It would be an understatement to say Sony's recent marketing has been poor. From the early PlayStation 3 (PS3) commercials to the lack of any marketing push for certain titles (ex. Sly Cooper Thieves in Time), the company has struggled to get a grasp on how best to market many of its products. As I discussed last week, Sony has a unique opportunity on their hands with this week's Futre of PlayStation event and despite past struggles, the marketing for this meeting has been absolutely superb.

Sony has released a video each day, starting with the history of the original PlayStation (PS1) this past Friday. Saturday night's video detailed the story and hype of the PlayStation 2 (PS2). Sunday's video focused on the PS3. Does this point to a PSP video for Monday and a PS Vita video for Tuesday, all leading up to the PS4 event this Wednesday? That remains to be seen, but of the videos released thus far, they will undoubtedly conjure up a number of memories about owning your first Sony console. This sense of nostalgia is exactly what Sony is hoping for with these videos.

Geoff Keighley of tweeted out "Best PlayStation Meeting video yet coming to GT early next week." But even folks who aren't directly associated with the video game industry are taking notice. Mark Gurman of tweeted "Sony continues teasing the next PlayStation...they're setting ridiculously highly expectations ."

So have they set the expectations too high? I suppose we won't know the answer until Wednesday, but the expectations themselves though are certainly high. As someone who works in marketing myself, I'm more intrigued by the why. Why are they releasing daily videos? Strictly just for hype? How do they relate to the PS4 event? Some answers are obvious. They want to ride a continuous stream of momentum leading up to Wednesday. They're focusing on their "past" while teasing the "future." But there's more than that; specifically, why is Sony attempting to draw on their past in hyping their future?

Reason #1: Brand Loyalty
Sony currently holds the #1 and #2 spot for all-time home console sales with the PS2 and PS1, respectively. Each system sold more than 100 million units worldwide with the PS2 selling over 150 million (source). Those numbers are staggering. For comparison's sake, even the most optimistic estimates have the PS3 selling roughly 77 million units worldwide. That's nearly a 50% drop in user base from one generation to the next! Think about that for a second. Of those 150 million PS3 owners, roughly half of them purchased a PS3. And this is assuming that no one bought the PS3 as their first Sony console, which is highly unlikely.

With these videos, Sony is hoping to bring back those 150 million PS2 owners. They're attempting to remind you of the feelings you once held toward the brand, feelings that resulted in more sales than any home console ever. In a sense, they're conveying how they once had your full trust as a consumer. They were the go-to option for gamers, a pinnace they're boldly trying to reach again...with PS4.

Reason #2: Brand Power
This could almost be included with reason #1, but I thought it different for a couple of reasons. Sony has often been described as an arrogant company. They once posited that gamers would get a second job to afford the insanely overpriced launch PS3. Aside from Nintendo though, I'm not sure anyone can claim to have changed the industry as much as Sony. And that certainly brings a sense of power and respect that Microsoft just doesn't have yet. These retrospective videos attempt to show Sony isn't a new kid on the block (Ouya) or the still relatively young but promising (Xbox). They are showing how they were (and still are?) the company that once toppled the almighty Nintendo for console supremacy back in the mid-90's.

Reason #3: Gamers Can Relive That Past...While Enjoying The Future (theory)
It's entirely possible these videos were only designed and created for the reasons already mentioned. After all, a strong brand is an incredibly powerful tool. Perhaps I'm giving them too much credit, but I think there's more to it than the first two reasons I outlined.

Let's start with Sony's purchase of Gaikai, the streaming service. I think it comes full circle here with the announcement that every PS1, PS2, and PS3 game will be available from day 1 on the PS4 via cloud gaming. How is that any different from PS1 and PS2 classics currently offered on the PlayStation Store? Well for starters, it's every game. And's going to be part of the PlayStation Plus subscription service. Users won't actually pay on a game by game basis.

Anyone remember Sega Channel? No? Didn't think so. It was such a niche product, I don't know anyone else who had it. My wonderful parents realized its awesomeness and gave it to me as a gift. For a monthly fee, I had unlimited access to roughly 35-50 games, which changed each month. Sound familiar yet? Personally, I think Sega was ahead of its time as this is almost exactly what Sony has created with the PlayStation Plus service and its Instant Game Library. More on Sega Channel here and here if you're thinking I'm a loon who created this with my imagination. How big a statement would it be if Sony announced that every game you grew up playing will be available on PS4 through a new Gaikai application?

These videos, while expertly crafted and resulting in rampant speculation, mean nothing if Sony's event flops on Wednesday. Although I'm clearly a zealous PlayStation fan, I think it accurate to say Sony has our attention for this week's PlayStation Meeting. The gaming world is watching; will Sony deliver?

The story is too old to be commented.
wishingW3L1918d ago (Edited 1918d ago )

the real world still doesn't know anything about the conference though. So all this "internet marketing" has been pointless because core gamers are core gamers after all and the console wars are won by the company that attracts the most casuals.

RetroRaconteur1918d ago

Certainly need casuals to be truly successful. I'm not sure this event is about the casuals though. I think it's all about hyping the base. They've still got E3 (more mainstream) to focus on casuals.

FamilyGuy1918d ago

Sony have claimed numerous times to rely on word of mouth. Us "core fans" will watch the event and hype the PS4 to our more casual gamer friends.

Ultr1918d ago

huh? Every newspaper has it written on the header in my country?

SynGamer1918d ago

searching "PlayStation meeting 2013" yields quite a few results...

BitbyDeath1918d ago

Newspapers, radio, magazines and TV will tell everyone what occurred at the conference after it airs.

Cam9771917d ago

Exactly but I do believe that they recently got a new head of marketing which certainly has positively affected their advertising.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1917d ago
Nicaragua1918d ago (Edited 1918d ago )

I disagree that no-one outside of gaming circles has heard of the imminent announcement of the PS4.

I am the only person in my office that is passionate about gaming and follows the gaming news but nearly everyone i work with (about 15 people of various ages) has commented to me that “ooh have you heard about the new playstation, i bet your excited!” or similar comment while waiting at the coffee machine.

The hype is definitely out there, whether or not Sony deliver on that is a different story.

ZombieNinjaPanda1918d ago

Obviously our situations are different. Even my friends who consider themselves gamers haven't heard about the conference. But then again, they don't care for Sony that much.

Ultr1918d ago

here too man! everyone is talking about it :D

smashcrashbash1918d ago

What you guys are saying makes no sense.There are hundreds of millions of core gamers and anyone else will hear about it once Sony starts marketing the PS4. We PlayStation owners and every other core gamers know about the PS4 and the conference and the rest of the world will find out about it once they start commercials and their ad campaigns.It is not important that every single person knows about the reveal but important that everyone knows about it when it is near to and ready to be on sale. Who outside the core knew about the Xbox 360 or the Wii U? No one. They only knew once the commercials started.And the presence of the PS4 will leak out once word of mouth reaches the other people through the core. And at E3 even more people will know about it.

Come on, they haven't even revealed it yet and people are already complaining that not enough people know about it? The reveal is not the most important part to non gamers.Besides I thought people didn't want Sony to pander to the casuals? The way people attack Sony even when they even hint that they want to add something for the casuals I thought that was taboo? Let's not pretend that anyone outside gaming circles knew about the Wii and Xbox 360 before they were revealed and advertised

RetroRaconteur1918d ago

Exactly. This is all about exciting the core IMO.

heard1911d ago

According to me, Sony needs to get serious regarding it's marketing strategies. No doubt that they are world class makers of game console but marketing should also be done hand in hand.