Transparency in Marketing : What the PS5 can Learn from the Xbox Series X

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Xbox has been a part of my life for almost 16 years. I still remember when my dad bought me the OG Xbox for my 10th birthday back in the spring of 2004. My family just moved from Caracas (the capital city of Venezuela) to a smaller town called Valencia. For some reason, most of the boys in the 3rd grade had an Xbox at home. They would always talk about the upcoming Halo 2 and about the awesome graphics that the OG console had at the time. Being a kid who only had Nintendo consoles, it was difficult for me to make new friends since the types of games we played were completely different. For that reason, I begged my dad to buy me an Xbox. When he came back from work on the day of my birthday, I was playing my Nintendo GameCube as usual, just minding my own business. Suddenly, I heard the sound of footsteps and the sound of a huge plastic bag being carried by someone whistling the “Happy Birthday” song, it had to be my dad. It was indeed my dad carrying a huge black bag, he hugs me tightly and he says “feliz cumpleaños, hijo”. That is when my love for the Xbox brand started. 

Over the years, Microsoft has made many mistakes with their Xbox brand. A couple that come to mind are the Xbox One announcement and the terrible localization of the Xbox brand in Japan. Going back to the first mistake, Microsoft entered the 8th generation console war with a massive ego trip due to the success of the Xbox 360. Forcing players to always be online and prohibiting them from using used games, the Xbox One had one of the rockiest starts ever for a console, it took years to recover. However, after hiring Phil Spencer, Xbox has been in this kind of marketing renaissance phase for quite some time. From the announcement of the Xbox Series X to today’s Inside Xbox Livestream, Microsoft has been doing an amazing job at being transparent with us (they even showed us what the console looks like inside for crying out loud). This transparency with your audience is such an important marketing strategy that many companies do not understand. Long gone are the days of mysteriousness and deception, the era of transparency is here. On the other hand, their competitor, Sony’s PS5 is in quite a conundrum. 

Sony has remained silent for quite a while regarding the status of the PS5. Yes, we have seen the super-fast loading screen testing videos and the controller, but we don’t know much else. I understand that Sony is launching 2 HUGE games this summer season: The Last of Us Part II and The Ghost of Tsushima (this one is definitely on my wishlist) and that they want to keep people’s trust on the current PS4. While I completely empathize with Sony’s situation, as of right now, Microsoft is completely kicking their asses. People are now doubting the PS5 since there is very little information about it. Sony could benefit from transparency in their marketing strategy. Show us the console, let us know your plan and start having conversations with your audience. If you don’t, they will lose the trust of their consumers. While Xbox has shown, console, games, and their unique technology, Sony has shown us the controller and a deep dive conference. The key to earning the trust of your audience is full transparency. Make your consumer part of the conversation, part of the decision. The era of deciding behind closed doors is gone. In conclusion, I believe Microsoft is doing a superb job at not only being transparent and consumer friendly, but also at bringing costumers to the conversation. Empowering our audience should be our number 1 priority.

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