The next-generation consoles are set to release at the end of the year, but the competition is quickly heating up. The drip-fed unveilings of the ninth generation consoles are a reminder of how important mind share is before the launch of a new console generation. Now more than ever is a critical moment to build hype and word-of-mouth for anxious customers to influence their friends and loved ones.
Not Your Average Next-Generation Console Reveals
Many people have said that console generations are long gone. While that might not be the case exactly, it’s clear how ahead of the ninth console generation things have changed. First, consumers are getting drip-fed information regarding next-generation consoles.
Microsoft began teasing its next-gen Xbox during its E3 2019 press conference. Wired magazine then published two articles discussing Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5. This fed social media conversations surrounding the PlayStation4’s successor. Pictures of a PS5 devkit leaked online and got fans excited. Then, out of nowhere, Microsoft unveiled the shape of Xbox Series X at the Video Game Awards in December. It also showcased Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, running on the Series X’s hardware.
CES 2020 also witnessed unusual anticipation from gamers. Some were hyping up the event, expecting major reveals for the PlayStation 5. At the end of the day, the press conference unveiled the official PlayStation 5 log. In addition to some previously known information about its capabilities and impressive sale and attachment rate milestones. Some were disappointed by Sony’s press conference, while others tempered their expectations.
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, on the same day of Sony’s CES press conference, changed his Twitter picture to the Xbox Series X chipset. He did the same ahead of the Xbox One X launch. This caused fans and outlets to speculate and create content about the Series X’s capabilities.
In other words, both companies are trying to get people’s attention and talk about their products.
The Battle for Mindshare
This incremental hype-building goes to show that fans are eager for any bits of information about the next-generation consoles. No previous console generation saw this prolonged phase and hype-building. It goes to show that mind share is quickly becoming a battleground. Companies are competing for consumers’ wallets, attention and time.
While some hardcore fans have taken console wars to new feats such as comparing likes on Instagram, the underlying fact is clear. By drip-feeding information, Sony and Microsoft are guaranteeing that they will remain in the conversation. They are hoping that if their customers keep talking about their upcoming console offerings, they will tell their friends and loved ones and generate word-of-mouth. Which in turn, translates to increased sales, subscriptions, or in other words, revenue!
Console generations are not what they used to be. Before, gamers had one or two events to unveil a console and its games. But now, fans are being strung along for a longer period in order to generate buzz. Because, as the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind – and the mind needs constant reminders.