A reader is unimpressed by the first TV advert for the PlayStation 5 and suggests Sony has focused on the wrong things to promote.
I read last week’s Reader’s Feature, about how Sony is winning the next gen war by essentially doing nothing and letting Microsoft make a fool of themselves, and I ended up agreeing with a lot of it. Sony hasn’t really done anything this year to promote the PlayStation 5, except unveil its line-up of games – most of which don’t have a release date. But now they have taken the initiative and done something proactive by releasing their first TV ad and… it’s kind of awful.
If you haven’t seen it I’m sure GC will post it somewhere on this page but it’s basically an advert for the DualSense controller more than the PlayStation 5, with no gameplay footage just a lot of vaguely video game-y looking locations including an ice sheet at night with some kind of kraken underneath, a night-time military camp in the jungle, and a big dark cave with a rock monster of ambiguous friendliness.
The first question I asked myself is… why is it all so dark and miserable? Sony must’ve done that on purpose, but why? What was it supposed to mean? At a time when Fall Guys is the biggest thing on the PlayStation 4 why did they not realise that given what’s happened this year we’re all looking for a bit of fun along with our cutting edge grimdark? So why three scenes in near pitch blackness?
Sony described how they made the advert almost all using CGI, so they could’ve made it look like anything, but they went with this. And why the focus on the DualSense? Haptic feedback is not new tech and is often just an irritating distraction in my experience. I’m sure it’s better now than when it first came out 20 years ago but I bet most causal viewers had no idea what the advert was even talking about or why it should make them want to buy a PlayStation 5.
The most peculiar thing though, in my opinion, is why was there only one person wandering around in the ad? If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us it’s how good video games are at bringing people together and allowing you a virtual social life even when you can’t step outside the door. This advert seemed to portray gaming as the exact opposite.
There’s been a lot of worries in recent months, voiced by Microsoft and others, that now people can finally go out the last thing they’ll want to do is retreat back inside and go back to playing video games again. That makes sense, psychologically speaking, and is another reason why the next gen consoles coming out now is awkward timing.
But Sony seems to ignore all these issues and just portray gaming as something you do on your own, in the dark.
It is only one advert, it’s true, but as the first part of their marketing campaign it’s a surprisingly poor effort and something I think they’d be wise to forget about and brush under the carpet as soon as possible. It’s not going to lose them the next gen or anything dramatic like that, but I think it does prove that last week’s Reader’s Feature was right: Sony are winning the current hype battle by doing nothing. And a soon as they do decide to do something we can see they’re just as fallible as Microsoft.
As far as I’m concerned the next gen console war is still wide open and while it may once again be won by whoever makes the most mistakes – not who scores the most victories – there’s no reason to think that won’t be Sony in the end.
By reader Reed
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