Simplicity in Communicating Consoles’ Benefits is the Key to Winning Over Gamers
Eurogamer Expo 2013
kicks off next week. From Thursday 26 September, Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One will be the centre of attention during the four-day expo at Earls Court.
Together with my colleague Jasdeep Badyal, I’ll be covering this year’s event.
Amid the announcements, controversy and backtracking, many are still undecided on which console offers the better experience. When it comes to gaining customers’ attention, I believe a lot comes down to how Sony and Microsoft communicate their messages. Recent tweets by the President of Sony Computer Entertainment, Shuhei Yoshida, and Xbox VP Marc Whitten are good examples of this.
At the end of August, Mr Yoshida tweeted “When you buy a PS4 game on smartphone, it will wake your PS4 up to start downloading the game. PS4 goes back to sleep after that”.
Two days later, Microsoft’s Mr Whitten tweeted that users will also be able to download games remotely to the Xbox One. “Always up to date, always your console. The beauty of low-power mode!”
My feelings about some of the official console press conferences are that they overemphasize the console’s hardware and specifications instead of telling us what features and, most importantly, what benefits it could bring.
In my view, the problem lies with companies sometimes thinking and marketing like engineers. The tweets above show how plainly a new feature and its benefits were communicated. I think manufacturers can fall into the pitfall of tediously explaining how hardware works to an audience that’s not overly interested in the details. The beauty of a console is that no tinkering is required — you simply buy a game and play it.
I have to admit that after E3 in June, I firmly believed that Sony could easily win this console war. But after Microsoft’s change of heart on controversial DRM policies and always-online requirement, the playing field is now levelled. It’s safe to say that I’ll be trying my hardest to have a go on both consoles at Earls Court next week.
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