Recently, Sony and Microsoft released their ads for the PS5 and Xbox Series. A very important moment of communication for manufacturers, as the new generation of machines will arrive very soon. It's all part of a long tradition in the video game industry, which likes to get creative when it comes to selling a brand new console.
GENESIS DOES WHAT NINTENDON’T - MEGA DRIVE (1989)
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, around the time of the release of the Sega Genesis, Nintendo crushed the competition in the video game field around the world. Its first console, the Famicom (NES), was wildly successful, and the competition is no match. Between 90 and 91, the firm will market the Super Famicom to establish its domination in Japan. But in Japan only. In the rest of the world and especially in North America, Sega will seriously resist, starting the famous war of consoles. Because if the Mega Drive meets a modest success in the native lands of Nintendo, the result is quite different in the United States. Thanks to particularly aggressive communication. This communication is in one sentence: “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” (the Mega Drive does what Big N is not capable of). To prove it, Sega is throwing around images of titles that look much more arcade-like than Nintendo. The company will also rely on celebrities, like Michael Jackson, to convince, with the game Michael Jackson's Moonwalker.
THE SOCIETY AGAINST PLAYSTATION - PS1 (1995)
In its series of promotional videos for its first console, Sony takes the opposite view of the competition with a parody approach. "The Society Against Playstation" is at the helm, trying to educate citizens about the dangers of this terrible machine. Sony is obviously taking the opportunity to show off the - literally - explosive effect of some games, like Destruction Derby, WipEout and Tekken. The whole thing stood out for its surprising approach. And for the anecdote, the French association "Famille de France" attacked several titles with an angle more or less similar to the parody committee a few years later.
THE THIRD SPACE - PS2 (2000)
To promote its PlayStation 2, Sony has not called to just anyone. David Lynch, director of little things like Eraserhead, Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive, is in charge. We find in the image the cryptic universe of the man: a taste for black and white, phantasmagorical characters, a series of shots that is enough to confuse a lot of spectators. “Welcome to the Third Place,” a duck-headed man said at the end. The Third Space idea actually served as the backdrop to all of PlayStation’s strategy for its new console (which doesn't appear in the Lynch commercial at any time). Sony wanted to highlight the fact that its PS2 opened the doors to a new era for video games. It didn't just end up in the videos, but also in some equally odd looking posters.
THE CUBE - GAMECUBE (2001)
In this ad, Nintendo takes the cubic shape of its new machine, the Gamecube, to insert it into the daily lives of many people. Each shot thus refers to its distinctive format, the most compact for the Japanese firm at the time. Quickly, references of games appear. We can see the first Pikmin, Super Smash Bros: Melee, WaveRace and Star Wars: Rogue Leader. These last two will also be launch titles for the European release of the Gamecube on May 3, 2002. According to IGN, this is the first advertisement broadcast on American television for the console, via the MTV channel, mainly aimed at teenagers.
LIFE IS SHORT - XBOX (2002)
This is arguably the best-known Xbox ad, released in March 2002 to promote Microsoft's first machine. In this one, a baby goes from adolescence to death in no time, expelled into the air from his mother's womb (we expect the sound of the cork of a bottle of champagne popping at that moment , hence the name of the advertisement). At the end, a message remains displayed: “Life is short. Play more ”. The spot was intended exclusively for the European market, and aimed to define the Xbox brand for this audience. But 136 complaints were made, deeming the video "aggressive, shocking and in very bad taste". Finally, the Independent Television Commission decided to ban it in June 2002. However, the advertisement received a Golden Lion at the Cannes Film Festival the same year. At the same time, legal proceedings for plagiarism were underway.
PS5 AND XBOX SERIES (2020)
For the Series X and PS5, the whole thing was done in two stages: first a spot to praise the novelties concerning the sound and the touch (haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and 3D audio), then a video called The Edge for the side “Travel to other worlds”. At Microsoft, we take more or less the idea of The Edge but with a famous actor, Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), who travels between the worlds of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Halo Infinite.
Not mentioned, but still well know:
I can't add more than 10 medias so that's it, hope you enjoyed !
This is a translation and an arrangement of this article (in French) by Jeuxvideo.com
Dernièrement, Sony et Microsoft ont dégainé leurs publicités vidéo pour la PS5 et les Xbox Series. Un instant de communication très important pour les constructeurs, alors que les machines de nouvelle génération arriveront très bientôt. Le tout s’inscrit dans une longue tradition dans le milieu...