Sony's impressive strategy stole the show at Gamescom

Sony's Gamescom press conference was an inspired piece of marketing and another sign that the once out-of-touch company is back on track.

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The opening of Sony's Gamescom press conference this year was a revelation--and not because it was filled with any earth-shattering announcements, or CEO-related mishaps. Rather, it showed Sony--a company that for the longest time seemed to have completely lost the plot--finally getting its act together, and understanding its audience.

Shuhei Yoshida didn't say a word as he quietly walked onstage to open the show. There was no grand fanfare as he sat down in a comfy leather chair and began casually flicking through the slick-looking menus of the PlayStation 4. And there was no wall of marketing fluff between him and the audience as he jumped into a Killzone match, failed to shoot at anything in particular, and tweeted a picture of one of its trees.

You could easily imagine yourself in Yoshida's place, sitting back in that comfy leather chair and generally larking about on a PlayStation. Here was a company so assured in its messaging, and so completely convinced by its creation, that it had the confidence to sit back, shut up, and let the product do the talking. Sony simply showed the world how great the PS4 is without surrounding it with a cloud of fluffy marketing speak and outlandish promises. It was relaxed, it was self-assured, and, above all, it was genuine.

It was a piece of presentation brilliance that Sony's competitors would do well to take to heart. When Peter Moore takes to the stage for EA and starts spouting hyperbole about the latest FIFA, do you really believe that he has ever played a game in his life? Or when Microsoft's Phil Spencer announces that FIFA 14 is being bundled in with preorders of the Xbox One, do you really think that it's some grand gift to gamers, rather than just a desperate attempt to claw back customers after a string of disastrous decisions?

"Sony simply showed the world how great the PS4 is without surrounding it with a cloud of fluffy marketing speak and outlandish promises."

Sony is not perfect, and it certainly fell in the trap of wheeling out an endless string of suits to promote its wares later in its presentation. But by grabbing our attention so firmly at the start--even if it was ultimately just some slick marketing--you feel that it cares, that there's a grand vision at work underneath it all that's finally coming to fruition.

You could see that vision when Sony announced that the PS4 was designed to make it as easy as possible for developers to create great games. You could see it when Sony told a packed E3 crowd that you could share and sell disc-based games, and play them without an Internet connection. And you could see it when it spent as much time talking about indie games at this year's Gamescom as it did the likes of Killzone: Shadow Fall and Assassin's Creed IV.

This is a company that has an innate understanding of what its customers want, and one that's not afraid to be bold when it needs to be. It's hard to imagine Microsoft showcasing something as off-the-wall as Octodad alongside the likes of Killzone, and yet Sony does so, and it never feels like an insincere token gesture towards the indie crowd. Our Sony Gamescom appointments this year weren't filled with shooters and racers, but rather the likes of Knack, Rain, and Beyond: Two Souls.

Ultimately, what we want are great games. Some of us will want our games to have big explosions. Others will want to race the fastest cars. Other people will want games that are artistic, wacky, thought-provoking, or just plain fun. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that the PS3, the PS4, and yes, even the Vita, are the best places to get that kind of variety now and in the future, at least if you don't own a gaming PC.

Microsoft might have the mighty Titanfall, but it doesn't have the confidence, the charm, or the passion for games that will see it play a majority role in the next console generation. Sony has got its act together; it's telling the world it knows and loves games. And that is exactly what's going to secure its place as the console of choice.

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Discussion

5249 comments
chyng85
chyng85

 "There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that the PS3, the PS4, and yes, even the Vita, are the best places to get that kind of variety now and in the future, at least if you don't own a gaming PC."

I love above statement~ Thanks~

dralutfi
dralutfi

Ps4 ? PC ? Xbox ? ....... I ll wait and play what left from PS3 and once the next version of everything coming, I ll see what r u guys hitting... 

Depresso
Depresso

As I own both systems I have to say that whilst I prefer, oddly enough, the the ps4 controller with its touchpad, I still beleive that when it comes to online experience Xbox Live is way ahead of PSN. It's hardly surprising that Microsoft would be better at making Operating System than Sony but people seem to forget the different origin of the two companies. One a software one a d the other a hardware one. Sony used to be the benchmark for tv sets, no longer, Samsung is the new king, whist Microsoft dropped the ball in the software stakes with Apple really hurting it. I guess both Sony and Microsoft expanded their business and lost site of what they did best. I wish though both companies success with PS4 and Xbox One as competition is the only assurance we have for quality and fair pricing, do not wish anyone to fail or we'll all lose out in the end.

smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

While I do believe that games are one of the biggest selling points of the new consoles, I also believe they have a trump: reliability. 

I, for one, am very impressed with the Xbox One exclusive, Titanfall. However, I am concerned about the reliability of Microsoft's new system after all the changes they've supposedly made to it after E3. You can't be working on a system for 4+ years and then make structural changes months before release date and expect everything to run smoothly. This is how unfortunate events like "the red ring of death" happen. There has also been to much "seat swapping" going on in the Microsoft corporate office for them to have one unified idea about the system they are putting on the market this November.

As an owner of both old consoles but a player of mainly the PS3, I tried to go into reveals with an open mind and possibly make the switch to Xbox. However the past few months have pretty much locked in my decision and, Sony....I'll be seeing you in November!

gyrn58
gyrn58

After years of xbox I guess I am going to go with the PS4 this year<Its a shame since I have a lot of money invested in the xbox 360.But if I can't play my 360 games on the xbox one why buy it.I havealways wanted to buy  a playstation  so I guess now is the time.

Godokuno_Dan
Godokuno_Dan

Now we just need Virtua Fighter 6 and Shenmue 3 and I'm ready to rock. Please god let Sega make a yakuza game for PS4 pronto.

DYLANMMOPI
DYLANMMOPI

The day xbox and ps servers can play together is the day I'm truly satisfied with either one of them.

Yogurt_master
Yogurt_master

So they hired a new marketing company and that is what you are impressed with.  Got it.

Funny thing is that you didn't mention games and that pretty much says it all.  If you have to put filler games in because you don't have a proper AAA game line up, then what is the point?

People buy these consoles for AAA quality Games, not marketing. 

lifemeister
lifemeister

I don't get it.  This guy works for Gamespot, right?  He's obviously bias.  Isn't he supposed to support all gaming, all consoles in general.  Hmmm...Gamespot.

coopdale
coopdale

I think this article and point is contradictory. I totally agree game is everything for the final judgment. Then, how can some company's marketing strategy win without showing "any" game? Is it kind of viral? Gamer should choose own console based on games not by someone's opinion or marketing strategy. 

SpinDie25
SpinDie25

Impressive strategy? Having a retarded competition is their #1 strategy

gundamalt
gundamalt

summer 2014 will be ps4 for me with deep down by capcom .

gundamalt
gundamalt

gaming is looking go this year.

gundamalt
gundamalt

sony u are coming on strong keep it up .

anhuarx
anhuarx

Its sad to see how sony has pushed it self over the edge in the console wars i think the ps4 feels like a desperate attempt to keep the company going i dont tink it will last more than 2 years in the market 3 tops with no vision no innovation if you really look at it the ps4 feels like a cheap copy of the xb1  even the interface for gods sake its like a poorly build metro overall it feels like sony has given up and the ps4 is a poorly trown hail marry to stay in the game 

wdma
wdma

Sony get it

RonRec
RonRec

Did you X1 fanboys even read the story? Geez...

UPinSmoke020
UPinSmoke020

good marketing? Al they do is milking the Microsoft mistake from e3. Sony's e3 presentation was a joke with sound and screen freezes Sony would have never had as much hype and preorders as they do now without the MS idiot policies back then. At gamescom they showed nothing new besides vita and indi shit no one cares about. Upcoming pax probable the same thing.  

PS4 better have significant uber graphic power over the x1 cause that's all they got atm. Imo ps4 has a most likely inferior operating system, inferior control possibility's, inferior number of exclusives, inferior cloud capabilities, inferior online service, inferior partnerships with dev's and inferior fundings. Ow forgot to mention the ps4 price as a good thing but MS countering that by giving away free fifa2014 and there are rumors of a second free game wich will make 500 a bargain. God, im becoming a fanboy.... help.. anyone?    

tommynj
tommynj

Sony is no better than Microsoft. Sony had the same plans as the original Microsoft plans and intentionally backed off just to save face. Pretty pathetic actually. Atleast Microsoft had the guts to try something new.

rarson
rarson

This is pretty much the impression I got when Sony first unveiled the PS4. They seem to understand that the secondary functions are about enhancing the gaming experience, rather than getting in the way of it. They seem to understand that the bottom line is great games. They seem to have actually *listened* to consumers! I was shocked when I realized this, and I'm glad to see they're still promoting the same message. They've done an excellent job with the hardware design and have nailed the price point, so if they keep this up, I have no doubt they'll be the most successful this time around.


Sony, this revitalized outlook reminds me of a very special time in gaming: U R NOT (red)E. Bring back some of those awesome ads that showed off the gameplay and included hidden cheat codes. Let the games speak for themselves! Marketing hype is exactly that. If you really do have the best games, then show us and we will buy them.

KingChainz31684
KingChainz31684

PS4 is impressive and has done a great job of reaching out to the core markets and to the developers. Xbone started out almost pushing away core fans of the system. Not good when uve had years to plan PR and the only reason why they didnt completely crash and burn is cuz they reversed all the original core policies

drytal
drytal

All the writer's are using this so called fanboy war to get more hits and get paid. Its the laziest way to make money like journalist.

evil_snuggles
evil_snuggles

My Favorite song is the XBOTS sings the blues Boo hoo . Lol lol lol

mountainexplore
mountainexplore

Boy.. It would nice to be able to read more "positive" and informative articles for both consoles (equally). Is this too much to ask? Getting tired of articles that are simply designed to garner fanboy freaky mentality. With that said.. Does anybody know where I can go to get unbiased informative articles??

socialcontract
socialcontract

I don't understand why the Xone is getting such a bad rap; it's as if every gamespot reporter has zero appreciation for what the console is bringing to the industry. Making Kinect a permanent part of the console opens up developers to all sorts of options and game features the likes of which we have not seen before. I don't see a single imaginative or original idea coming out of SONY. 

valknight
valknight

Sounds like some gamespot reporters are on their knees at sony's headquarters.. 

GamerDad420
GamerDad420

Torn between two giants Sony has caught my eye. Lets see about who's system has the most recalls and best sales in the first year and the best line up of Titles at the end of the first year

Money Talks and so do Awesome games

StingrayX5
StingrayX5

Since Microsoft didn't announce their date, this is scary for the MS fans since this was the last big gaming event until the TGS or the vga's rather

Yogurt_master
Yogurt_master

@gyrn58

Why would you want to play old games anyway?  I wouldn't want to play PS3 games either with a PS4.  Anyway you can plug your Xbox 360 into the HDMI in to your Xbox One.  Done.  You don't have to switch inputs and you can actually have both on at the same time and switch between them. 

HirogaX
HirogaX

@DYLANMMOPI Good Idea, I hope they'll even try to merge with each other and create the gaming console of the century, hopefully they won't monopolize the market though hahaha.

Yogurt_master
Yogurt_master

@RonRec 

It's not about fanboys, it's about games and they showed indie filler games and free to play.

I mean if you want all that then steam is your main platform and just about everyone has a PC or a Mac.

So, no Sony didn't win on AAA games and that is what matters. 

FenrirGaros
FenrirGaros

@UPinSmoke020 they just have a freaking huge OS that does the same damn things as the x1, it has the same amount of controls and better trigger this time but its still the same amount of controls as x1 just a different scheme and yes the share button and the directional pad...ugh...x1 has higher processing (multitasking) power but slightly lower graphics power meanwhile ps4 has graphics but slightly lower processing (multitasking) power. PS + allows you to recover an OS from the cloud and allows you to back up your game data with xbox gold you can what install games to the cloud but not your saves? online service is slightly inferior yes because for now tis free but once ps4 comes out just to play multiplayer games online you must have PS + so then we'll be in the same boat. By the way, producers NEVER have a "great" relationship  with dev's especially indie game dev under a strict time clock unless their own money is funding the game then they can give bigger corps. the bird. You do know that MS gave the x1 team a large sum of money for research and production meanwhile Sony's companies banded together and even asked themselves why they lost last time (XBOX360 era) and they came up with hundreds of reasons and at e3 they discussed some of the topics behind that failure and improved on it. Sony paid top dollar and into the red like a "real" development and game company investing into a console should do (Read on Gaming History in the 80s-90s). Also this time around both systems have the same size hard drive i believe a 3.5" desktop drive except x1 is solid state which increases its speed even more slightly. They are both the same except that PS4 is more of a gaming platform but then again the Xbox One/X1 aka Xbox All-in-one is probably the best thing for multitasknig and even has internet explorer on there. Besides they are not even out yet so I can't quite give them a full analysis.

But based on this eras consoles i will tell you whats good for both systems and the wii:

360: FPS, some RPG, Racing, Action, Survival/Horror, Tower Defense games, some adventure, and Arcade games.

PS3: Fighters, RPG, some sports, Action/Adventure, Action/Survival, Strategy games, some FPS, and Arcade games.

wii: some fighters, RPG, very little FPS, Sports, some Survival/ Horror, some Action, some turn based games.

Lolz sry for the longest post ever

Swinny14
Swinny14

@tommynj You wish! They atcually confirmed NO DRM on February 21st, the day after PS4's reveal and MONTHS before Microsoft started this shit storm. The thing is, people ignored that they said they'd be no DRM, and a ton of Xbots started spreading rumours saying that Sony has exactly the same DRM policies as Xbox. They didn't only confirm NO DRM once though, it was like 5 different times between February and E3, so since everyone was ignoring them, and seeing the shit storm going off in MS's camp, it was absolutely necessary for them to announce it loud and clear at E3 for everybody to see. I'll be happy to link you to the interviews if you don't believe me. 

snossage
snossage

@tommynj Source? Haven't seen or heard of this being reported previously.

megaspiderweb09
megaspiderweb09

@socialcontract The Xbox one is getting bad rap because they tried to sink the industry in the grand scale of things. Kinect is not new nor imaginative either, ever since the dawn of time, new consoles are just upgrades of current ones. Most of the Xbox hate is coming from fanboys who are cherry picking after the Xbox PR disaster

northArrow
northArrow

@socialcontract That's because gamers in general don't have any appreciation for what the console is bringing to the industry.

We've already seen what Kinect brings to the market with the current version, and the new Kinect 2.0 doesn't appear to be much more than a better camera. It's certainly not bringing anything new to gaming.

All we've been hearing about is the "potential" the new Kinect has, but Microsoft has been unwilling (or unable) to show anyone what it actually does right now.

snossage
snossage

The VGA's would make the most sense, I don't think the irony of announcing the release at a convention based in a non launch country would be lost on MS. I suppose the other option is a stock standard press release, but that wouldn't be any fun.

Viridianzealot
Viridianzealot

@HirogaX @DYLANMMOPI I wouldn't mind for M$ to exit the gaming industry and Sony to co-operate with Nintendo and monopolize the gaming industry. 

rarson
rarson

@northArrow

The problem with Kinect on the 360 isn't so much the technology, but the way it's been implemented. Microsoft tried to force it on gamers as a means of replacing the controller, when it should have been an additive device from the start. No one wants to completely replace the controller in their hands, but give me voice controls, head tracking, and automatic profile sign-in and I definitely see some potential value added. The idea of using it as a controller was dumb from the start, but that doesn't mean it can't be useful.

Whitey18
Whitey18

@Hirockem @Viridianzealot @HirogaX @DYLANMMOPI  Nintendo should release a remastered version of N64, I'd buy that in a heart beat. As for Microsoft, unless they start kissing some serious gamer ass they'll find themselves right next to Nintendo, getting pulled from the shelves because no one wants their crappy system.