We have seen what the Xbox Series X will physically look like, and we have seen footage of some of its games running on the hardware. By contrast, the appearance of Sony’s Upcoming Playstation 5 unit remains a mystery, as are its games, and Sony’s executives are not worried about it.
According to Business Insider, when asked if he would give the Playstation’s marketing team a “passing score” during a recent investor’s call, Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki confidently replied: “We consider things strategically, but [are] doing our best. As for pass or fail, I would wait for PS5 sales to make that judgement.”
While it is surprising, and a bit odd, that Sony hasn’t really shown much of its console apart from its controller design (pictured below), it also not unexpected that their confidence going into the next generation of consoles remains ‘sky high’.
Sony’s confidence in the Playstation brand, and in their ability to create their own marketing ‘Hype’ led them to skip the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo last year. The move raised some eyebrows as the event known as E3 has been traditionally viewed as ‘The Event’ for making big waves in terms of game, and console marketing in the United States.
Even before the COVID- 19 Pandemic caused the cancellation of this year’s E3 event, Sony had told GamesIndustrybiz.com that they were planning on skipping the event once again. Inevitably, eyebrows were raised again. The announcement of a new console, its price point, and its games usually took place during the annual event.
The irony of Sony skipping E3 for the last two years is that it was precisely 2013’s E3 that helped the Playstation 4 to have an enormous headstart over the Xbox One, as Microsoft infamously botched their own Xbox One reveal press conference during the event. So, in terms of providing a visible platform for a console launch, E3 has historically been good for Sony.
The PS4 has dominated the sales charts for the past 7 years, and regardless of their marketing efforts Sony is banking that its considerable user base will translate to PS5 sales. It has happened before for the company.
Back in the late 90’s Sony was coming off similar success with their original Playstation platform. The PS1 had out sold its competitors by a larger than 2 to 1 margin, and the Playstation brand was strong. Sega tried to get a headstart, and spent millions of dollars in marketing for their ill fated Sega Dreamcast console, and it didn’t make a dent on the Playstation 2 sales numbers.
Sony launched the PS2 a year later with a pedestrian lineup of early titles, and it made no (negative) difference at all. The PS1 user base translated into immediate PS2 sales success. It seems that Sony is confident of a similar scenario taking place this Fall when its PS5 goes head to head with Microsoft’s Series X.
It is assumed that this summer Sony will finally make the big unveil of the PS5, and while Microsoft seems to have an upper hand in terms of how upfront they have been with their own next generation console, Sony’s executives are (likely) confident that their brand, and their large user base will prevail in the end.