How much is social media marketing contributing to the success of eighth-generation consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? More than you think, say experts, along with competitive pricing.
Twenty-four years ago, a videogame console launch like the Super Nintendo attracted buyers through only a few different ways – word of mouth, consumer loyalty, brand recognition and good old-fashioned advertising. Today, through social media, gamers have access to their favorite brands 24 hours a day. Sony and Microsoft both utilize Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and blogs to keep in touch with fans. Both brands are working diligently to increase each console’s media presence. But, with the PS4 outpacing the Xbox One, we have to ask -- is Sony doing a better job?
On Tuesday, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Corporate Vice President Phil Harrison discussed the sales dominance of Sony’s eighth-generation PlayStation 4 over Xbox One.
He revealed in a recent Edge magazine interview that Sony (NYSE:SNE) had sold 9 million PlayStation 4 consoles while Microsoft’s Xbox One was at 5 million consoles sold worldwide since they both launched last November.
"Hats off to Sony, they've had a great start; they have been in more countries and – to date, at least – at a lower price,” Harrison said. “We have announced a new Xbox One at a lower price; we go to 29 new countries starting in September."
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When the two devices launched last year, the PS4 was available for $100 less than the Xbox One, which came bundled with the Kinect. However, the Xbox One recently launched without the Kinect in June for $399, the same price as the PS4.
Though Sony and Microsoft both spend a considerable amount of revenue on advertising, some social media experts believe Sony may be doing a better job at garnishing its online presence.
“Gaming is inherently social, and Sony is being smart by empowering their users and soliciting feedback via social channels,” Nicky Yates, director of communications at Buzz Radar, told IBTimes. Buzz Radar is a New York City-based firm that specializes in capturing and visualizing real-time social data, statistics and insights.
“While the games will always be the main driver, smart social integration and marketing raises the PS4’s prominence. The more we talk about it, the more people want to be on that platform,” Yates explained.
Despite Sony’s lead, Yates insisted Microsoft is working hard to improve its social media presence.
“Microsoft is being smart in elevating their social strategy and this next quarter will be interesting to see how much changes.”
Do online discussions via sites like Reddit, Twitter and Facebook also influence buyers? Probably.
"Gamers are showing positive sentiment towards PS4 versus Xbox One in social conversations," Rob Key, CEO of social consultancy and analytics firm Converseon, told IBTimes. "They are also are expressing a stronger intent to purchase the PS4 over Xbox One because of console exclusive games. While there is not always a direct correlation between online sentiment and product sales, the social indicators toward PS4 look strong.
Though Sony is currently in the lead, Microsoft could pull ahead with some amazing Xbox One-exclusive content and an improved social media presence.
What do you think? How much does social media influence the consoles and games you purchase? Leave a comment below.