Xbox One versus PlayStation 4 – the battle of the launches
Rinsed has played a key role in several of Microsoft’s major launches over the last few years. From Xbox 360 in 2006 to its extension peripheral Kinect, and now Xbox One, we consider ourselves very lucky to be working on such a glamour brand. Once viewed purely as ‘gaming boxes’, nowadays we are far more comfortable categorising consoles as an entertainment device, seamlessly bridging the gap between gameplay, consuming content and socialising.
For Xbox One, Rinsed was briefed to bring Australia in line with the 13 chosen markets for day one launch. It had to be big, it had to be green and it needed to usher in a new generation of console. And, despite facing a short timeline from brief to launch day, the team put together a stellar midnight launch that saw Sydney’s iconic tower turned green, coupled with countdown clock at the top and a series of projections which started to reveal key Xbox One titles.
The second part of the launch night took place down on Sydney harbour, with the main launch festivities happening in Luna Park, giving super fans the chance to be among the first in the country to pick up their console at midnight. It was also a chance to celebrate, and The Presets took to the stage, while outside on the harbour, a giant water projection took place with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House as it’s backdrop.
The battle hots up
But, launch day aside, both brands were working hard at building anticipation for their devices months in advance. It has been a long time since Xbox 360 and PS3 were launched, essentially an eight year period for Xbox and seven years for PlayStation. That meant anticipation and expectation for these new consoles has been high from both industry and gamers.
PS4 came out super-early with an announcement on the 18th of February, three full months before Xbox made their announcement on May the 20th. This early momentum proved to be invaluable in creating buzz around their product. That, combined with a very simple and targeted message at gamers meant awareness and anticipation was sky high.
Xbox on the other hand had a very complicated all-in-one entertainment message that left early adopters essentially gamers confused and offside.
Global launch day for PS4 was the 15th of November. However, Sony chose a staggered market role-out, with the console not launching in Australia until November 29th. Xbox however had a 13 market go-live strategy, taking place on a single day, midnight on the 22nd November.
For both brands, major launch activity commenced in the form of a TVC. PlayStation first with its ‘Perfect Day’ on the 15th of October, while Xbox went to market 10 days later on the 25th with the ‘Invitation’. If you go by total volume of conversations mentioning the ad, then PlayStation is the clear winner, PS4 with around 2,108 to Xbox’s 1,231 according to SDL’s brand report. So one would say that Sony’s above-the-line campaign has done a better job at building excitement.
This can be supported by a chart published by SDL around the likelihood to purchase based on engagement with advertising. According to research there is a 10 point uplift in intent to purchase when engaged with ‘Perfect Day’ as opposed to 5 point uplift for Xbox after engaging with the ‘Invitation.’
Globally, both brands also pulled out the stops when it came to launch stunts. Most notably, Sony lit up the London Oxo tower with the PlayStation controller symbols, a move that was picked up by the world’s media. Xbox meanwhile carried out a rebranding of London’s Leicester Square, naming it ‘Xbox One Square’.
I may be bias because Xbox are our client but I challenge anyone to give me an example of any other brand in the video game industry that are as bold as Xbox are – at least here in Australia.
So, now the dust’s settled, how are both consoles selling? Well, both companies claim to have sold 1 million consoles in the first 24 hours, which makes it the most successful console launch for both companies in history.
Today Xbox announced that it has set a new record for the highest launch week sales for a console hardware in Australian history. Apparently 65,917 consoles were sold in the first three days smashing the previous record by Nintendo Wii of 32,900 units.
But only time will tell how they perform in the long run.