To steal (and slightly alter) an old Simpsons line: won't someone think of the marketing team! Seriously, though, convincing consumers to purchase a PlayStation VR headset this Christmas was already going to be a tough test for Sony's embattled advertising agency – but now PlayStation 4K looks odds on to arrive before we're all singing Auld Lang Syne. Encouraging newcomers and existing owners to shell out for these expensive extras is not going to be easy – and we can't wait to see what kind of messaging it's got in mind.
As we wrote in a recent feature, there's no reason to believe that the platform holder can't pull it off, as it's barely put a foot out of place since revealing the PS4 proper all the way back in February 2013. But it needs to navigate a minefield with the PS4K especially; there are already fans who are frustrated by the mere thought of a hardware half-step, so it needs to ensure that early adopters don't feel ignored, while still making a convincing argument for fence-sitters to upgrade.
PlayStation VR isn't going to be easy either. We've tried the technology a few times now and have been very impressed, but outside of the rabid audience who helped the headset to sell out within minutes of being available for pre-order, there's some serious scepticism surrounding the peripheral. Many feel burnt out after ill-advised initiatives like 3D TVs and PlayStation Move, so the firm needs to ensure that its virtual reality push is spot on.
The advantage it has is that both technologies, in theory, should sell themselves; strap on a PlayStation VR headset and you can instantly appreciate the immersion that it enables, while even its staunchest critics would struggle to deny that PS4K is a fantastic name. But the challenge will be getting people's eyes behind the magical mask; the test will be selling a new system on the strengths of its upgraded hardware without making anyone feel left out.
It's the kind of trial that a hungry, motivated marketing team should be relishing, though – a hurdle that will define entire careers. Sony has momentum, money, and muscle on its side, so while it won't be easy, it has every chance of success – and should it prosper under immense pressure, the rewards will be plentiful. But as with every defining moment, there remains an element of risk.
Failure, as they say, is not an option.
If you were in charge of Sony's marketing department, how would you promote PS4K and PlayStation VR this holiday? What are the pitfalls that you think it faces, and what advantages does it have on its side? Come up with a catchy slogan in the comments section below.