At the moment, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is conducting a Playstation Vita tour where it will visit the major cities of Manchester, Glasgow and London in the UK and allow potential customers to try out the new handheld. According to MCV, this is the beginning of the marketing push. Apparently, this will be the biggest marketing push for Sony gaming hardware that SCEE has conducted. This will include a great presence at retail, in print and on television, in addition to what should be a great online presence.
UK Marketing Manager Mark Bowles spoke with MCV and commented on the massive marketing push:
“The PS Vita launch will be supported by the biggest campaign we’ve ever executed, and this level of activity will continue throughout 2012, reflecting our confidence in, and commitment to the platform long term.
“Our campaign will target gamers primarily, but also the new generation of tech enthusiasts and entertainment consumers who are used to playing games on their smartphones or tablets. What sets Vita apart is its ability to deliver PS3 quality gaming, in addition to the range of globally recognised triple-A software titles, which simply isn’t possible or aren’t available on any other existing portable.
“In terms of media focus, due to the connected nature of the Vita and the behaviour of our target audience, our campaign will have a strong digital backbone, supporting a heavyweight TV, press, outdoor and retail presence.
“Finally, one thing we learnt early on is that the best way to understand PS Vita, is to get hands-on experience with it. This is why we’re investing heavily in an experiential tour.”
Software will be key in this marketing campaign and Bowels comments on the launch line-up and future titles, a lesson learnt from the Playstation Portable:
“Lessons learnt from the PSP ensure that this commitment to delivering triple-A quality titles will continue unabated, with Resistance, LittleBigPlanet, Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty just a few of the big name titles and franchises coming to the PS Vita over the year ahead.”
No matter how much marketing Sony produces, the message must be clear: why the Playstation Vita is worth your time and money. With increasing competition from the iOS and the 3DS, Sony must play to both the hardcore and casual markets. It must show the hardcore gamers that the triple-A titles are going to be portable. It must show the casual market it will support popular casual titles as well as provide their own casual experiences not offered on other devices, like Modnation Racers and Little Big Planet. The hands-on tour will allow the tech and games to be center stage, so this is a positive step (take note SCE Australia).
I could suggest one more thing: package a 4GB memory stick with every Playstation Vita. Considering a lot of games and applications will require a use of the memory stick, there should be no reason or excuse to add a free memory stick. Price is the deciding factor and right now potential customers are shying away due to the fact that there will be a gaping hole in their wallet. Adding a memory stick to each Vita will ease the pain for every new sale it would generate. Yes, the Vita is selling at a loss, but how much of a hit will Sony take if it added a memory stick that will cost at least US$19.99 at retail, considered already expensive in the consumers eyes when there are cheaper alternatives Sony could have went with. If Sony Computer Entertainment does this, they will be thanked by the wider community.