PlayStation 4 Marketing Campaign–Biggest Ever

I haven’t decided to buy a Sony PlayStation 4 until I saw the newly-released advertisement The Players Since 1995, which aroused my nostalgia for PlayStation memories from bygone eras. This great advertisement triggered my interest about the whole marketing campaign for PlayStation 4, and a few unusual facts are found.

Sony is betting big on the PlayStation 4, since the PlayStation 3 is a fail, making the company lost roughly $500 million in 2009. In fact, the company has repeatedly said that it “can’t fail” with the PlayStation 4, as the games division is now such a big part of the company’s bottom line. Accordingly, the upcoming PlayStation 4 marketing campaign will be the biggest Sony has ever done, for any product: in the North America market alone, Sony will spend $100 million to promote the PlayStation 4 during the selling season from Thanksgiving to Charismas this year, which means that Sony need to sell roughly 286,000 PS4 consoles to cover the budget. In addition, to compete with Xbox One in price, Sony will lose $60 for each PS4 console sold. Overall, Sony has to rely on the sales of games and PlayStation Plus subscriptions alongside the hardware to get the money back.


PlayStation 4 Marketing Budget (source:

The PS4 marketing to date is trying to position the console stark different from its most immediate competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox One. While Microsoft is touting the Xbox One spots as an entertainment system with multiple uses (blue ray drive, motion control, Netflix connection, food order, etc), Sony’s PS4 is very clearly targeting at hard-core video game players.


Sony Next-Gen PlayStation 4

So whether it worth to spend such a great amount of money on marketing, and whether the marketing segmentation for the PS4 is too narrow? The sales data may give the answer: Sony sold over one million PS4 consoles within the first 24 hours after its launch. But the question is always like this: what percentage of the sales could be attributed to the marketing?


PlayStation 4 marketing budget tops $100 million?

PlayStation 4 marketing campaign is the biggest in Sony’s history

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5 Responses to PlayStation 4 Marketing Campaign–Biggest Ever

  1. fennihua says:

    Well, Play Station needs to shape up to stay in the game, that’s for sure. However, I don’t know how significant would marketing be for video games, as it is very content-based. For other industries, there are often other elements that are influential to the effects of marketing. For example, for consumer products industries, better products can get great benefits from a successful marketing campaign. However, for video games, the preference differs in a large scale between different consumers, and especially for video game machines like Play Station or X Box because they rely heavily on the design of the games. Maybe it’s because I am an outsider that I don’t see marketing as important for video game industry as for other industries, but the major goal is the same – to let people know about it. Other than that, it’s all about the games I guess. However, I don’t know how PS4 is integrating other features, like Netflix, Youtube or any other. They might be very important to the success of the product as well.

    • Siyu says:

      In addition to your comment, I’m wondering how Sony would define “die hard” players (as their target consumers). I think the market for “die hard” players is relatively small so that it is reasonable Xbox wants to expand the market by integrating other features into the video game player. That’s a better strategy in the long run I think.

  2. dipoalo says:

    I have heard mixed reviews about the play station products. Mostly because there are die hard playstation fans and Xbox fans. However I felt that there were a lot more people on the side of the play station 3. So it is surprising to hear that Sony lost money on the ps3. Besides the point I feel as if I have seen far more or maybe just more effective advertising and marketing for Microsoft’s Xbox One. Playstation’s advertising that I have seen has all been partnered with another advertisement like Taco Bell and other companies that are offering opportunities to win a PS4. I feel as though Sony is not going to do as well as they hoped once again. If they are really putting this much money into the PS4’s marketing then they need to rethink their strategy

  3. Lilian Mak says:

    Interesting blog post. I’ve always had the impression that PS3 sold very well, probably because the Hong Kong young population is very into video games and even my older brother (who is 10 years older than me) would get into the lining mania to get the PS3 on the first day of release.
    I think it’s correct for PS3 to target the die hard gamers but then they should probably consider expanding game contents/titles to the female or younger kids. To me, PS3’s famous game titles are more violent and sport related games. I believe the game content is still most important aside from all the new technology integrations and by expanding to a new group of players will definitely help to increase sales too. I think this is a better strategy in the long run. But of course, with such poor sales, apart from expanding game content ,they should definitely reconsider their marketing strategies.

  4. Lara says:

    I’m not sure what exactly was different in their marketing strategies; but I did not hear of anyone pre-ordering the new Xbox this year. Several of my family and friends were anxiously anticipating the PS4’s arrival. I remember asking one of my friends what was so good about the PS4 that he had to pre-order it; and he said -“oh, it’s just going to have amazing graphics – I’m going to spend the entire winter playing it.” There’s also something to be said about the emotional branding element in this commercial – Seeing the PS1 brings back a lot of awesome, youthful memories – even for me! I have never been a gamer but I still remember the day my brother bought his first PlayStation and this commercial totally encompasses the social atmosphere it created as a pioneer in the gaming world.