Sony Preps Family-Oriented Marketing Expansion
Nintendo may be considered the quintessential "family" company in the world of video games, but Sony wants a piece of that pie, too.
According to a recent article at Video Business, Sony is planning to drop some heavy campaigns designed to target all ages, and this involves games like SingStar, LittleBigPlanet, and MLB 07: The Show. And in addition to the software, Sony will advertise the PS3 as the "most comprehensive Blu-Ray Disc player available on the market." At this point, it's the only Blu-Ray player that will also play DVDs, and it's also the only one that is Web-enabled.
“Our goal is to definitely widen our target base and not be so niche,” said Kim Nguyen, PS3 manager. “We are not all about shoot ’em-up bloody games. There are friendly games.”
That's on the software side of things. As for the hardware, Nguyen had this to say:
“This is high-def entertainment messaging, where we have our exclusive software titles, and we are delivering a very powerful machine. On the movie side, you have beautiful movies that you can watch on the PS3. We are going for that larger audience.”
Nintendo has long since used a family or "community" approach when hyping the Wii, producing television ads that depict multiple users (usually families) having fun with the system. But Sony wants to remind everyone they have games for everyone, too, like the karaoke-style SingStar and the cooperative multiplayer online game, LittleBigPlanet.
As of now, the Wii has sold an impressive 5.84 million units through March, while Sony has sold about 3 million PS3s in the same span of time. Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter thinks this new marketing campaign will help to boost PS3 sales, and further believes it's necessary for Sony to sell the consumer on their Blu-Ray technology.
“What they want to do is position the consumer to start wanting the PS3 in time for Christmas,” said Pachter, assuming advertising may begin as early as June. "Sony needs to educate consumers on why they need a Blu-ray player."
Nguyen actually mentions one interesting sales tidbit in the article, one that most industry analysts and gamers might find surprising. According to her numbers, the PS3 was actually the only next-gen console to boast a sales gain between February and March of this year. The Wii dropped 22%, the 360 fell 12%, but the PS3 enjoyed a slight rise of 2%. It's hardly the biggest time of year for gaming and the drops in sales are expected, so the small rise is good news for Sony.
“The timing is definitely right [for renewed PS3 promotion], as the manufacturing issues have been ironed out,” Nguyen said. “Retailers are getting an influx of supply, so it makes sense to ramp up marketing to coincide with that.”
Sony is targeting a number of events to help push the PlayStation brand (and thus, PS3s), and that includes the PlayStation AM JAM tour, which features professional skateboarders across 8 U.S. cities. PlayStation Patrol trucks continue to roam the country, and the company has even buddied up with the San Francisco Giants to help promote MLB 07: The Show. Before the Giants come up to bat, clips of the game will run on the team's brand new high-definition video screen in the outfield.
Sony is certainly preparing an all-out marketing blitz, here, and it's no surprise they're targeting the "everyman" gamer, along with families. The effort should increase awareness and interest in the PS3, that's for darn sure.
5/7/2007 Ben Dutka