How PlayStation and Xbox waged a marketing war ahead of the release of new consoles

592 views 00:37 0 Comments 07.09.2021

In November this year, new versions of the main consoles of recent years are released – Xbox Series X from Microsoft and PlayStation 5 from Sony. The main characteristics of the goods, their cost and release date are already known, but let s talk about something else. On the marketing approaches of companies in the fight for customers. Moreover, they chose completely different methods – closed and mysterious versus completely public.

PlayStation – mysterious closure

The first information about the new console appeared in April 2019. Instead of a pretentious presentation or other public event, Sony announced it through exclusive material. It appeared in Wired, an influential technology magazine. The journalist spoke with the chief architect of the set-top box, Mark Cerny. In the text, he talked about the main features of the PlayStation 5. This is a new gamepad, fast hard drive and other technical characteristics.

It became a real sensation. After all, earlier consoles were announced at large events, which were warned in advance and prepared for them by the participants and the audience. But instead of a full-fledged presentation with a bunch of spectators in the hall and online, a number of game trailers and the structure of the show – an ordinary text in the magazine. After that, there were other interviews and materials in online media, texts in my own blog and posts on social networks. This has become the new marketing of PlayStation.

The company began to focus on digital marketing tools and move away from traditional tools. SMM, viral and content marketing came to the fore. Also, Sony began to hold its own online event State of Play and refuse to participate in classic conferences at popular gaming exhibitions. And to get a more powerful effect, they rarely threw in new information about the console.

On social media, PlayStation has opted for a point-by-point method of presenting information about the new console. Thus, the gaming community discussed each news for a long time and actively. The players were simply kept on “information hunger”, so simple publications from the console logo or the first image of a new gamepad collected huge coverage and received good user engagement.

There are also disadvantages to this approach. For example, the cost of making a mistake is very high. When you give little and rarely information, then you need to do everything very clearly and correctly. Otherwise, the attempt will fail, people will be disappointed and they will have to wait a long time for the next step.

This is exactly what happened with the first public event, where it was planned to talk about the PS5. It was an event where fans wanted to finally get a lot of new information about the new console. But it turned out that it was completely dedicated to developers. A lot of boring information about the technical details of the console, features of its architecture and other things that are not interesting to a wide audience.

As a result, the video of the conference on YouTube received a lot of dislikes, as well as negativity in social networks. Sony was wrong in positioning and understanding which target audience to target specific messages.

Further, they did not make such mistakes, and the next events were devoted to the appearance, the announcement of new games, trailers, and at the end they named the price and release date of the console.

Xbox – publicity and new information

Microsoft s marketing approach is completely different. They published a ton of information about the new console and constantly used all communication channels. These are social networks, bloggers, online events and gaming events. Although the coverage and engagement of their news was lower than that of the PlayStation, this was due to the fact that Microsoft published more information and more often.

This approach helped the Xbox to gradually catch up with the competitor in terms of the level of positive attitude towards itself among the players. Many users were satisfied with the actions of the company and began to speak well about the new console.

In addition, all this time, Microsoft constantly told new information about the console, regularly added the next details of technical characteristics, services and games. Each month, there were several interviews with a representative of the Xbox team. Thus, the company answered all the questions of potential buyers and stimulated them to discuss the product. With the help of this approach, it was possible to attract the attention of the audience to the brand, even among those people who were not loyal to it before.

The new console from Xbox was constantly in the information field and became recognizable.


In the marketing battle of the two new consoles, we have followed completely different approaches. Sony relied on their credibility and the trust of their huge fan base, so they used secrecy and occasionally provided new information. Microsoft, on the contrary, had to catch up with its eternal competitors, so they focused on complete publicity and did not disappear from the information field.

Which approach turned out to be better – we will be able to understand exactly at the end of the year, when we see the results of the first sales of consoles.

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