We’ve been pondering exactly how Sony would attempt to steal some of the attention away from the next Xbox’s announcement for a while now, and it answered that question emphatically earlier today. This afternoon’s teaser trailer was not particularly impressive – it showed a blurry, black box and a few hasty cuts of a console – but it successfully sent waves across the industry, and that’s all that the platform holder really needed. The PlayStation 4 currently occupies a spot on most technology websites and blogs – The Sun and NBC among them – which is just what you want when your closest competitor is about to make a major announcement.
But this is something that the company’s going to have to repeat if it wants to stave off the media barrage that Microsoft’s impending Xbox event will bring. For all of its faults, the Redmond-based manufacturer is undeniably good at building buzz, and regardless of whatever else it has to offer tomorrow, the mere presence of Call of Duty: Ghosts and now FIFA 14 will stand the firm in good stead when it comes to mainstream media attention. That’s something that Sony absolutely must be aware of, and must have a response to, whether it’s a couple more hasty trailers or something a little more substantial.
Today’s footage was smart because it allowed the company to combat one of its greatest perceived weaknesses, while simultaneously creating hype for its E3 press conference. Following its PlayStation Meeting event, the firm was lambasted by some corners of the media for not showing a piece of hardware. Now, when Microsoft inevitably shows its box, it can at least point to E3 and 10th June as the date that it will make its response. Not showing the hardware itself will probably still go down as a misstep, but at least the platform holder is attempting to turn it into a positive. The countdown to its next big reveal has begun.
And doubling down on 10th June makes sense. Interest in the industry is always at its highest during E3, so riding on the coattails of the gigantic Los Angeles media circus will garner the system significant attention with very little effort. But the aforementioned date is still roughly three weeks away, and with Microsoft’s reveal right around the corner, Sony’s going to need something to remind consumers that its console is still on the horizon, too. The system may have hogged the limelight almost exclusively over the past three months, but that’s about to change dramatically.
However, today’s trailer proved that it can wait for E3 while still clawing back some mindshare. Short videos teasing new footage of games such as Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, and, perhaps even inFAMOUS: Second Son will not make mainstream news, but will at least keep the console on the homepage of games sites. The ‘Conversations with Creators’ series that the company has been running on the PlayStation Blog, for example, have done a great job of this – but it needs to intensify its output. These weekly videos alone will not be enough to keep the attention on its console.
The most positive thing is that Sony’s showing signs that it understands the challenges that it’s about to face. This afternoon’s hardware teaser may not have been to everyone’s tastes, but it showed an aptitude and awareness that the firm’s lacked for a long time. We’re actually confident that the company’s got a strategy in mind, and we haven’t felt that way about the PlayStation brand for a while. Now we just need to wait and see what the response entails, and cross our fingers that it has the desired effects.
Do you think that today’s PS4 teaser trailer was an inspired move, or a clunky reply? How do you think that Sony can keep the emphasis on its next generation platform over the coming weeks, and what challenges might it face in the wake of Microsoft’s big Xbox announcement? Let us know in the comments section below.