Nikhil Kumar: Sony playing the wrong game with this Playstation 4 'launch'
Sony’s planners did a brilliant job of generating hype: the event was invitation-only
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Saturday 23 February 2013
US Outlook What was Sony thinking? The Japanese firm clearly studied Apple's marketing playbook when it put together the New York Playstation event this week. But it's just as clear that it failed to read all the way to the end.
Sony's planners did a brilliant job of generating hype: the event was invitation-only, with no intimation of what was coming, and a teaser website was set up, offering mere hints that the presentation had something to do with the Playstation franchise.
Everyone, however, expected the unveiling of the Playstation 4, much like everyone expected the new iPhone before its super-secret launch. The timing seemed right, more than seven years on since the release of the last version of the console, and the gaming community couldn't wait to get its hands on the new device.
But at least we saw an iPhone at the iPhone launch. At Sony's event, we saw lots of slick videos of what the Playstation 4 can do, of the hi-fi graphics it can generate. But there was no sign of the console. Nor was there a launch date or a price.
This is a risky game. The Playstation franchise is not what it used to be. Sales have declined since the glory days of the Playstation 2. Sony desperately needs to win back the attention of its customers. No doubt some bright spark inside the company's marketing department thought that the way to stem the decline would be to play hard to get.
But modern consumers are fickle. They can pick from among a plethora of gadgets. If you go about it the right way, they will listen to your pitch but only for so long.
Sony will be hoping that all 1,200 people who filed into New York's Hammerstein ballroom for the "launch" this week will return for the launch, whenever it takes place. But even if they do, the hype would have evaporated. Sony had everyone's attention this week, and it squandered it. Let's hope for the company's sake that the Playstation 4 is a good enough device to pull in the customers by itself, without the help of the marketing department.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Germanwings plane crash: Investigators may have already found remains of suspected killer co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...