The Zimbabwean Perspective

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Editorial Gaming

Sony needs to stop seeming like it’s a step behind Microsoft as far as the PS5 and Xbox Series X are concerned.

If we were in charge we might do something about it…..

We’ve been covering the PS5 and Xbox Series X for a few months now. Despite all the disruptions and uncertainty the world is going through due to COVID-19, these game consoles seem to be unhindered and undeterred in their production and release aimed for the end of this year, showing just how important both these products are to their respective companies. Which is why we can’t help but notice that when it comes to owning the hype and publicity surrounding these next generation gaming machines, it seems Microsoft and its Xbox Series X are definitely a step ahead of Sony , and Sony might need to get it’s act together as far as that’s concerned.
Microsoft has made this the face of the next generation of gaming
Now we already alluded in our previous article about the Xbox Series X how Microsoft has essentially made its console the face of next generation gaming. Since December of last year the gaming and tech community have essentially been fed scoop after scoop of the Series X, creating a feedback loop of Microsoft essentially making gamers excited about it’s upcoming console while giving them just enough information to keep them interested and asking for more of it. The Series X is essentially etched into the mind of every console gamer, whether they’ll ever buy it or not, while the PS5 seems like it’s come and go for most people, fading in and out of their collective consciousness except when either Sony does make an announcement, and that announcement getting trumped by a Microsoft one most times. Microsoft currently owns the collective mindshare of a lot of gamers right now, and it’s about time Sony got their act together and matched up.
Unveiling the DualSense wasn’t a bad idea, but more moves like it are needed.
To be fair, Sony does seem like they’ve been partially blindsided by the approach Microsoft to letting out so much information about the Series X. In fact, as we’ve mentioned a few times before now, this console generation seems like it will be different from every other that came before it, and the marketing around that seems like it will be different too. This is why Microsoft has put itself at the seeming forefront of it from day 1, deciding to buck the trend of being traditionally secretive around the time for E3 where all console details would be unveiled in a big bombastic presentation. Instead Microsoft has let out a steady stream of information for like breadcrumbs for gamers, keeping the Series X on their mind because of the company’s openness, rather than their mystique. Sony has largely stuck to the more traditional model of being mysterious instead, and it’s hard to say it’s completely working for the company. Sony themselves seem to be realizing this too, as now they have been releasing details about the PS5 in an almost compensatory way, basically trying to still remain secretive about larger aspects of the PS5 such as the console’s look or even launch title exclusives, while teasing technical details that fans would have found out from developers instead. Now some of these have been more successful in gaining fan hype and attention, such as the DualSense controller reveal, but others like the Game Developer Conference talk or CES 2020 logo reveal have been less than stellar. Those were essentially events meant for technical media and executives along with third party developers, yet Sony pretty much hyped them up for fans to pay attention and get involved online only to not change the nature of said events at all and disappoint said fans instead. The logo reveal became a joke for the tech media for a few weeks while the developer talk did reveal interesting details for people to talk about, but only after multiple fans logged off from the live stream after finding it “boring”. Even the recent announcement of Playstation Studios, the company’s new dedicated triple A games studio for console exclusives, is being pegged as almost copying Microsoft’s new Xbox Game Studios meant to do the same thing for the Xbox, despite the fact that Sony has long been home to console exclusive studios long before Microsoft was trying to catch up.


All of this has sort of put Sony in a disadvantaged state as far as coverage and hype over the upcoming console war is concerned. And the fact that on paper the PS5 seems less powerful than the Xbox Series X doesn’t help either. And this doesn’t actually mean that everyone suddenly wants the Xbox Series X instead of the PS5 , after all not a single one of these consoles has been released or sold yet. However marketing happens in businesses for a reason, and definitely contributes to how much of any product is sold, including the harder to convince gamer community. The key part to releasing any new product is forming a narrative around it, and Microsoft has already sorted out most of its narrative, while dominating the collective narrative around these upcoming consoles as well. It’s sold the power of the Xbox Series X and how it fits into the ever-evolving Xbox ecosystem which includes the Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs and the upcoming XCloud gamestreaming service as well. Sony….kind of doesn’t have a narrative for the PS5, beyond that it’s an upgrade over the PS4. There are definitely facts about the console out there but there’s no cohesive story tying it all together. And again, when launching the PS4 or the PS3 , that was enough. Because a narrative was sold to fans on the reveal event for those machines. But now when the road to the reveal event seems to be just as important as said event, Sony might have to rethink how they are going about all this.
A look back at a more dominant time, the PS4 reveal event
Sony themselves have always been a very traditional and stubborn company as well, and that has cost them quite a lot in the past, you just have to look at their history of failed media formats or smartphone designs from 2013 up until 2017 to get proof of that. And to be fair, that adherence to tradition might not exactly fail them, after all Apple tends to stick to their guns against almost every other tech company and that works for them even in cases where many might say the company is dead wrong. Sony seems to be following an almost Apple-esque model with the PS5, focusing in the experience of using it rather than just raw power, and being tight lipped about the features fans want to know most about. In the end, I personally don’t think Sony will lose too much to Microsoft if their PS5 reveal does blow fans away, which there’s still room for. But it’s definitely become a little harder to do that with Microsoft dangling the Series X in all its glory for every gamer to gawk at. But we’ll see what the company has in store, and if it can maybe even make a marketing comeback the way we would want it to.  Until then, may the next -gen console war continue, to the victor go the spoils.

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