Sunday, August 2

Editorial: Seriously Sony, where’s the advertising?

Sony has made a name for itself in the gaming industry. A good name minus all the negative press the company has been fielding recently. It is respected worldwide as paramount to the success of the gaming industry. Can you picture the future without Sony in the arena? Sure you can but your view won’t be that optimistic if you live in the real world. Millions of gamers worldwide remain loyal to the company, come what may it seems. And with good reason, Sony has led the industry for over 15yrs, with major 1st and 3rd party exclusives pumped out successively. It has been this way from since PS1 days, the best exclusives were home to the then white machine. I won’t even begin to list the games, time will ultimately run out. Next it was the PS2’s turn to shine and shine it did, with consoles being sold by the millions even into 2009, in fact, the company actually sold more PS2s than PS3s this past quarter. What a raving success the PS2 was, or still is. Matter of fact it has sold over 150million units worldwide; and that my made Sony extremely cocky. The company became careless, thinking no one would ever top them and some how managed to lose ground to the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo. Today they’re in 3rd place. Don’t be mistaken though, I would not be surprised at all if Sony made it to the top again. But even today after they’ve learned many lessons, some attitudes of the PS2 years still lingers. One of them, the lack of advertising.

Back when the PS2 was in full bloom, the giant did not have much advertising to do. Everybody knew about the console, every home had one in it's living room, and as I stated before people are up until now purchasing the system. Advertising was not an area Sony needed to push hard because, c’mon, the thing was ubiquitous. Most games sold very well on the system paying even more dividends to the company. Well it seems Sony forgot that those days are no more. You got a lot more Xbox 360s around, Nintendo Wii is omnipresent, and you Sony, is for now in 3rd place. Even President Obama gave ironic props to the Xbox360 while telling parents to turn off gaming and read with their children. The fact is Microsoft’s console has become a household name in the US. Yes PS3 is still raging strong. Believe me, Sony is here to stay but at the same time, they’ve got to up the ante and be way more aggressive, especially in the advertising department. The company has made great progress but much more is needed. And the price point does not help either.

Why do I hardly get to see ads for my favorite PS3 games before they hit the shelves? Gamers who are not as informed as some of us get there info from advertising. Duh. Seriously, before killzone 2 was launched the hype train was continuously breaking the speed limit online; but it was a no show on my TV. Most games I see ads for are multi-plat yet still I’m left with the feeling that they’re only on Xbox360. Yes I know they’re on both consoles, (they’re multi-plat) but some kid who’s not informed will most likely pick up the Xbox 360 version. My 360 on the other hand gets all the love, and I‘m glad. I just wish Sony could do a better job. Infamous is now out, yes the game is selling well as it should. It’s the best game out this summer. But don’t you think it could have done a whole lot better had Sony upped the advertising? Yes it sure would and still can. Word of mouth can get you far, but how far? You’ve got to push your games. Uncharted 2 is upon us, a game that every true gamer should be playing come October. But will Sony be aggressive enough and make it a household name? We’ll have to wait and see.

One could argue it’s up to the 3rd party studios to do their own advertising, but I would beg to defer, this situation has been ongoing more so with 1st party devs. But even with 3rd party studios, Sony must play a heavy role in advertising. Both Sony and Naughty Dog are invested in the success of this game, (Uncharted 2: Among thieves) therefore both companies should advertise aggressively. Can one hand clap? No. Can one leg walk? of course not, the same goes for Sony and it’s affiliates, and for that matter Nintendo and Microsoft.

Let me make one thing plain, lots of game studios from around the world have only praise for Sony. Many developers have come forward and declared how great a working relationship they have with the company and why they would never leave. In a climate where pressure is being mounted everyday to make games for all three systems because of rising costs, and also because it’s common sense, the companies that remain loyal to Sony, remain loyal not because they have to, but because they want to.

But in order to win, you Sony got to step it up. Remember the main reason I bought my PS3 was to play games. If you fail to advertise to the masses and depend solely on word of mouth and the internet, it could mean one less consumer, which equals to one less game, and one less game will mean one less dollar. And for all those who think one less is nothing. Think again, if one drop of rain keep falling in your cup continuously, eventually it will overflow.

08/03/09 Ernice Gilbert

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