Few people may have realized this but November 3rd, 2012 marks the launch of PlayStation Mobile. This should actually be a big deal for Sony because this means the PlayStation platform will become available across a series of mobile phones, tablets, and the PS Vita. PlayStation Mobile, for those who don’t know, is Sony’s attempt to bring PlayStation quality games to mobile platforms and expand their reach in gaming past game consoles. This brings to the forefront the biggest concern that surrounds Sony and leads to the following question: “Where is the marketing for all these innovations and releases that are coming?”
Sony has had a rough history when it has come to marketing campaigns during the life cycles of many of their consoles. The first console of theirs that this became obvious with was the PlayStation Portable (PSP). During the early part of the system’s life when there were few titles, Sony had a chance to flaunt all of its multimedia capabilities that would show what the system could do before the games arrived, though they did not.
Then, when the system began amassing more titles, Sony never put the emphasis to let people know that games were being released for the PSP outside of industry events. This continued well into the end of the system’s lifespan when some of the best titles were being released for the system such as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Dissidia Duodecim Final Fantasy, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, and many more. Sony’s attempt at having a strong marketing campaign to piggy back off of the Kevin Butler one was the travesty known as “Marcus.”
After the issues with the early lifespan of the PSP, one would assume that Sony took lessons from their handheld and make adjustments for their next home console. Sadly, the PlayStation 3 suffered from many issues; but one that still plagues the system to this day is the mishandling of marketing for the system. While the Kevin Butler and Michael ads provided some high moments, there are still potential ways in which Sony is not fully marketing the capabilities of its home console.
Case in point is PlayStation Plus which gives relatively free games, DLC, discounts on games, and provides users with exclusive content that other services are not providing all for only $50 a year. It would seem that Sony would be tooting its own horn and advertising it everywhere especially after the recent announcement from Microsoft and its lackluster rewards program.
Another lack of marketing on the PS3 from Sony is not putting nearly enough emphasis on advertising the PlayStation Move. After the initial announcement and showings of the peripheral, Sony just let the Move sit on shelves without informing consumers on what the device could do and how it could change experiences in games with one to one detection. Essentially, the device uses the same kind of tracking technology used in motion capture and not enough word was spread on the potential of the device as not a main control scheme, but an additional one that could make game experiences more engrossing.
The latest victim of this bad trend is the PlayStation Vita, which seemed all but ignored at E3 this year. Sony did make up for that mistake at Gamescom and TGS, but it makes you wonder why Sony has not done more to spread word about the system. With the ability to buy certain PS3 games and get the Vita version for free, you would think Sony would have posters and commercials every where letting people know. The PS Vita is an impressive piece of technology that does many things right and Sony should be out there flaunting the features, upcoming games, and apps for the system.
Now, with the upcoming release of PlayStation Mobile, the game industry would expect Sony to at least put it out there that this week was the launch of something that could be important to the PlayStation brand if done correctly. This is a chance for Sony to get a nice head start in the mobile arena ahead of Microsoft and Nintendo.
How can Sony get out of this trend? Personally, I believe the first thing Sony needs to do is be willing to admit they have made mistakes and actually tell people how they have improved on their mistakes. Consumers would rather know that a company is making strides in improving their mistakes and are putting them first.
Second, all of the products, services, and innovations Sony is bringing to the PlayStation line need to be shared everywhere. It is surprising how many places you will see the Xbox 360 advertised or shown on a TV show. Sony needs to learn from Microsoft and raise the exposure of the PlayStation line to consumers by having more commercials on TVs and slipping their products onto TV shows, movies, billboards, or just about anywhere they can.
Lastly, Sony needs another good commercial campaign such as the Kevin Butler ones. Something that pokes fun at competitors while still showing off what the PlayStation can do for gamers and everyone else. Michael was another spectacular campaign that showed gamers that Sony is thinking about them and everything they play. A good campaign should show off what PlayStation can do for consumers, how it does things differently than its competition, and how PlayStation owners are important to the company.
Sony has done much the past few years to make up for many of its prior mistakes and initially limited offerings. Now is the time for them to let people know that they have a wide array of offerings for people out there. PlayStation Mobile and PlayStation Vita allows gamers to get their fill of games on the go while PlayStation 3 provides home entertainment and games with different ways to interact using the DualShock 3 or PlayStation Move.
PlayStation Plus service even brings great deals, games, and more to those looking to get some more benefits from a paid service. There is so much going on with PlayStation right now. All Sony has to do is let everyone know what is going on in the world of PlayStation to pull people in.