The new PS3 commercial shows a handful of games set to what sounds like a clip from a Gladiator or Braveheart type movie. A warrior with a middle ages accent (ye olde accent) rallies his comrades before a glorious battle. To Sony this console business is a battle, and a bloody $3 billion one so far.
Only declaring war openly and drawing lines in the sand is not what Sony needs to do now. The call for brotherhood in the commercial clearly creates an us-versus-them image but it is this exclusive mentality (remember, the PS3 is like a fine dining experience) that put Sony in third place this generation. Launching at $600 and offering the bleeding edge of movie playing capabilities did not make the PS3 a very accessible machine and these advertisements only reinforce the idea that if I am not hardcore, if I am not willing to join Sony is a vicious battle against its enemies, then the PS3 is not for me.
Compare this spot to Nintendo’s campaign. They are slightly old now but the ads featuring two unassuming Japanese men driving around and offering the Wii to everyone struck the opposite tone. The Wii is inclusive and everyone, not just hardcore gamers, should play it. The cute tiny white box design and $250 price point enforced this idea, to say nothing of Wii Sports.
Perhaps Sony is being too honest in its commercial; the PS3 is for gamers and tech savvy people, right? Sort of. Sony still makes products like Sing Star and the Eye Toy in an attempt to capture the mass appeal of the PS2. And Little Big Planet is surely aimed at expanding the console’s userbase, which is ironic since it’s featured in this exclusionary spot (maybe I missed a multiplayer angle to the commercial, but if I did then it’s a bad sign for the general population).
My bet is this commercial will be directly at odds with Sony of E3. Today we see an ad declaring that our band of brothers must fight valiantly together against the enemy and in two weeks we will see announcements for the Sonar, Sony’s new motion controller designed to appeal to mom, dad and the dog.
I ignorantly missed that the speech comes from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Unfortunately, this only further demonstrates that Sony is content on following the same losing strategy. Arrogance has always been a pillar of their games division and nothing has changed.
To get a better idea of Sony’s hubris, try reciting MLK’s “I have a dream speech” over these images of games. Or simply listen to the words spoken. Will this day be remembered until the end of the world? Seems unlikely.