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Sony comes to play in video game streaming wars with price cut, marketing blitz for PlayStation Now

PlayStation Now is now being treated as important to Sony as any blockbuster game release.

Sony comes to play in video game streaming wars with price cut, marketing blitz for PlayStation Now

Sony Playstation has had its game streaming service for about five years now, but streaming still hasn’t hit the scale of users to make it a dominant format for gaming. While we’re all deciding how much we want to budget to pay for Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, WarnerMedia, Amazon Prime, and all the other video streaming options, gaming’s transition into a streaming culture has been much slower.

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But the competition between Playstation Now, Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, EA Access, Origin Access, UPlay+ (Ubisoft), among others is heating up, and as we enter the stretch ahead of holiday shopping, Sony is making its biggest streaming pitch to gamers yet.

The new ad campaign, created with its new agency adam&eveDDB, feels like a blockbuster game ad, except this time it’s not trying to convince you to buy a single game, but pay $9.99 a month for access to more than 800 games. The ad itself brings gaming characters to life, as they skydive down into gamers’ homes, smashing through rooftops and onto your TV. It feels the brand’s campaign for Playstation VR back in 2017, which had similar home invasion vibes.

For Playstation senior vice president of marketing Eric Lempel, the goal right now is to creatively communicate both the price and content proposition. Until now, PS Now was $19.99 a month, but this new pricing represents the company’s ambition to invite more people into the streaming tent, along with such traditionally popular title series as God of War, Uncharted, and Mortal Kombat.

“When you combine the price along with this great content . . . this is a service that really represents everything PlayStation is about,” says Lempel.

It’s no surprise PS Now has dropped its price point, given the criticism it’s received from some corners in terms of content value—the streaming service doesn’t include high-profile games like FIFA 20 or last year’s award-winning Spider-Man.

Lempel says one of the brand’s biggest challenges is confusion, which is one reason this is the first global campaign for PS Now.

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“A lot of people are talking about the intersection of gaming and the cloud, but we’re really doing it, and we’re doing it with incredible content,” says Lempel. “Consumers are saying what’s going on, what’s out there, what is this stuff? And we want to say very clearly that you’re going to get some of the best of PlayStation in a cloud service and that’s available now at an even better price.”

Another reason Playstation is going big with this ad campaign is to remind gamers who they are. That may sound a bit silly coming from one of the biggest gaming platforms on earth, but when names like Google and Amazon are being talked about as potential future streaming competitors, PlayStation wants to let everyone know who has made games its priority for a generation.

“Consumers know that we’re PlayStation, and gaming is what we do and it’s really all we do,” says Lempel. “So if you’re signing up for anything with us or if you’re buying any of our products, you know that that product is going to continue to evolve, continue to get better. That’s what we’ve done with everything over the past decade or so, and this service is no different. We keep refining the proposition and adding value to it and making it more attractive to the consumer.”

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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