The Genius of Sony's Game Marketing

Over the past 4 years, the words "Sony needs to advertise better" have been shouted on podcasts, by industry "analysts," and of course by the throngs of gamers who think they pinpointed Sony's problem.

While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, only several privileged people get to work behind the curtains for the prestigious electronics maker. And while everyone thinks they know what Sony should do, there's only a handful of people who could and do lose their jobs based on their decisions and actions.

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Eric Cartman4030d ago

He makes a few factual errors in his article:

- Sony's been the most successful company in generating hype for its games this generation but it's not because they are geniuses; but rather the quality of the games the money and teams they dedicate to each game they create and/or fund.

One has to realize that the internet crowd is just a fraction of the total consumers that buy games and gadgets. Look at Bayonetta for example, it had hype and was acclaimed by the reviewers, but the sales were no were near the expectations.

Also, Sony probably has the highest percentage of mature fans of all game companies and this translates into well-written articles and arguments for Sony. Again, this may not be a deliberate genius plot by Sony, but rather how they want their company to be perceived by the public; as a mature company and not a toy maker. So it's more of a byproduct.

- Advertisement is an effective catalyst to the word of mouth. You spend big bucks on a product and convince a percentage of the population that your product is special, and then they start hyping it to no end. Sony doesn't count on this initial investment. There are lots of examples to back this point up.

- Sony advertises heavily in Europe; almost all major soccer tournaments in addition to the Champions League are sponsored by Sony. Everywhere you go, you see a Sony, PlayStation, Bravia... logo. Look how well it is doing in Europe compared to the US.

- Uncharted 2 could have surpassed 5 million easily but it didn't, why? This is a game when you have to go all Halo-y for, but Sony was very conservative about the marketing although U2 was advertised for more heavily than the other less-fortunate titles.

If advertisement isn't important, how is it possible that Assassin's Creed 2 can sell as much or more than Uncharted 2 on the PS3?

Quality can't speak for itself alone; it needs money, like everything else in life.

Screw you guys, I'm going home.

goalweiser4029d ago (Edited 4029d ago )

He clearly says "Tactical spending" which means Sony spends money. They just don't do it as much as the competition.

Your examples of Sony marketing more in Europe are great, but once again, it shows that Sony targets specific places as opposed to a mass global attack.

He's right. They don't spend money on exclusivity. They don't spend near the amount of Microsoft on ads globally but yet they're still close. He never said advertising wasn't important. It seems that he does understand that advertising SMART rather than COSTLY is more important.

Just today Rob Dyer, SCEA Senior Vice President of Publisher Relations, spoke about how Sony were going to let ARC do the talking for them.

If you read this article, that's the exact same business plan it seems Sony had for the PS3.

Have they adapted? Yes. That's where the "tactical spending" comes in. But no where in this article does it say Sony doesn't advertise or spend money. That would be foolish to say. He even begs the question who spent their money wiser?

If he's wrong then why did you buy your PS3 and where did you hear about? I know I bought mine because of friends.

You say quality can't speak for itself but the author said people talk,not the PS3. I think you missed the point of the article for the sake of being argumentative.

Hakimy4029d ago

getting good reviews isn't called hype.getting many previews and daily coverage before the game gets released is called hype like lair,haze and too human.nobody cared about bayonetta until reviews came out just like okami and shadow of the colossus and you can't find people who say that both games got hyped.I could explain more but i just wanted to point this ;)

mastiffchild4029d ago

Arguments are all well and good on this subject but the fact remains that MS have achieved their goals a lot more than Sny this generation. Is their marketing-however wisely and stingily spent-achieving their aims when compared to last gen they must be making next to nothing and are still third out of three from a position of near total dominance last time out?

I love my PS3 and, if anything, prefer Sony's current model for gaming to either Ninty's or MS's but anyone suggesting their advertising has been anything like as successful as MS, let alone Nintendo, this generation is in cloud, effin cuckoo land imo. They've lost ground, marketshare and profits this gen compared to last and not in a small way either and it's only recently that the doom has been lifted a little. IMO it's also no coincidence that it's happened with better TV campaigns in all regions(even if the 6th form art collage BS we get in the UK is still awful and the voiceover can come across as pretty arrogant at times)and word of mouth/Virals only compliment rather than replace anything of the sort of big TV campaigns we see from the others.

Ninty have swept all before them in sales and ad terms, MS have achieved their main aim of increasing market share and Sony have fallen way off the pedestal PS2 placed them on. Arguing that, following this, their ads have been anywhere near as good as the others, let alone better, is off their damn trolleys as far as I can see!

Maybe the need to win the BR/HDDVD format war took it's toll on Sony's thinking and the streamlining of a company grown flabby during PSx/PS2 success was certainly a great reply to a nasty wake up call and something they needed to do. That they have continued to support so many varied gaming products of a ludicrously high average quality is very admirable but the sales figures speak for themselves and they say that the company with the best brand awareness and loyalty in the business has managed to sink from a distant first place to a close third. I don't see how THAT can possibly be seen to be great advertising and the other fact(that they CHANGED their ad company before Slim launched)shows Sony know the impoprtance of actual campaigns and that they'd been lax, too arty and had lost considerable ground in staying put til that point.

This just backs up my belief that viral and word of mouth advertising isn't the start or the big be all and end all the article makes out and though he argues his points well he ignores the stark and brutal fact that ads(good campaigns anyway)equal sales and judging this way Sony have clearly been the big losers on this front in the current generation. I believe they now found their feet and probably knew it would be a long haul anyway but based on sales and Sony's own recent actions(not to mention their past aberrations in the viral area with THAT PSP mess!)how can anyone really think their ads have been the best or most effective-wherever they're found or what form they've taken?

King_of _the_Casuals4029d ago (Edited 4029d ago )

You may like Sony's strategy all you want but this is a business and the bottom line in business is making money. And out of all 3, Sony is the one making the least of it.
This article just reeks of a Sony fanboy trying to justify Sony marketing tactic. I mean, I love my PS3 but I must admit I get kinda upset when incredible games such as Killzone 2 and Uncharted 2 don't even come close to the sales numbers they deserve!

We can argue all you want but the numbers speak for themselves.

AKNAA4029d ago

I bought the PS1 because I heard that it was the console with the best games in all genre's. So when the PS2 and PS3 came out, it was just a matter of "when" I'll be purchasing them, since I knew that the quality(of hardware) and quantity(of Games) was already there.

Biggest4029d ago

Someone missed the point. How is Microsoft making more money when they're losing more money as well? It's not all about how much you have coming in. If you spend before you gain, spend while you gain, and spend more after you gain. . . I think it's safe to say that you aren't making very much.

Eric Cartman4029d ago

Tactical spending means minimal investment for maximal return. Sony has done that to some degree but far from genius they are.

One huge mistake they make commercially is pouring $20m into a project and spend a fraction of that amount on marketing. Although for me as a gamer, a polished, high-budget game is preferred to a mediocre game with massive ad campaigns, but for Sony as a company, this isn't the wisest approach.

Take a look at this article to know what I mean:

I'm not saying that Sony should spend more than they should on marketing like EA, but Uncharted 2 should have been at 5m+ by now. Failure to reach that landmark is Sony's fault.

The guys at Nintendo are marketing geniuses; how can you sell 20,000,000+ copies of an average 20 year old game on a handheld and then port it to a console and sell another 12,000,000+ copies?!

Microsoft is average when it comes to marketing, Sony is much better than Microsoft but they could have done better.


I agree with most of your points; however, I don't think Sony's position now in the third place has much to do with their marketing department. They miscalculated the market and produced a device ahead of its time that the market simply wasn't ready for. I suspect they didn't want to release the PS3 back when they did but were forced to do so by Microsoft.

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Chupa-Chupa4030d ago

As in PlayStation HOME? I'll meet you in the Singstar VIP room.

HowarthsNJ4029d ago

Go into any popular retail chain in NA and you'll have a hard time finding PS3 games.

Walmart, Target and Best Buy for example practically hide all the PS3 stuff.

I went into one Walmart that had all Playstation formats crammed into one small case in the back while XB360 and Wii occupied a whole wall of cases.

Amazon is a PS3 owner's best friend these days. The only thing I buy from brick and mortar stores anymore is food and large bulk items.

Even the stores that give equal space to Playstation games tend not to stock the good ones and try to sell games like "Alone in the Dark" at full price ($60.00). It's crazy.

hoops4029d ago

That's the problem. NA like it or not is the biggest market for prooducts worldwide. Its the one area Sony has lost major marketshare in...and not just in the console area. Other electronics also.
Sony use to be the one to beat for Tv's. No longer. Samsung and Panasonic have taken over that mark

King_of _the_Casuals4029d ago

Sorta like when Sony did that to Sega and the Dreamcast???? Remember how Sony forced retailers to remove all Dreamcast in-store ads or they would lower the amount of PS2's they received.

Karma is just taking it's course!

Biggest4029d ago

I personally like LG better. Samsung LED screens are all glossy. Sexy as all get out. . . But glossy.

RedDragan4029d ago


Actually the EU is the biggest market for products. And when the EU gets it's teeth into the timed releases within EU territories then 1st week sales for PS3 will go through the roof.

I bring that little point up because the European Politicians, not the same as national politicians, are not happy at some nations within the EU having to wait longer to get things. They are going to force the companies to release things in one big go... that is 750M million people having access to the products on the most advanced continent at the exact same time.

It is No. 1 for sales now, imagine it when everything is fully aligned. Oh... my... god!!!! PS3 is gonna own the sales charts!!

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hoops4029d ago

Sony's marketing is lacking plain and simple. You saw this when SOny lost the market edge with portable players(Walkman) to the ipod and then lost the market to TV's to Samsung. Sony during the 1970's and early to mid 80's never had to hard push advertising because their motto "Sony the One and Only" was enough. They made FANTASTIC quality electronics and word of mouth and reputation pushed the SOny name and they advertised less then its competiton.
However, once the market crashed in the late 80's and early 90's and SOny started outsourcing its electronics to china and other cheaper manufacturers like other electronic companies, Sony's quality dropped, but SOny's high prices stayed the same and its advertising model.
The competition caught on and advertised more agressively and sold similar quality products for less.
Sony is behind the times in marketing its products. They are still advertising the same way as they did since the 1980's. Ask yourself why SOny has been in finacial restructure 3 times since the early 1990's and why NOW is the PS brand last in overall profits in hardware and software


ps2 and psp and ps3 and hardware...still add up

ForROME4029d ago

Alot of people talking about the PS2 and how the PS3 is selling at the same rate of growth if not better, however this gen they have real competitors that make it less ok to take as long as they once did.

SONY needs to take away some hard lessons, dont over price at launch, dont get arrogant and think you own the market, market well from the start

OSIRUSSS4029d ago

Sony should be more arrogant. The PS3 established a HD Disk format all by itsself.That is hard to do, Now Sony can sit back and reap the spoils of winning that war for the next 15 to 20 years.

RedDragan4029d ago

But PS3 is the better selling console... not really sure how it can learn any hard lessons.

When you perform better than your main rival, the main rival is the one that needs to learn something.

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